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Answering to “What is your greatest weakness?” in an Interview
Home / Career Advice / Answering to “What is your greatest weakness?” in an Interview
Answering to “What is your greatest weakness?” in an Interview
No human on this planet is without a flaw in their personality, and as a matter of fact, if the existence of wrong is not there, the necessity of good cannot be estimated. The identification of one’s inabilities, therefore, becomes exceptionally crucial, for an individual to perform optimally. Because only when you are aware of the problem area will you be able to, either make amends so you can overcome it or make arrangements that you can keep it at bay.
Recruiters are concerned with this as it establishes you as a self-aware person; and when you are in control of yourself, you are in a good position to interact in a world of diversity at your workplace. This is precisely why, the question, “What is your greatestweakness?” is one of the most commonly asked questions at an interview.
Now that you know that this is one of the frequented queries at an interview, I would suggest you be prepared how to answer this; who knows this could be your ‘make it’ or ‘break it’ question! The primary requirement for an individual to answer an interview question perfectly is to know why at all, you are being asked such a thing. It is as if you are trying to get an understanding of the mind of the interviewer and assessing what he is expecting you to reply to. The one thing that you cannot afford to forget when appearing for an interview is that it is a two-way process. Do not think that you are the only one who is being scrutinized here; it is your chance as well to figure out whether you are trying to get into the most suited industry for yourself.
A discussion about weakness, it is definitely not a pleasant thing for anyone, and especially if it is an interview, where all you want to show is your best version. I also understand it is quite difficult for many to openly accept their downside. However, if you have to make a positive impression on the recruiter, you have no choice but to answer it. So here are the tactics you could employ to answer the greatest weakness question most appropriately.
Though this may apparently have a negative connotation, yet your task is to assign a positive vibe to it. How will you do it? For this, you will have to do a little homework. First, identify the key skills that would be required for the position being offered. Then keeping those in mind talk about some skill that though has relevance to the job description yet is not required directly. For example, if you are applying for a copy writer’s position, being good with numbers will not be an essentially needed skill. You can say that you are not good at that particularly, and the recruiter will immediately negate that as it does not have a direct impact on the work that you would be doing. The idea is talking about a weakness that will not hinder the work of the open position.
The other way you can attempt to answer this question successfully is by adding the information that you have worked upon the weakness already. Give them instances where you have been victorious in overcoming the weakness and realizing gains at the same time. This will help portray you as a person willing to improve his/herself to avoid it becoming a roadblock to achievements. For example, if you are not really good at managing time and have had problems in the past, then tell them how you have taken on a time management course to learn the skill.
Honesty should always be the basis of any answer that you give at an interview; the recruiters have enough and more tactics up their sleeves to get the truth out of you. Hence, lying is never an option. Thus, when faced with this question, take a minute to gather yourself, and then respond. Do not merely blurt out anything that comes to your mind. Practice and be prepared beforehand; it helps a great deal.
During your preparation firstly decide on the category of skill you wish to talk about – your hard skills or soft skills. Hard skills are those that are taught to us and have direct consequences to a job; while soft skills are those that are inherent in any person and often the more difficult to change. So choose wisely and in a way that is convincing to the prospective employer.
There are specific weaknesses which are actually strengths in disguise, identify them, and use them to your advantage. For example, if you have just started working and are inexperienced (which is, in a way a weakness), you could highlight your enthusiasm to learn new things and your open-mindedness. It adds strength to your inability. The recruiter is thus convinced that you are a person willing to learn, and with a little training, you would prove to be a good employee.
Remember that an answer to the greatest weakness question always has two parts – one is where you confess your problem and the other is how you have either recovered from it or are in the process of doing so. Therefore, frame your answer extremely carefully and strategically, so that the result is that you appear to be a person aware of frailties and ready to rectify them promptly.
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