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How To Handle Interview Questions Aimed at Assessing Your Weaknesses

One of the most popular, if not the number one interview question, is “What is one of your biggest weaknesses?” This is definitely one of the trickier interview questions and the way you choose to respond can make or break an interview. Being too honest can be detrimental, lying can be detrimental and simply giving a generic response can also be detrimental. Before going into an interview, think about this question and how you would answer it. It’s important to go into an interview prepared on how to handle an interview question aimed at assessing your weaknesses.

First and foremost, do not try the “taking one of your strengths and describing it as a weakness approach.” It does not work and will most likely alienate the interviewer and make them feel patronized. Saying that your biggest weakness is that you “work too hard” is not really a weakness and a way to cop out of actually answering the question. The interviewer will see right through this and it may hurt your chances of being hired for the position.

Second, an interview question aimed at assessing your weakness is not usually about the actual weakness. The reason why this is one of the most popular interview questions is because the interviewer wants to see how you have dealt with a particular weakness, whether current or in the past, and whether you took measures to better or correct yourself. Use a tangible example such as, I used to have trouble prioritizing my time but now I carry a planner to help me plan my day. In this instance, you are giving a specific example and then showing how you took action to better yourself and your weakness. This is basically the root of the question and the thing interviewers are looking for: what steps did you take to turn your weakness into a strength?

Finally, when highlighting a weakness, make sure it is not a current one. Employers are aware that everyone has weaknesses but bringing attention to something you are not very good at in that moment can harm your chances at getting the job. Point to a weakness you used to have but that you have worked on to improve. Highlighting yourself in a positive light is always key when answering interview questions aimed at assessing your weaknesses. Most of all, make sure to go into an interview prepared and ready to answer any question the interviewer may have for you.

SOURCE: Ask a Manager
IMAGE: Courtesy of One FTE

Stephanie Becerra

Stephanie Becerra is a Chicago native. She spent a couple of years working in social services before she realized that her passion was in writing. She is now writing full-time. When she has free time she enjoys reading and also listening to records on her dusty record player.