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Four Tips for Answering

Oct 6, 2015 | Harrison College

Four Tips for Answering "What is Your Biggest Weakness?" at Your Next Interview

When you walk into an interview, you should be confident. You stand up straight, offer a firm handshake, make eye contact and speak clearly. You should have a resume detailing your work experience, education and accomplishments. Essentially, you are interviewing to showcase your strengths as a job candidate, right?

Well, mostly. Until the interviewer asks, “What is your biggest weakness?”

So, how do you prepare for a question like this? View the advice below to find out.

1. Remember: Everyone has weaknesses.

This question is not meant to single you out. Some people are great at math but not so good in computer programming. Some people are very comfortable talking to and meeting new people; others are more guarded, which may be unfairly perceived as unfriendliness. You are not the only candidate who has weaknesses.

2. This question is an opportunity to highlight your dedication to improving and learning.

Even if you think your weaknesses could hold you back, consider how they might be an opportunity for you. You have the power to position yourself as a dedicated, quick learner. If you are shy and a job description requires strong interpersonal skills, for example, you might say, “I have a tendency to be calm and quiet, but one of my goals has been to make sure to engage people in enthusiastic conversations, especially when I meet them in person. I always try to make sure that I focus on conveying my thoughts as clearly as possible.”

In the above example, you were honest about your weakness (i.e., being shy), but you also showed value by being a focused learner.

3. This question is a chance for you to promote your strengths in light of the job description.

In the last example, we mentioned how you might relate your weakness to an element of the job description while putting a positive spin on it. To showcase your strengths, however, you could do something slightly different.

An example would be, “I do have some weaknesses, such as being shy in larger social settings, but I think my strengths are what really define me. My writing skills are great, and I have been working hard to improve them even more, especially because I love writing. I also have solid analytical skills—I consider many points of view before I dive into making important decisions. In a job like this, I think those two strengths are really what will define a successful employee.”

4. Never say, “I do not have any weaknesses.”

While this may be a somewhat humorous answer, it is also untrue. No matter how a person may seem, he or she has a weakness, but this is not a negative notion. Are you good at both math and English? Are you good at both football and ballet? The point is that you should be careful not to sound like you are lying in an interview, and saying you do not have weaknesses sounds like a lie.

However you answer this question, remember your reason for interviewing. You are there to get a job, so always be professional. Ask yourself, “What is my greatest weakness?” If you can come up with an answer that takes into account the description of the job for which you are applying and explains how you are determined to improve your weaknesses, you are on the right track!

For more tips on interviewing for jobs, reach out to a career services faculty member or check out more blogs in The Interview Series.

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