What’s Your Biggest Weakness?

When asked to explore a great weakness, many job candidates attempt to pivot around the question and magically transform it into a strength.  For example, a reply might be “I work too hard…or I’m too much of a perfectionist…”  In this way, the weakness is not a flaw at all but, arguably an advantage to a prospective employer.  Aimee Bateman has a little different spin on the matter…

  • Good, specific advice for how to answer the question
  • Usually told to pick a weakness that’s actually a strength, e.g., workaholic, perfectionist
    • Problem is this is not really believable and interviewer can see through it
  • Rather, should select something that’s genuine but not too bad, e.g., struggle with speaking to large groups, struggle with confidence, not great in conflict situations
  • Four steps to setting the right tone for the response:
    • Minimize – not a big deal (use the word “slightly), in the past (use past tense)
    • Include a counter example of strength, e.g., not good at public speaking but very good at building one-on-one rapport
    • Provide example(s) of what you’ve done to help overcome it
    • End with a “happy story” of progress or success in overcoming it
  • Final note:  “Honesty will get you a long way”