Ever get tripped up trying to explain your greatest weakness? I feel like almost everybody can say yes to this question. The best approach on this is to have an understanding of why some interviewers ask the question. If you know the intent, you can usually give a more confident answer.
Is this job a match?
Yes, we’ll jump right to the part that scares interviewees. What if my answer screens me out? In reality, this is actually a good thing.
But how can that be good?
For example, maybe your greatest weakness pertains to your struggle with confrontation with other employees. If you’re interviewing for a supervisory position that involves coaching (and disciplining) employees, this truly may not be a match—for now, at least. Think about it. Will you be happy in a role that forces you into a core responsibility that makes you uncomfortable? As you continue to work on your greatest weakness, this opportunity could become a great next step in the future. So don’t give up!
Are you reflective?
For me, the other value of this question is that I can see if you’re self-reflective. It shows me whether or not you are interested in learning and growing. The answer of “I don’t have any” is the worst one you can give—in my mind, at least. Each of us, no matter how great, has a weakness or two. It’s a sign of maturity and professionalism when someone has the ability to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses and take steps to work on areas of improvement.
Perfectionist—Strength or weakness?
I have often had this response (or something similar) to the weakness question. Here’s the tricky part with these answers. For some, it’s a tactic taken when trying to think of a weakness that sounds like a strength. I know this because I did this exact thing in my early 20s when I was afraid to really answer this question. So in essence, it skirts around providing a true answer and doesn’t provide very much insight.
What if I really am a perfectionist?
In that case, the weakness is real. And what’s more, you’re able to illustrate why it’s real. Being able to give specifics lets interviewers know that you’re not taking my old approach. Maybe you struggle with deadlines because you are constantly tearing your work apart and starting over because it’s just never good enough. Perfectionists basically try to approach infinity; it can get messy and certainly qualifies as an area of improvement.
Written by: Adam Lafield, Recruiter & Marketing Specialist