When Asked “What Is Your Greatest Weakness?”, How Will You Respond?

Interviews can be intimidating. You want to dress correctly, say the right things, be on time, and build rapport as though your very livelihood depends on it (which may actually be the case). But that doesn’t mean that it’s your only interview, or that you must be perfect.

Preparing for the interview is important for reducing nerves, presenting your best self, and saying what you intend to say. Those interviewing you want to know if you are the right fit and sometimes ask tricky questions to see how you respond under pressure. One of those questions seems to be along the lines of: “What is your greatest weakness.”

Of course, the goal here is to share information about yourself that answers the question but also shows more about who you are as a person. It should demonstrate that you have emotional and self-awareness as well as show your coping and problem-solving skills. The best way to answer this question is to be clear, explain further, and then turn it towards the positive. Here are some examples:

“I have trouble saying ‘no’ to a project.”

Are you someone who likes staying busy and volunteering for more work? If you’ve ever found yourself burnt out or wondering how you are going to get everything done, when you are already doing so much, this may be true for you.

What causes you to say ‘yes’? Are you ambitious? A good time-manager who gets more done than others? Are you passionate about the work? Share this and how you’ve turned it to help you. This may sound like:

“I have a hard time turning down opportunities – I love to stay busy, and sometimes that means I bite off more than I can chew. I’ve learned that while I’m very ambitious/great at time-management/passionate, I need to delegate or allow others to contribute as well.”

You may want to go on and share an example that led you to learn this lesson, such as a time you did delegate and had a great result.

“I lack confidence in ….”

We all experience a lack of confidence in one area or another throughout our careers. This “weakness” actually shows that we are willing to be humble and to learn. What are you lacking confidence in that you’d like to develop? Again, use a past example to demonstrate this weakness and how you overcame it.

“When I’m unsure about how to tackle a task, I lack confidence and ask a lot of questions. It’s really important for me to get it right the first time. Once I’m able to do what I’m shown, my confidence builds and I feel really good about doing the next thing. I learn by doing.”

This shows the interviewer that you have the self-awareness that leads to successful outcomes, and that’s exactly what they are looking for.

“Working with certain people is hard for me.”

Teamwork and the ability to get along with a variety of personalities is a valuable trait, so answering with this can really get the attention of the interviewer. It can also help you draw out traits that you highly value which turns this question on its head.

“I find it difficult to work with people who are dishonest. I have worked in retail where I’ve seen people steal and I’m compelled to report them to management. This hasn’t made me very popular with co-workers, but I tend to get promoted into positions that require high trust because of it.”

Can you see how focusing on negative traits that bother you demonstrates your own values? This can be a very powerful answer to a tough question.

Need help with interviewing and finding your next career? Let Colorado Network Staffing (CNS) help!  Our employing companies are looking for the best and brightest talent, and trust us to provide exactly that. Contact us at 303-430-1441, and discover why our clients come to us to fill their staffing needs and get started in your new career faster.

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