Even the most experienced job seekers cringe at the greatest weakness question. It’s difficult to talk about your flaws when you are trying to land a position you want. Answering this question poorly can prompt the employer to choose another candidate. However, if you prepare ahead of time, you can nail the interview. Here are some different ways to answer the greatest weakness question:
“It’s difficult to talk about your flaws when you are trying to land a position.”
Explain how you would overcome an obstacle
According to the Career Thought Leaders Consortium, employers can pick up on your weakness during the interview and want you to prove that you can overcome it. For instance, if you have little knowledge in a particular software program the company uses, tell the interviewer about another program you have experience with and how you became proficient with it. This proves to the employer that you are a quick learner and have overcome the same type of obstacle before.
Turn a negative into a positive
Another way to nail this question is to spin a weakness into a positive. According to David Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Local, every weakness has a corresponding strength. For example, if you are impatient, you may be passionate about what you do. Explaining how your shortcoming can actually produce positive results will impress the interviewer and may convince him or her to choose you for the position.
Choose an irrelevant weakness
It’s always safe to talk about a flaw that has nothing to do with the position you are applying for. If you are interviewing for an accounting position, you could mention how you are shy around people you don’t know. In this position, you will spend the majority of your time in a cubicle working on spreadsheets and formulas and likely won’t have to interact with too many people.
It will take some time to prepare for this tricky question, but following one of these methods can help you do well on the interview. Whatever you do, avoid telling the interviewer that you don’t have a weakness. Everyone has something they can improve on, and the employer knows this. If you try to tell the interviewer that you don’t have any flaws, he or she won’t believe you and may think you are trying to hide something.