What's Your Biggest Weakness? -- Interview Questions 101

interviewWhen you're interviewing for the job of your dreams and the hiring manager asks you "What is your biggest weakness?", you tell them you're too hard of a worker. Right? Wrong.

Countless job interviews have gone sour when job seekers claim that the biggest weakness they have is being a workaholic or a perfectionist. Hiring managers have heard the same old tired answers and are looking for someone who can offer something different.

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1. Be Honest

The key to tackling this interview question is to just be honest. With that said, you don't want to admit that your biggest weakness is your inability to get to work on time. Be honest about a weakness of yours that wouldn't affect your job performance, but still reads as a genuine answer to an often difficult question.


2. Confess a Minor Weakness

Telling the interviewer that typing is not your strong point is a great example of admitting to a minor weakness. You can also say that you shy away from public speaking or that you have to learn to better delegate tasks instead of taking them on yourself. These types of weaknesses read off as honest, yet they're not large enough to kick you out of the candidate pool.


3. Recognize Your Ability to Improve

Once you have answered the question honestly, always wrap up your response with a statement about how you recognize this as a weakness and explain how you are working to improve yourself. For example, if you admit to being afraid of public speaking, let the hiring manager know that you push yourself to speak up in meetings to overcome your fear.


4. Relax and Smile

Keeping control of your body language during an interview is difficult, but if you continue to smile even after answering a difficult question, it will surely lighten the mood. Not only will your smile help the rest of your body relax, but it sends a signal to the hiring manager that this isn't a weakness you're having a hard time overcoming.

When answering "what is your biggest weakness" or any other difficult interview questions, keep in mind that your answers may change depending on who you're facing in the interview. Whether you're speaking to someone in human resources or a department manager, you'll want to tailor your responses and follow-up questions to their expertise. Interviews are not only difficult for the job seeker, but often they're just as uncomfortable for those sitting across the table. By answering every question honestly and turning the interview into a conversation, you're more likely to be yourself and give off a great first impression.

Next: Standard Interview Questions that Will Make or Break You >>


Christine Rochelle

Editor

Christine Rochelle specializes in search engine optimized content at PCG Digital Marketing in NJ and blogs for LifeStyler and Digital Dames. Christine has previously worked for a network television dot com, a national entertainment magazine and a NYC media gossip blog. Check out more of her work at christinerochelle.com.

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Seattle Interview Coach

Fantastic post on the weakness interview question. I wrote two blog posts on how to answer the biggest weakness interview question:

In this short post, I discuss the secret to answering the weakness question:
blog.seattleinterviewcoach.com/2009/01/how-to-answer-what-is-your-biggest.html

In this longer post, I analyze Barack Obama’s response to a variant of the common greatest weakness interview question, drawing inspiration from an interview between Katie Couric and Obama:
blog.seattleinterviewcoach.com/2009/01/ace-your-job-interview-questions-like.html

- Seattle Interview Coach

April 04 2010 at 2:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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