You’re in the interview and all is going well. You’ve talked about your skills, your best attributes and your greatest strengths. Then, they ask that most dreaded question – What are your biggest weaknesses?
This is a question that hiring managers always ask and one that is the most difficult to answer. But, know that it’s not a trick question. Hiring managers are simply looking for examples of how you faced and overcame obstacles in the past.
So, how can you best answer this question? Here are a few tips to help you gather your thoughts and talk about weaknesses during an interview:
- Know your weaknesses – If you don’t know your weaknesses, then you may not really know your strengths. So, take some time for self-reflection before you go into an interview.
- Don’t mention an essential skill – Be honest in your response, but don’t mention that your weakness is one of the very skills that they are hiring for. Read the job description carefully so that you don’t make this mistake. For example, if you’re being hired for detailed work, you probably shouldn’t say that your weakness is getting too hung up on details.
- Talk about how you overcome your weaknesses – Be prepared with examples of how you conquered a previous short-coming that you were able to successfully turn around into a strength.
- Only talk about work-related weaknesses – Don’t use personal drama as a situational example of a weakness. Only discuss weaknesses that you’ve overcome while on the job.
- Don’t use go-to answers, like you’re a perfectionist or you work too hard – These common responses are almost always dismissed, so don’t blow this opportunity to discuss how you’ve overcome professional challenges. Managers want to hear how they made you better.
Hiring managers understand that people make mistakes, but they want to know how you handle yours. Being aware of your weaknesses and able to discuss them is a great sign that you know your boundaries, abilities and strengths.