How to Answer “What’s Your Greatest Weakness?”

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“You’ve told me about your strengths. I want to now know what are your biggest weakness?”

I hate that question. As a former recruiter, I can tell you that it doesn’t tell me anything about the quality of the candidate. In fact, I no longer use it when hiring people.

Unfortunately, it still remains the most commonly asked interview question. We can’t change the tide, all we can do is learn to best deal with it!

Here’s our guide on how to best answer that question.

Weakness Should Be A Mirror of Strength

People often overlook this – our greatest strengths are also our biggest weaknesses.

A great communicator is often guilty of drowning out other voices.
Confidence could result in overconfidence or complacency.
That drive and laser focus you posses also makes you stubborn.
My colleague who is exceptionally kind and generous get stepped on all the time by other more demanding personalities.

Always tie back your weakness to your strength. These are very much double edged swords.

Show How You’ve Overcome It

Do not try to defend or gloss over your weakness. Employers always looks to hire intelligent candidates who are self-aware and honest about their shortcomings. Accepting the problem is the first step to correcting it.

Identifying and speaking honestly about your weakness is good. But to make the answer a great one, talk about how you’ve been working on correcting the weakness.

Putting It Together

Here’s how it would all fit together in the interview

“What’s your biggest weakness?” you could answer:

“Well, I used to have really poor attention to detail. Speed is my biggest asset but it sometimes results in overlooking certain glaring mistake. To cope, I usually return to completed documents or presentations a few hours after completing them. This enables me to approach the same text with fresh, making mistakes much easier to spot – before sending it to the client. It’s a constant work in progress and I’m learning better ways to improve everyday. “

Sounded pretty good, right? Use our framework above and give that killer answer in your next interview.

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Lisa Miller

Ex-HeadHunter &
CV Expert
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