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How To Answer: What’s Your Biggest Weakness?

This is one of the trickiest questions that the interviewer may ask. It’s important to find the right answer because employers love to ask this question. Surveys suggest that this is the second most asked question after “What are your strengths?” so it’s important that you prepare yourself to be grilled!

“What’s your biggest weakness?”

The hiring manager/recruiter likes to ask this question because it shows that you can recognise things that you need to work on and you are not too proud to admit a weakness or two. After all, you are only human – no one is perfect.

Honesty is the best policy.

Instead of trying to think of something that will make you sound almost perfect, such as: “I am such a perfectionist, I won’t complete a project until it is 100% perfect.” be honest. By trying to turn a negative into a positive you are probably going to put the interviewer off.  It comes across as quite a cliche answer, and is it actually a weakness or are you avoiding answering the question properly? The best advice is to be honest, there must be something you know you need to work on or something you are currently working to improve.

Step 1:

Start by addressing the weakness, make sure it is something that won’t put the hiring manager off, for example, “I’m too sensitive, I cry when I experience any level of stress.” , “I have too many sick days, I’m really lazy”  they are answers to avoid. Be honest but keep it relevant. For example, “I’m not very good at public speaking.” “I sometimes struggle with multi-tasking”  

Step 2:

Discuss past experiences where you have had trouble with that particular weakness. For example, “I found it quite nerve-racking speaking to a crowd at a conference once and I came across quite quiet and shy.” 

Step 3:

Explain the ways you have been working on this weakness and the steps you have been taking to overcome it. For example: “Since this conference, I have been attending Meet ups and other non-work related conferences, I have been practicing speaking to strangers and ways that I can diminish the nerves before and during.”

Step 4:

Mention any relevant acknowledgements towards that weakness, your manager commenting on your improvement or a stranger commenting on the way you did something. Example: “I have tried speaking at smaller events since and my manager has commented on my improvement.”

Step 5:

Future aims and goals to overcome this weakness, “I hope that gradually I can increase my audience number and in time, confidently speak to a large crowd.”   

TOP TIP: The worst response to this question is mentioning that you have no weaknesses, this will appear to the interview as though you are lying and hiding something. It will appear as though you did not prepare for the interview and it will make you look silly, everyone has weaknesses, recognise yours!

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