How to Answer: What is Your Greatest Weakness?

Instead of revealing a real weakness, take this time to show the interviewer that you’re not only self-aware, but also looking for ways to improve where you fall short. It’s also imperative that – if you state a weakness – it isn’t one that would hinder your work. Saying you have poor time management will almost immediately eliminate you from the running. Alternatively, don’t pick a clichéd response like “I work too hard” or “I’m a perfectionist”. Instead a small weakness, like a fear of public speaking or being a bit shy, will suffice. Not to mention it won’t present itself as a threat to your doing a good job!

Examples of some terrible answers:

  • I don’t have any weaknesses.
  • I’m a perfectionist.
  • I work too hard.
  • I have poor time management.
  • I’m frequently late.
  • I’m bad with people.
  • I’m lazy.

While honesty is appreciated, it won’t do you much good if you admit to the above.

Instead, take a two-phase approach to answering this question. That is to 1) address your weakness, and 2) to come up with a resolution.

Here are some ideas for your stated weakness and resolution:

  • You’re a people pleaser. This means that you want to be liked, but the downside is that you might say yes too often, even when you’re drowning in work. The resolution is that you’ve learned how to manage expectations in a tactful and friendly way.
  • You’re a recent graduate or career changer. You have little experience, which obviously works against you, but this means you’re eager to learn… plus there’s plenty of opportunity for them to mold you into an exemplar employee.
  • You might not be familiar with the software they use. However you’ve used a similar system before, and you’re a fast learner.

This question can also come in other guises. For example, the employer might ask how your friends or colleagues would describe you. While you should definitely sing about your strengths and downplay your weaknesses, you don’t want to end up sounding egotistical. And don’t inadvertently reveal you were the office drinking buddy or gossip (though we would appreciate that here at Fish4).

Feeling confident about this question? Then be sure to read up on any of the other questions that might come your way.


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