Jobseeker, What’s Your Greatest Weakness?

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We recently shared a few tips on answering some of the most common—and most tricky—job interview questions. One of those questions is sufficiently slippery that it deserves some blog space all its own. You probably know the question already: So tell us… what’s your biggest weakness?

This question is a staple of the job interview process, and if an interviewer asks you to identify your biggest strengths, you can rest assured that a question about weakness is coming next. This question is designed to do a few different things. It evaluates how well you think under pressure. It evaluates your level of self-awareness and candor. And it allows the interviewer to see if you handle a treacherous scenario with aplomb, or if you deteriorate into a flop sweat.

Answering the Question

With that said, how can jobseekers prepare for this question—and when it comes, how can they answer it gracefully and satisfactorily?

Make sure you have an answer ready in advance. You’re probably going to be asked this question, so come up with your answer in advance; on-the-fly responses tend to come across like BS.

Give an answer that is related to your work. This is not the time to address a “weakness” in your marriage or in your out-of-the-office relationships. Don’t drag emotional baggage into the interview.

Be willing to laugh at yourself. If you can think of a humorous example of the weakness you’re discussing, that’s all the better, because it shows real confidence when you’re willing to be the butt of your own joke.

Make it something teachable. The best weaknesses to identify are the ones that you can be coached and trained on—because of course, your new employer can always coach and train!

Explain how you’ve worked on it. Emphasize that your weakness is something you recognize and are invested in improving on.

Don’t do a “humble brag.” Saying your biggest problem is that you work too hard or care too much is lame, and won’t fool anyone.

Arrive in your interview expecting this question—and knowing how you’re going to respond. For more job search tips, hit us up at www.grammarchic.net or 804-831-7444.

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Filed under Job Search, Resume Writing

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