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Job Interview

How to Answer the Job Interview Question

“What’s your greatest weakness?” is the question that no one ever quite knows how to prepare to answer. This single question has the power to determine in one swift blow whether you are a potential asset or a liability to a prospective employer.

whats_your_greatest_weakness_2Answering the Question

Let’s take a look at what we don’t ever want to say first, and why.

Never, never, never choose a weakness that demonstrates your inappropriateness for the job:

The “Strength in Disguise” Weakness

What do I mean by a “weakness that is really a strength in disguise”? Let me give you examples of such “weaknesses”:

A. People Pleaser:

“It’s important to me that everyone gets along in the workplace. In the past I have always gone the extra mile to help out whenever it is necessary in trying not to disappoint or let anyone down.”

B. Workaholic:

“In taking things to extremes, I have found that it is easy to get burned out by not balancing my time very well. I now however have a Day Planner to better organize and schedule my time, making sure I achieve a balance so that I can still be a valuable player.”

C. Self Critic:

“I feel that my greatest weakness is that I am very critical of my own work. I have always prided myself on producing excellent and error-free work. While this is beneficial to my job performance, it is possible to go to extremes. I have also found that I can easily waste time checking and rechecking.”

D. New Graduate or Entry-Level without any experience:

“Some people would consider the fact that I have never worked in this field before as a weakness. However, being highly trainable and open minded, I have no pre-conceived notions on how to perform my job. Working with your organization will give me the opportunity to learn the job the way you want it done, not the way I believe it is done. In addition, although I have no former on-the-job experience, I do bring with me extensive hands-on training and experience which can only enhance my ability to learn extremely quickly.”

Bottom Line

Regardless of what strategy you use, your ultimate goal is to present a real weakness that does not damage your potential for the position but also does not come across as unrealistic or staged. If you are not sure if you are picking a negative weakness, review the criteria for the position and put yourself in the shoes of the employer to consider what you would like to hear and what you would think was negative. Take time to practice difficult answers like this with a partner until you feel comfortable so that you will sound natural and confident in the interview.

The BiEmpowerment Team

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