weaknessBoth expected and dreaded, “what’s your biggest weakness?” is a staple interview question. This question is meant to do more than unsettle you – though that is definitely one of its purposes! Asking this allows interviewers to:

  • Test your integrity
  • Determine your self-awareness
  • See if you put thought into your answer
  • Ensure that your weakness won’t hinder your performance
  • See how you handle tough questions/scenarios

Turn this question to your advantage by simply answering truthfully! Here are some tips that will prove invaluable when replying to this question:

  • Be HONEST. Be candid about your weakness – don’t try to paint a rose-colored version of the facts. Remember, your potential employer will reach out to your references and get the truth from them, so it’s better to be straightforward from the start.
  • Don’t say you have no weakness.  No one is perfect, and if you say that you “can’t think of anything” or “nothing comes to mind,” your interviewer is going to think that you are either dishonest or too lazy to take the time to put some thought into your answers.
  • Mention what you are doing to transform your weakness into strength. Whatever your answer to this question, be sure to follow up immediately with what steps you are taking to improve. Employers are looking for people who take accountability, are willing to evolve and take action.
  • Avoid clichés.  “I’m a perfectionist.” “I’m a workaholic.” “I’m not very good at public speaking.”  These are overused and (typically) not genuine – interviewers know that!
  • Make sure your weakness doesn’t make you unfit for the job. Your weakness should not interfere with the job or company objective. If your weakness does, rather than shade the truth for your interviewer, it would benefit you to find a job better suited to your strengths and weaknesses.  It’s likely not the best fit for you.
  • Stay cool. It’s not the time to break down, get nervous, or get down on yourself; your interviewer wants to see how you handle uncomfortable situations and whether or not you are able and willing to be self-critical.

Yes, you want the job. But using clichés and being insincere doesn’t help in the interview, or in the long run – if you were to get the job. Stand apart from other interviewees by being real! If you are partnering with a staffing firm on your job search, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Many agencies offer interview help to their employees. At Masiello, we offer interview assistance designed to help you avoid common interview mistakes. We have several other resources available to job seekers as well. For more information, don’t hesitate to contact our experienced recruiting team.  We want to help!