One of the most expected interview questions involves being asked about your greatest weakness. You have probably seen it parodied in movies and shows where the interviewee rattles off a few things that actually sound more like strengths. The thought behind this strategy is acting like you are flawed when in reality you are simply a dedicated and passionate worker.
Unsurprisingly, this strategy does not typically work. While an employer is not looking for you to talk them out of hiring you, they also are not trying to trick you with the question. Their goal is to learn about your self-awareness regarding potential issues and see how you work on self-improvement. Next time you’re preparing for an interview, try these tips for answering about your greatest weakness.
First and foremost, you should expect this question and be ready. It does not mean you will hear it but walking in without an answer could be detrimental to the success of the interview. When you have not considered an answer and thought it through, you could come out with a generic response like ‘I work too hard,’ which comes off as inauthentic.
Learn to rephrase
To be clear, this point is not how to turn a strength into weakness and bring it back again. It is how to phrase your weakness properly, so you are not blaming other people, acting like you are too good, or anything else that paints you in a negative light.
The thing to remember is everyone has weaknesses and it is not wrong for you to share yours. Because of this, the key is being open and honest and choosing your words carefully to explain what it is. For example, instead of saying ‘perfectionism,’ you can explain what specifically is happening that causes it to be a weakness.
Practice your response
After you know your weakness and how to explain it, it is time to practice. This also means talking about what you are doing to work on this area. Being self-aware is only half the battle – you need to show you are aware and doing something to correct or improve the behavior.
Once you have figured everything out, keep practicing so you can say it fluidly. You do not want to sound rehearsed, but you want to know what you are saying. This is a good habit for all interview questions you can reasonably expect, like ‘why are you looking for a new opportunity’ and ‘what motivates you.’
Actually work on improvement
Working on your weakness is about more than sounding good in an interview; you should actually be taking steps to improve. Not only to fully support your answer but to make progress and eventually not view it as a weakness.
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