The question “What’s your greatest weakness?” has become so common in interview rooms that people have developed custom answers to tackle the issue beforehand.
However, very few people understand the essence of this question or why interviewers inquire about your weakness. If you know the reason why employers ask about your weakness, you can craft custom answers that are suited to your situation.
Getting past the façade
Interviewees attend interviews in their best attire and are on their best behavior on that day, so it becomes difficult for the interviewer to judge your character when you are your usual self.
The interviewer is looking to put you in a difficult position where you have to apply your diplomacy skills and tell them about your ugly side without putting them off.
No matter how you choose to answer the question, the interviewer will always deduce something from your reply. Here are some of the aspects that employers look out for in your answer on your greatest weakness.
It takes a lot to tell someone you are trying to impress about a genuine weakness. Giving an honest answer about your weakness in an interview can improve your chances of getting the job.
When you choose to dodge the question or give a generic answer, the interviewer is likely to question your honesty. Your prospective employer is also left with doubts about your real weakness. This hurts your likelihood of getting the job since the person will question whether he/she can trust you.
Dodging the question and giving a rehearsed answer, therefore, turns to be a weakness in itself.
Weaknesses that won’t hinder your job performance
You might have a weakness in an area that is critical to your job position. Since the interviewers are looking for the best candidate who will perform the job efficiently, having a weakness in an essential element of the job will cost you the position.
Consider a secretary who has a hard time being organized or spelling. Since these are critical aspects of the job position, such a weakness will most likely lower her chances of getting hired.
A tip here is to choose a weakness that is not too critical to the position that you are eyeing. You can evaluate your weaknesses and find one that would least affect your job performance.
For instance, a person applying for the position of a secretary or any other position that does not require addressing a large crowd might say that they have a weakness in public speaking. Public speaking is a genuine weakness, but it is highly unlikely that you will get to address a mammoth crowd in your position.
Some weaknesses can be overcome through practice and motivation. Giving such a weakness, as long as it is not critical to your job position, will not hurt your chances of getting the job.
For instance, a person who gets nervous when speaking to large groups can overcome this weakness by boosting their self-confidence and self-esteem. This is a fixable weakness that your work colleagues can help you get through with time.
However, being shy and unable to speak up in a group is a weakness that can be harder to fix. Since the company will be looking for your contribution in meetings, such a weakness is likely to get you turned down for the job.
Weaknesses you are working to improve
Knowing your weakness is one thing and working to fix it is another aspect. Employers are looking for people who are always trying to improve themselves so that they can reach their maximum potential.
You need to prove to the interviewer that you are taking action to overcome your weakness. One option is to show that you are willing to learn and try out ways of minimizing this weakness.
A better option is to demonstrate that you have taken the initiative and you are already working to improve on your character. For instance, if you have a problem with being organized, you can show that you have learned a trick on how to better your organization skills. This way, the interviewer knows that you are a person who takes the initiative to find solutions even in the workplace.