Interviews are already nerve racking enough without tricky questions meant to throw you off your game. For some candidates, the kryptonite question is: What is your greatest weakness?

Luckily for you, we have the inside scoop on how to answer it.

First of all, interviews aren’t therapy sessions; they’re a place for you to show your future employer what you’re made of – not what breaks you down.

Your future employer wants to see how you handle tough questions. The answer is more about your mindset rather than about what you’ve chosen to say.

Turn this question into an opportunity to showcase your optimism, healthy mindset and growth. That will ultimately show the employer you’re the person for the job.

Instead of focusing on how not to answer this question, let’s dive right in to how you should answer it.

This question can be disguised in a few different ways:

What is your greatest weakness?

If I called your last supervisor, what would they say you could improve on?

Can you tell me what your professional goals are this year?

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

What are your weaknesses?

No matter how they word it, the end result they’re looking for is the same.

They want to know you’re not a quitter.

Here’s how to answer it:

Talk about a time you overcame an obstacle 

Believe it or not nobody is perfect. (Shocking!) Your future employer knows that you’ve grown as a professional throughout your career and they want to see how.

Share with them a time you were given a big project, what was difficult about it and how you used resources to overcome the obstacles.

Make sure you pick a project/experience that relates to the position you are applying for. You’re trying to impress the hiring manager so remember to speak their language.

Step 1: Think of a professional situation/project/experience where a weakness of yours showed.

Step 2: Write down the situation into a 2-3 sentence summary you can explain in the interview quickly.

Step 3: Think back about how you recovered from this weakness. Maybe you took an online class to sharpen your skills or maybe you spoke with your boss about how you could improve yourself. Whatever the issue was, you probably found a way to fix it. You didn’t give up. 

Step 4: Write down the recovery in 2-3 sentences. Maybe you took steps to fix it and then worked on a similar project in the future where you were able to use your new skills – that is a great story to share.

Step 5: Write down a 1 sentence future growth statement about how you’re planning to continue learning from the original weakness. Maybe you’re attending a conference next month or you joined a monthly toast masters group. The goal here is to let the hiring manager know that you’re invested in personal growth.

Overall, your answer should be 6-8 sentences.

Remember to leave out any emotional or over-specific details about the weakness – interviews aren’t gab sessions on how terrible your old colleagues were.

Preparing your answers for this and other tough questions beforehand will help you be less nervous and showcase how well prepared you are. It’s the thought that counts.

Good luck on your interview! We’re sure you’re going to be great.

Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date on our “Interview Questions” blog series so that you will always be prepared.

For now, check out these similar blogs:

10 Common Interview Questions

Confidence: A Key Player in Career Opportunities 

15 Job Hunting Tips from Silicon Valley Recruiters

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