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Workplace Weaknesses: What’s the Best Way to Answer This Dreaded Job Interview Question?

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In most job interviews, you're going to get the question, "What's your biggest weakness?" Avoid the temptation to answer with a humble-brag, like, "I work too hard." Not only is it bad form, but it doesn't help them really get to know you. Here are three ways to be prepared, answer honestly, and still get hired.

In most job interviews, you’re going to get the question, “What’s your biggest weakness?” Avoid the temptation to answer with a humble-brag, like, “I work too hard.” Not only is it bad form, but it doesn’t help them really get to know you. Here are three ways to be prepared, answer honestly, and still get hired.

(Photo Credit: Audrey/Flickr)

Change the Question

Do You Know What You're Worth?

The intent of the question is to help the interviewer form an opinion of the interviewee. Turn the question around a little before you answer. Say, “Let me tell you about how I overcame one of my weaknesses,” because the question isn’t really about your weaknesses. It’s about being self-aware. How do you currently deal with and overcome challenges? Tell them those things and they’ll appreciate where you’re at on your journey, even if it’s still a struggle.

Get Specific

Be ready with specifics. Acknowledging a general lack of timeliness is generic and doesn’t say a whole lot about you. When you relate details, including using tools like Outlook to better manage your time, you’ve not only owned up to the struggle but shown you’re very aware and actively trying to improve. That goes a long way in showing your problem-solving skills and could help them imagine you on a team at their company.

Practice

How you talk about your weaknesses while in the spotlight says a lot about you. If you’re squirming and uncomfortable, you’re showing what you’re like under pressure. If you can’t think of any weaknesses, you’re showing you aren’t very self-aware. If you blurt out a few things you haven’t started working on yet, you look like you don’t know how to solve problems. And if you act surprised to be asked the question, you’re showing you weren’t prepared. Take time before the interview to practice talking out loud with someone about how you’re working to improve your weaknesses and you’ll look and feel much more comfortable when asked during a real interview.

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