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That Hated Interview Question: What Are Your Weaknesses?

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 8:37am | by Helen Hoart

Most interviews follow a fairly predictable path. 

·         Tell us about yourself.

·         Tell us some of your accomplishments.

·         What are your strengths.

And usually the next question is:  What would you say your weaknesses are?

 I’ve read some advice that suggests the answer should be something like: “Well, I’ve been told I work too hard.”  Really? If I were interviewing someone and they gave me that answer I’d roll my eyes and maybe break out laughing. 

So how do you answer that question without jeopardizing your chance of getting the job?

One solution: discuss a weakness you had and how you corrected it.

We all have problem areas. Think about a time when you had to take steps to improve your performance. Here are some examples:

                “I never liked public speaking and was fearful about presenting in front of a group. I took a public speaking course at the local college and this has helped a lot.”

                “I always hated math. When I took my last job, budgeting was part of the requirements. I had to teach myself how to budget and take advantage of spreadsheets.”

                “I was never a particularly good proofreader. I learned several techniques to make sure my reports were typo free.” *

As you get ready for your interview reflect on what questions the interviewer will most likely ask. Rehearse your answers ahead of time. Be confident and when the dreaded: “What are your weaknesses” question comes up, be prepared.

*Proofreading tips: Read what you’ve written aloud. Read what you’ve written backwards. Ask someone else to check your work if you have time. Read it in hard copy.

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