It’s a question that makes job candidates very uneasy – What do you consider your greatest weakness? People are loath to answer it because they think it will make them look bad. Some try to avoid it by simply saying they have no weaknesses, others by giving some minor, superficial flaw. Both approaches do more harm than good with the hiring manager, and you should avoid them. Conversely, you do not want to name a skill that is essential to the job as a weakness.
Why They Ask
The purpose of this question is to see how aware you are of your own faults and limitations, and we all have them. Implicit in the question is the idea that if someone knows their weaknesses, they will work to improve on them.
Therefore, you should name a weakness that is connected to your work. Do not turn it around to make yourself look good, such as saying your weakness is you work too hard or don’t know when to quit. This will not help your cause. You want to show you recognize where you have failings and you are mature enough to admit to them.
What You Have Learned
After talking about your weakness, explain what you have learned from it and how you are trying to improve. This shows you have grown and developed over the course of your career and how you are continuing that process.
If, for example, your weakness is time management, you can explain how you had problems completing a project by deadline. Then clarify how this has helped you grow as a professional and as a person.
How You Have Improved
Next you want to show what you are doing to improve this weakness. With time management problems, you can explain how you are now setting benchmark goals along the way to your final objective with deadlines for each benchmark along the way, creating step-by-step action plans and breaking larger projects down into smaller more manageable tasks to get things done in a timely manner.
Give the hiring manager specific examples of the progress you have made in overcoming your weakness.
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