Oh….that dreaded question; the one we know they ALWAYS ask. Why do we find this question so tough to answer? Many people really trip on on answering this question.
A couple of ideas:
- Focus on a weakness that might actually be viewed as a strength, e.g., I tend to work long hours, I tend to be a perfectionist, I tend to push my team really hard to accomplish their goals, etc.
- We all have weaknesses. Some could be fatal weaknesses with respect to the job at hand, but many are likely not fatal weaknesses. Choose a non-fatal weakness – one that’s been part of your personal history BUT one that you’ve also focused SIGNIFICANT TIME and effort on improving. Discuss all the things you’ve done to improve upon that weakness – be specific. Talk about how you HAVE improved – give examples.
I tend to lean toward the second of the two ideas above. The second approach demonstrates that you (1) understand your weaknesses (self knowledge is a desired trait in an employee-to-be) AND (2) have the motivation and self-direction to work hard to either overcome them or significantly mitigate them (another highly desired trait for a potential employee).
Learn to answer this question with CONFIDENCE. It WILL be asked sometime during the interview process. PRACTICE your answer – ask others for feedback. Be prepared for this question and you’ll do a MUCH better job of addressing it.