Weaknesses – Answering the Toughest Interview Question
Last week, we discussed the tricky “what are your strengths?” question that we all seem to encounter during the interview process. We explained the importance of knowing your own strengths, differentiating between hard and soft skills and having the ability to provide tangible examples of your strengths in action. Today we turn the tables and switch our focus to weaknesses. In this blog post, we introduce three tips for answering interview questions pertaining to your professional weaknesses.
Three Tips for Conveying Your Weaknesses:
- Keep in mind that a weakness isn’t a pitfall: A common misunderstanding among job candidates is the idea that weaknesses are a sign of poor applicant quality. This is simply not the case. A weakness doesn’t have to be negative; a weakness is simply not an area in which you exceed expectations. Try brainstorming your areas of struggle and pick the instances that highlight strengths within them.
- Avoid clichés: Recruiters and managers conduct countless interviews annually and they are bound to hear the same answer multiple times. As you can imagine, hearing the same answer throughout their encounters can be extremely frustrating. When asked about your weaknesses, avoid common answers like, “I’m a perfectionist,” or, “I procrastinate,” etc. These answers are an easy way out and show very little to be admired in regards to interview preparation and creativity.
- Stay positive: While honesty and transparency are great qualities, it is important to never frame yourself in a negative light. Keep in mind that you are applying for a position and you don’t want to provide any reason for management to doubt your abilities. According to Bernard Marr, “There are a few weaknesses you should never mention in a job interview. They are: “I’m not a team player.” “I’m not trustworthy.” “I’m not reliable.” “I have difficulty accepting feedback.” “I’m not able to take initiative and work independently.”
Whether you are being asked about strengths or weaknesses, answering these questions is an art and a perfect answer will require preparation and adequate consideration.
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