How to Handle The Interview Question What Is Your Greatest Weakness?


What Is Your Greatest Weakness?

I made the mistake of answering this question honestly during an interview for a promotion.  I did get the promotion.  However, my new supervisor had an annoying habit of reminding me of my answer to that question during our work together.

Being able to answer this question is part of standard interview preparation.  What should I have answered when he asked me about my greatest weakness?  Here are some options that would have helped me.

1. Know the requirements of the job well enough that you do not say anything that would disqualify your for the job.

2. Respect the need of the interviewer to ask questions that show whether you are qualified for the job.

3.  Avoid repeating the question in your answer.  For example, the interview says, “What is your greatest weakness?”  Do not start your answer with, “My greatest weakness is…”  You want to focus on positive things.

4. Prepare your answer based on something that is true about you.  False statements are costly eventually.

5.  Show how you have made adjustments so that your weakness has made your more effective.

Here are some examples that are actually true of me.

  • I dread being late so much that I would rather lose a little time by being early than experience anxiety over being late.  I find that I can easily use the time.  I simply take some things to work on while I wait nearby to enter for my appointment.
  • I read guidelines and prefer to use them to avoid conflict.  Other people focus on doing what makes sense at the time.  I have learned that sometimes it is better to go with the flow of the team than to question everything everyone says or does.  Guidelines are note rules or laws.  Creative people often offer solutions outside the guidelines.  When people want to know what the guidelines say, they do turn to me for advice.

Good luck with your interviews. You will do a great job.

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