Answering "What Are Your Major Weaknesses?" At Interview

Jonathan Lewis


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One of the trickier questions an interviewer might put to you is "what are your major weaknesses?"

What are you meant to say? If you list all your weaknesses, aren't you just giving the interviewer reasons to think that you aren't up to the job?

If you read most other interview advice guides, they will say that you should list some weaknesses that are just as much strengths. Things like "I am a perfectionist" or "I work too hard".

But these responses are JUST PLAIN WRONG. Let me explain why.

In fact, I'll let you in on a secret. It is my job as an interviewer to form my own opinion on what your strengths and weaknesses are and I will do so without you needing to tell me! But, if I DO ask you "what are your major weaknesses?" then I will be looking for three key things:
  1. Self awareness
  2. Awareness of your impact on others
  3. Self development
So work out what your weaknesses are, and package them with the following three steps to make your interviewer know that you are the right person for the job!

1. Self awareness

As an interviewer, I want to see that you are aware how your 'weakness' really is a weakness. Illustrate with examples where you can.
2. Awareness of your impact on others

Your weakness may also impacting others in a negative way, so it is good to show that you are aware of how your behaviour rubs off on other people.

(By the way, strong candidates, especially in an environment where teamwork is important, will ALWAYS be demonstrating that they are aware of their impact on others.)

Okay, so now you're showing that you're really on top of this weakness, and that you're not trying to show it off as some kind of strength.

Now it's time to go in for the kill! I will be putty in your hands if you go on to step 3!!
Step 3. Self development

Finishing your response off in this way will truly show that you understand that you have a weakness and THAT YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!

Remember, everyone has weaknesses. They are not something to be hidden, but something to be FIXED. So show your interviewer that you have set about FIXING your weaknesses. Again, examples are useful.
Wrap-up

So, now do you see how you should REALLY be answering the 'weakness' question?

Follow the three steps above, and your interviewer will know that they are talking to a high quality candidate who will continue to grow and flourish in their company.


Jonathan Lewis has extensive experience of selecting, recruiting and retaining exceptional personnel in a variety of professional roles. For the full text of this article, visit Careerfriend at http://www.careerfriend.com now.










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