You are here:

Interviewing Tips/What is your greatest weakness

Advertisement


Question
I have a job interview next week, and I want to be prepared with a good answer to the question "What is your weakest point? What would you suggest?

Answer
When you are asked what is your greatest weakness in a job interview, the employer knows that nobody is perfect and just wants to see how you respond to challenges.  He or she wants to know that you will work to improve your skills whenever necessary.

It is smart to reply with an answer that describes a real weakness of yours and demonstrates that you've taken steps to improve upon that weakness.

It is also important to ensure the weakness you choose is not a skill that is crucial to the job you are seeking.  For example, if you were interviewing for a job as a window washer for high rise buildings, you wouldn't want to tell the employer that you were afraid of heights.

A weakness can be a skill that you needed to improve upon (like a software program you wanted to learn), or a natural inclination (like having a tendency to jump from task to task) that you needed to address in order to improve your work.

Here is a sample answer to the question, what is your greatest weakness?

I have had to actively put some good time management systems in place because, if I don't impose a structure on myself, I tend to jump from task to task and shift my focus each time the phone rings or an email pops up.

I keep a simple priorities list at my desk, and it works extremely well for me.  I take a couple of minutes at the end of the work day to list everything I need to do the following day.  I find it's best to make the list at the end of the work day because everything is fresh in my mind at that time, and it allows me to jump right into my work the next morning. I label items on the list so I know which items must finished the next day, and which items are medium and lower priority.

Implementing this system has been immensely helpful for me.  I simply refer back to my list throughout the day, and it keeps me on track when I'm interrupted or new tasks are presented to me at work.

Analyzing the Sample Answer

The weakness presented is a tendency to be easily distracted by interruptions or new tasks.  Many people have this weakness.

The solution, keeping a running list of priorities, is an effective way to handle a time management challenge that many people deal with at work.

By describing an effective solution to this common problem, you can turn this interview question around.  Instead of just telling the employer about your weak points, you can give the employer the understanding that whenever you see a weakness in yourself, you do something about it.  You are able to solve problems and deal with common stresses and challenges that everyone faces in the work environment.

Do be sure to come up with your own answer.  I like to give examples so you can get a better understanding of exactly what I'm describing.  However, it is important to avoid simply copying an example answer because it sounds good. If you just copy a sample answer, you won't sound sincere in an interview.

Think through your own honest weaknesses to come up with your own sincere answer that fits the criteria I've outlined above.

Interviewing Tips

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Lisa McGrimmon

Expertise

I can answer questions about resume and cover letter writing, how to find job leads, and all facets of the interview process including how to prepare for an interview, common techniques used by employers, how to handle specific interview questions, and what to do after an interview. I facilitated a job finding club for five years and have helped approximately 2000 clients find work. I have written almost 1000 resumes and have conducted approximately 2000 mock interviews for clients.

Experience

As a job club facilitator, I ran weekly workshops which covered resume and cover letter writing, maintaining your confidence through the job search process, how find good job leads, and job interview skills. I worked one on one with each participant in my workshops. By the end of the week, each client received an individualized resume written by me, with the client's input, and each client participated in a mock interview that I observed and critiqued.

Education/Credentials
Career and Work Counselor Program, Sir Sandford Fleming College, Bachelor of Education Degree, Queen's University

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.