How to answer What is your greatest weakness
When asked this question, it's tempting to give an answer like 'I take work home with me' or 'I'm a perfectionist'. This is a risky tactic as most interviewers will easily see through the tactic of trying to present a strength as a weakness and you will run the risk of coming across as disingenuous.
It can feel odd to try to point out your own shortfalls to an interviewer. After all, you're in this meeting to try to sell yourself, not give reasons as to why you shouldn't be hired. What it comes down to, as with most interview questions, is the way you answer the question.
You're not perfect, nobody is, and your interviewer certainly will not expect you to be. What they will be looking for with this section of the interview is your sense of self-awareness, honesty and your ability to deal with your own shortcomings. As such, the answer to this question is best given in two parts.
As part of your interview preparation, think carefully about what you would consider to be your areas for improvement. The points below can help as a guide:
- Have you previously struggled with achieving any objectives/tasks/goals?
- Have any peers or superiors from your previous employment ever suggested you do something differently?
- Is there something you would like to change about yourself in your professional life?
This section of the answer demonstrates your pro-active stance on your weak points and shows that any negatives soon become positives using your own initiative.
Think about how you overcame your weaknesses.
- What actions did you take?
- What decisions did you make?
- Did you have to change your approach/outlook?
- How did you make ensure the weakness didn't recur?
Of course, you may be pushed for a current professional weak point, so be sure to prepare an answer that includes an explanation of how you are going to address, or currently addressing it. The chances are that it will be the interviewer's next question anyway.
There is a lot you can say about yourself as both an employee and a person with this opportunity so be sure to use it as best you can by preparing properly.