If you find yourself in a job interview, there is a strong chance the hiring manager will ask you this question. Or, at least a similarly phrased question. This inquiry can flood you with all sorts of anxiety and can derail even the best interviews if you’re not prepared. The hiring manager knows that nobody is perfect. So, follow our tips for formulating an answer that will actually benefit you in the long run!
What They Want To Know
While the bulk of the interview will be composed of discussions centered around skills and experiences, understanding someone’s weaknesses offers a different perspective. The hiring manager’s ultimate goal is to understand whether you possess the soft skills needed to join their team. While hard skills like computer programming will be evident from examples of your work, soft skills reveal themselves through interaction. This question should highlight your honesty, self-awareness, and willingness to learn and grow (or lack thereof). These three characteristics will give a good indication of what it will be like to work with this person; information that is critical to the success of a team or business.
How To Answer
In this situation, how you answer is often more important than what you answer. By asking the question, the hiring manager is looking for an honest answer that shows you’re aware of your shortcomings but actively looking to learn from them and improve. Just ensure that the weakness you give is not a critical component of the job you are applying for. You can ensure this by quickly checking the qualifications on a job description. Sticking with the programming example, a prospective programmer shouldn’t answer attention to detail, as this is a pertinent skill.
Instead, referencing your nervousness around public speaking and the actions you’re taking to improve is what the hiring interview is looking for. Awareness and action are still key. Hiring managers are looking for red flags that indicate a lack of these. Any example that follows the steps outlined above should accomplish this.
What Not To Say
All too often, candidates answer by trying to disguise a strength as a weakness. When asked what’s your biggest weakness, NEVER answer with something along the lines of, “I am a perfectionist.” An answer like this can come off as disingenuous or lacking self-awareness.
Nobody is perfect and the hiring manager understands this. They just want to ensure that you approach your shortcomings in a realistic, constructive manner.