Do you get tripped up by “your greatest weakness” question at a job interview?

They have their own intentions and they know exactly what they want to get out of you

At every job interview there are common questions which you should prepare for and you should have some good answers ready. One of these questions would most definitely be: what is your greatest weakness.

It doesn’t matter how much you have prepared for the dreaded question and how confident you are, you should never underestimate the interviewer or interviewers.

Therefore, you may have a shiny answer with which you can stand out from the crowd but you may not expect that your potential future boss turns the question around and asks it in a way that you do not even realise it is the very same question.

The “what is your biggest weakness” question can be asked in several different ways such as “what do you struggle with in a job”, “what would your colleagues say is your greatest weakness”, “what causes you the most stress in a job and why”.

The hiring managers know exactly what they want to get out of you. They may have several reasons for asking the question such as getting more information out of you than you want to reveal of yourself or to see how they can challenge you and how well you can think on your feet.

Be alert and take a moment to think about what the question actually is before you speak. The recruiters do not need to know about your problems and you certainly do not need to go into emotional details. There are excellent ways of replying which turns the originally negative question into a positive one. It is all about how you present the information.

Below are some top tips how to answer this very common question:

  • Find a weakness in yourself which is irrelevant. With other words which does not affect your performance in your job.
  • Turn your negative point into a positive thing and explain how it can help you to move the job forward.
  • Show them that even though you are well aware of your weakness, you know in what situation it can occur and how well you handle it when under pressure.

The following answers should not be given under any circumstances:

  • You are at your best when you work on your own
  • You sometimes struggle under pressure
  • You do not react well when somebody criticises your work

In conclusion, expect the unexpected at a job interview but just take your time and think about the answer before you say more about yourself than you intended to and remember, the interviewer is a person like you and wants to find someone who is a good match for the role and the team.

Join Over 40,000 Recruiters. Get our latest articles weekly, all FREE – SEND ME ARTICLES

Recruiters love this COMPLETE set of Accredited Recruitment & HR Training – View Training Brochure

Comment on this story

The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

Send this to a friend