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Job Interviews

How to Answer “What is your Greatest Weakness? TheEmployable Interview Tips

Consider an irrelevant weakness
When we say irrelevant, we mean of course a weakness that does not in any way have any bearing on the skills you may need for the job you are applying for. If for example, the job has no financial duties and you aren’t that good with figures, it would be perfectly acceptable to declare that maths isn’t one of your stronger points. The key thing is to pick a weakness that is not at all critical to how you would perform in the job.

Turn a negative into a positive
What you are trying to do here is be critical of a flaw that you have , which in actual fact would be something that an employer would love to hear. For example, you could say that when you are doing a project at work, you can’t just switch off at 5 o’clock, how you tend to keep thinking and planning solutions in your own time or how you tend to be too much of a perfectionist and triple check all your work, just to make sure it is right. Whilst these may seem negative attributes, to an employer they may actually be strengths. The main thing to remember is that your answer should come across as genuine and not something that you simply feel the interviewer wants to hear.

We’d love of course to hear what other examples of “weaknesses” you have used, with good effect at interview and for any interviewers among you, what sorts of “weaknesses” you have heard at interviews. Feel free to let us know via the comments section below.

We also have another 9 posts on answering those tough interview questions – why not take a look.

Or if you need help on how to Search and Apply for Jobs so that you can get on interview….you might want to check out TheEmployable ebook.

Still feel that you need more interview advice? Check out Anson Reed, specialists in online interview training and 1-2-1 Interview coaching

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4 Responses to “How to Answer “What is your Greatest Weakness? TheEmployable Interview Tips”

  1. That question can strike fear into the heart of most confident of interviewees! As a recruiter, I try to word the question slightly differently and put a positive spin on it, so once we have passed the ‘strengths’ question I then move on to ‘so what about your areas for development’? This sounds less harsh than ‘weakness’ which I think is a rather negative word. As an interviewer it is great to hear a candidate be honest and follow up their answer with how they are working to overcome that particular development area as this shows that not only are they aware of it but they are taking a proactive stance in trying to improve themselves.

    Posted by Nicki White | March 12, 2012, 1:25 pm
  2. Another 1have heard which is not so negative is on Perfection, that he/she doesnt give up, in the pursuit of prefection, which at times leads to stress..
    Some people give responses on personal front, if the question is not directed clearly on professional weaknesses, eg- Spend more time with kids education, Or take up some sports.
    Since I am into hiring, come across many cases where the candidate believes that he/ she doesnt have any weaknesses/ areas of improvements. Welcome to Utopia!

    Posted by piyusha | March 13, 2012, 9:58 am
  3. The worse-ever ‘weakness’ declared at interview is “Oh, I’m afraid I work too hard and don’t know when to stop”. FAIL.
    For a start, it sounds trite. I don’t believe that ingratiating rubbish. And, if for a chance, it is true that you don’t stop, I’m going to have concerns for your health and well-being, that here in Europe may end up costing me in subsequent employee support and benefits. FAIL again.
    Any ‘weakness’ declared is better started by the phrase “I’m aware that I tend to…”, which is what we want to know anyway: are you self-aware?

    Posted by Mike Allen | March 14, 2012, 11:34 pm


  1. […] employers may ask this question in conjunction with asking you about your greatest weakness. Click here to find some tips on how to answer that particular […]

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