The old interview question – “What are your greatest weaknesses?” It’s happened to me in every interview preparation. OMG! I don’t like this question! When I think if my strengths, I don’t want to appear like I am bragging. When I am thinking of my weaknesses, I don’t want to appear weak, so I don’t really want to highlight my weaknesses. Am I just trying to prove that I am professionally and emotionally mature by speaking on my weaknesses? What am I doing about those weaknesses? How do I show my strengths at work?
Yes, this is a lot to think about. How do you prepare for this and give the best impression while still showing your professional and emotional maturity? Here’s how.
First, why do interviewers ask what you think your strengths and weaknesses are? It is easy to ask, but most find it difficult to answer it, so you must be ready. Recruiters and hiring managers want to know how you handle criticism, tough situations, and other challenges you will no doubt face on the job. Do you have an ego that would get in the way of problem solving or integrity? Ask yourself this question and be ready. Don’t think that weaknesses will be held against you. In most cases, the interviewer wants to assure you are ready to handle problems and look within while trying to solve them.
So, how do you answer the weaknesses question? It’s about preparation! Your goal in answering the weaknesses question is to not turn off the hiring manager by showing you can be an asset to the company.
Make a list and look at old performance reviews, if available. If you don’t have old performance reviews, then think about what comments may have been made about you in other jobs. There’s always SOMETHING!
Read the job description and know what is being asked for in a candidate for that position. Anything is fair game while in the interview. Don’t show ego with attitude. Be open about weaknesses and be prepared to discuss how you are overcoming them to be more effective in your job. Turn weaknesses into a positive where appropriate. Don’t put your down and avoid words like disaster and hate. Genuinely try to overcome weaknesses and be prepared to discuss how you are doing that. Do not use phrases like “I have no weaknesses”, “I’m overly competitive”, “I’m a perfectionist” and other OVERUSED statements when answering the weaknesses question. Interviewers are tired of it and will not take you seriously.
So, what are some statements you can state about your weaknesses? First, please remember what I suggested above. Truly try and determine what your weaknesses are and do something about them. Be prepared to discuss what they are and what you have done to overcome them. Interviewers value actions to achieve results. This is true of managing weaknesses AND managing job tasks.
With that said, here are some examples beginning with one that is true of myself:
1. I have trouble delegating tasks. The difficulty I have in delegating project tasks stems from a lack of trust in the determination and the skills of others. What I have realized is if I clearly state the expectation and give tips on what I am trying to accomplish with clear expectations for the final product, report, or spreadsheet, the work performance elevates and I don’t feel like I must do the work over again. This has helped with giving me more confidence in delegating tasks. For instance.......[give an actual example from a previous position]
2. Because I am a task driven person, I tend to focus too much on tiny details. This has caused me to miss project milestones in the past. Now, I pay more attention the big picture from my key stakeholders so that I can couple that need with tasks in order to get things done. Let me give you an example………………[give a specific example of an actual task where you had this issue]
Come out strong in your interview with these tips. It will work.
--R. Armstead - Radcliff Recruiting