This is one of the hardest questions you may come across in an interview and often stops even the most experienced professional in their tracks.
You can hear it in many forms:
- “What’s your weaknesses?”
- “Tell me about your weaknesses?”
- “Tell us about your strengths and weaknesses?”
- “What is your greatest weakness?”
The idea behind this question is for interviewers to understanding if you have self reflection, if you can and want to improve on your weaknesses and also to understand any potential weaknesses you have they may need to know about. It’s pretty clear that most people are not going to say anything highly concerning about themselves or reveal a weakness that may put their interview at risk, so ensure you choose your examples wisely and keep this point in mind.
Never ever say you do not have any weaknesses, as we all know that no-one is perfect. By saying you don’t have any weaknesses you will struggle to connect with the interviewer personally and not come across as endearing or real.
So you’ll now be wondering ‘how do I answer the question?’
Before you enter any interview scenario, start by using self-reflection to find your examples. An interview is not the time to contemplate your weaknesses. UCGR suggests instead of labeling it as weaknesses, lets use the terminology development points and thus can become attributes you can work on, so in the future they will no longer be weaknesses.
If you struggle to think of your development points, start by asking those around you. Ask your parents, lecturers, managers or colleagues. If you decide to ask the question to them, you must take the feedback gracefully and ensure you don’t get upset or defensive when you receive feedback. Take it as a learning opportunity and use the information to your benefit.
Usually we all have 1 or 2 things we could touch on straight away, Undercover Grad Recruiter challenges you to find at least 3 examples, as this will help you well into the future.
Listed below are examples of weaknesses/ development points that as recruiters we typically hear from students, can you relate with any of them?
- Communication skills
- Time management
- Speaking up in meetings
- Commercial understanding
- Public Speaking
Ensure you choose your ‘best’ weakness. By that we mean an example that you can explain how you are planning to overcome the issue so it won’t be a long term issue.
So at this point you have selected a few weaknesses/ development points.
You also understand you need to be able to explain how you are going to overcome your example to continue developing yourself.
Let’s now deconstruct a question and answer:
Q: “Please share with us your greatest weakness?”
A: I can be quite shy in public situations, I therefore am not very good at networking or building new networks.
Q: “Why do you think this is important?”
A: I think networking is important in order to build relationships, be seen and learning through knowledge and conversations.
Q: How are you going to work on this weakness?
A: I am actively aware that I can become shy, so my first step is to put myself out of my comfort zone and speak with as many people in my circles as possible. To help me with conversations, I am actively reading world issues, topical discussions and financial news in case I find myself stuck in conversation. My aim is to have a conversation with someone new every day.
To further develop my networking skills I am actively attending social and industry networking events and at each event I aim to get at least 2-3 contact details of attendees to follow up after each event.
By pursuing these activities I am confident over time that I will over come my shyness and build excellent networking skills.
How was that answer? Did you feel comfortable reading it? Could you replicate something like that?
The best way to answer any weakness question successfully is to use our motto- practice, prepare and practice some more! You want your answer to come out smoothly with success, so ensure you put the effort in.
UCGR aims to help you answer this question with ease, therefore if you write out your answer and email it to us, we are happy to review and make recommendations to help you.
We found a great article to help you further: Big Interview- What is your greatest weakness?
UC Grad Recruiter