Job interviews are one of the most stressful and nerve-racking experiences a person can go through. You spend hours practicing what you’re going to say, purchase a brand new suit, book a day off – only to be grilled by a complete stranger who’s probably already made his/her mind up about you before you’ve even sat down. But no matter, how much we hate them, we know we have to be our absolute perfect selves if we want to get anywhere in our career.
Most of the interview questions are pretty easy to answer – “Why do you want to work here?”, “What salary are you seeking?”, “What are your goals?” etc etc. But there’s one question that always manages to catch us out! One questions that causes us to stop in our tracks and rack our brains for the right words…
What is your biggest weakness?
We know it’s coming, but nothing can prepare us for the sheer terror of trying to think of a weakness that will actually make us sound good, and not doom us for a lifetime of unemployment. You can’t simply say “I don’t have any weaknesses”, as this is going to make you come across as arrogant and unable to think creatively. So, what do you say? Fear not, because here are five responses you can answer with confidence:
1. “My IT skills aren’t as good as I’d like them to be but I’m spending a lot of my spare time trying to improve them by participating in training courses.”
Of course if IT skills are the main requirement of the job then don’t say this, but if the job is something like retail or sales, then you’d be okay to mention that you’re no Bill Gates when it comes to computing. Just as long as you mention that you’re taking action to better your skills, you should be fine.
2. “I’m a bit of a technology geek, so I’m always checking my smartphone or keeping my laptop updated with the latest software. I recognize I need to find a balance between my technology and my personal life to keep myself focused on the real world.”
On the other hand, if you’re interviewing for a job in the IT sector, you might want to mention how enthusiastic you are about all things technology. At the same time, you want to make it clear that you’re not hooked to your smartphone, as your potential boss needs to know you’re a grounded and focused individual.
3. “I have the tendency to be overly critical of my own work, which can make me doubt myself. However, I am trying to make a conscious effort to have more faith in my abilities, and put a limit on the amount of times I proofread and check my work.”
This is a much better way of saying “I’m too much of a workaholic”, which ultimately makes you look big-headed. Every boss wants there employees to be conscious of their work, so you’re actually giving them a positive while making it appear like a weakness.
4. “It’s important to me that there is group harmony within the workplace, which is why I have always put extra effort into helping others, as I don’t like to disappoint people. However, I realize that I need to find a balance between helping others out and being more assertive, so that I don’t jeopardize my own work.”
This makes you come across as a real people-person, which is an essential quality employers looks for, and you’re also stating that you’re willing to put your career before your friendships if you absolutely had to.
5. “Some might say that the fact I’ve never worked in this kind of institution before is a weakness. However, I feel that I’m a very open-minded person and I’m highly trainable, so I would be excited to learn the job the way you want it done.”
If you don’t have much experience for the position, you’re interviewer is going be aware of this anyway by viewing your resume. For this reason, you are better to address the issue yourself and state how willing you are to be trained up. Employers sometimes like inexperienced employees as it gives them a chance to mold you to their standards.