When it comes to job interviews, there are probably a handful of questions an applicant prepares for more than others. One of these could be, “What is your greatest weakness?” Does the prospect of hearing that question keep you up the night before your interview? Be honest.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the tried and tested ways of answering – or skirting around – this dreaded question. Do not despair. We finally get some answers in this post, appropriately titled “The Right Way to Answer ‘What’s Your Greatest Weakness?’”
Author David Reese thinks that presenting your negative traits as a positive is terrible advice:
“Responses like these tell me little about how a candidate faces challenges and immediately implies a lack of sincerity. It doesn’t demonstrate to me how they think — beyond their ability to creatively avoid being honest or self-critical. It indicates to me that they’re not willing to stand up and say what’s not working…”
He goes on to say that what he’s looking for is a more authentic conversation and he tells us why:
“I’m not really looking to find out whether their organizational skills could use improvement, or that they struggle with presenting to large groups or even leading large teams. I’m trying to find out whether they have self-awareness; whether they are able to be critical; and most importantly, whether they’re able to tell the truth — when it’s difficult.”
In other words, be yourself. Interviewers are looking for more than that over-rehearsed response you have memorized. They’re looking for real insight into who you are. It’s not about having the right answers, but being the right fit for the job.