You’re supposed to be talking about how great of a prospect you are and now the interviewer is forcing you to bring up your greatest weakness – talk about a mouthful. So, what do you do? Well first off, what you shouldn’t do is actually start blabbering about what your shortcomings– especially if it’s an essential skill for the job.
This question is not really going to lend itself to honest answers, and to be quite frank, most interviewers aren’t expecting one. This is more a test of your wit and critical thinking skills that will give the interviewer a better idea of how you think and operate. It can reveal a bit of your character too.
A job winning response to this question is about spinning the question over its own head and making yourself out to be a strong candidate even when that’s a bit counter-intuitive to what the question is even asking. Yes, it does seem like a challenge, but if you break it all down, it’s actually quite an easy one to get around. Here’s how:
Something good can be bad
The crux of how to tackle this question is to hint at one of your positive traits by bringing it up in a seemingly negative way. An example would be to say, “I really like things done right, and when I’m under time constraint or not given the necessary tools to do my job, I find it difficult to lower my quality of work.”
This is a genius response because it brings up a flaw about yourself, while at the same time, also showing how high a bar you set for yourself by never being satisfied with anything less than your best. Interviewers that hear this response will home in more on your high standards as opposed to your unwillingness to compromise – which isn’t always a bad thing to begin with.
Avoid mentioning essential skills
The above response hints at your inability to make compromises, which is usually not a big deal. But what if you’re interviewing for a job position that requires you to make compromises on a regular basis? Now all of a sudden this response isn’t as strong as we’d ideally want it to be. This is why it’s so important to identify the most prevalent skills to your job position and avoid mentioning them as weaknesses. In fact, those are the skills you should be hyping up as a strength.
Let’s say you’re applying for a job that requires a lot of creativity, like perhaps a game designer or screenplay writer. Well, imagine answering the interview question by saying “I’m an outside the box thinker and sometimes, because I come up with unique ideas that often defies convention, this can make me a bad fit when working with people who are scared to take risks and likes things done the conventional way.” Not only does this make you out as a quirky and creative individual, but assuming you’ll be working with like-minded people who share your enthusiasm for unconventional ideas, the weakness you described should be a nonissue. In fact, it shows you fit well with their culture. Fellow game designers and screenplay writers pride themselves in their creativity, and this respond hints that you do too.
Tailor this technique to the specific job position you’re applying for and with this new approach, you’ll know exactly how to give a job-winning response that’ll impress your interviewer.