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The Toughest Questions

Articles > Job Interview Tips

This career article by Nathan Newberger gives you some common sense advice and tips on answering one of the toughest interview questions - " Tell me about your greatest weakness? "

WHAT THE INTERVIEWER IS AFTER

Few interview questions invoke as much dread as "Tell me about your greatest weakness?" Keep in mind that by asking this question that the interviewer is trying to determine if you engage in self analysis and how you handle difficult questions.

These 5 quick tips will help you to successfully navigate this interview hurdle on your way to landing your ideal job.

5 Tips To Help Answer The Question:
"TELL ME ABOUT YOUR GREATEST WEAKNESS?"



TIP #1 - MENTION THE DOWNSIDE OF A SKILL

This strategy is successful because you actually answer the weakness question by showcasing a skill. For example "I am very committed to customer service. Sometimes this leads to my spending quite a bit of time with customers. At times this causes me to fall behind in other areas."

TIP #2 - SHARE A WEAKNESS THAT YOU ARE WORKING TO OVERCOME

This tactic is successful because it shows that you are committed to self-improvement. An example of this is “I am not really comfortable presenting before an audience. I have joined a public speaking group in order to overcome some of my nervousness.” Another example is "I currently only speak English. I recognize that the world is getting smaller day by day and I am studying Spanish in order to be better prepared for the future."

TIP #3 - USE A WEAKNRESS THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE JOB

While it is usually preferable to answer with the downside of a skill or a weakness you are working on, sometimes, the best tactic might be to use a weakness that is unrelated to the job. This way you can honestly answer the question while not casting doubt on your ability to fulfill the job requirements. Examples include "I am a terrible cook" or "I cannot dance." This strategy is useful if you are trying to inject a (quick) humorous story into the interview regarding some mishap related to the weakness.

TIP #4 - DO NOT PRETEND TO BE PERFECT

It is never a good idea to answer this question by saying you have no weaknesses. Everyone has weaknesses. By saying you have none, you will appear arrogant.

TIP #5 - DO NOT GIVE A CANNED OR COMMON ANSWER

This will make you will seem phony and insincere at worst and unimaginative at best. An example of a very over-used answer is "I am a perfectionist." Say this or something similar and be prepared for the interviewer to (inwardly) roll his/her eyes and subtract points for originality.

When talking about your weaknesses, always clearly communicate both what you are doing to overcome the weakness and that you are confident that your efforts will be successful.

About The Author

Nathan Newberger is the job and career expert at www.WorkTree.com. Nathan has over 10 years of experience in staffing and human resources. He has worked both as a recruiter and career counselor. Mr. Newberger has been the Managing Editor at www.WorkTree.com for the past 5 years and his articles have helped thousands of job seekers.

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