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How To Answer: What's your biggest weakness?

Biggest Weakness Introduction:

We’ve all heard the interview question “What is your biggest weakness”?  It is the question that we all hate, but we know it is bound to come up. The question can feel like a trap, but there are actually ways to answer this question to strengthen your interview.  Regardless of how you want to answer this question, it is best to prepare an answer beforehand. If you don’t prepare, you will be forced to make up an answer on the spot, which never ends well.

Do not say a negative that is actually a positive

Many people will try to say a positive trait but pretend that they think it is a negative.  These answers include saying you’re a perfectionist, or a workaholic. The interviewers will typically see right through these answers and not believe you.  These answers are especially flawed when asked to back them up with examples. If you truly believe you’re a perfectionist or a workaholic in the workplace, try to word that weakness a little differently.  Many people answer with those weaknesses, so try to make it a little more unique.

Do not try to avoid the question with humor

Many candidates will try to avoid the question using humor.  They will answer saying their biggest weakness is chocolate, or some other joke.  Your interviewer will not laugh. They have heard this answer before. These answers are not unique nor funny.

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Biggest Weakness - Avoid Humor

Say a real weakness, but with explanation

The best way to answer this question is to mention an actual weakness, as well as the steps you are taking to improve.  This will show your interviewer that you are self aware of your weaknesses. On top of that, it show your interviewer that you are constantly looking to improve yourself.  For example, if your biggest weakness is public speaking, but you also attend weekly public speaking classes, it shows great initiative.

Biggest Weakness Conclusion:

All in all, this questions is tough to answer.  Oftentimes it feels like you are put in a lose-lose situation when faced with this question. However, there are ways to come out on top with your answer. The important part is to practice answering this question beforehand. Check out our resource on how to make a great first impression - it will add to your success during the interview process.