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  1. #1

    Interview question: "what are your weaknesses?"

    I have found myself being asked the interview question : "what are your weaknesses?" at most of the job interviews I have been to and I always found it difficult as to what to reply. Till now I have always tried to answer in such a way that the so called "weakness" appears to the interviewer to be an "asset". For example once I tried saying that I was very fussy on keeping things very very organized and that I consider it a weakness. When they asked "why?" I told them about how during my last job I had been sharing an office with another colleague. He was not the organized type and always left a lot of papers scattered on his desk, never found what he was looking for, etc etc ¶This had always made me very frustrated of having to work with him and sharing the same office. With no surprise I received a letter a week after the interview saying that the post was filled and they will keep my CV for their reference should any other vacancy arise. What have you replied to this question which made you get the job?

  2. #2
    There are other ways to indicate that your level of organization is a weakness without essentially saying you don't get along with your coworkers. You might pull out a story that illustrates a time when it made life difficult for you--for example, I tend to say one of my weaknesses is being too efficient and relate a time when one of my bosses said "where is that paper I just had sitting here?" I told him, "I filed it," and he said, "but I was still using it!"

    I think saying you're too organized is fine, as long as you have a good reason for why--which means no "my coworkers drove me nuts/my coworkers couldn't stand me/I get really anal when someone touches my desk/whatever." If you can't think of a good reason, try to think of something else. Or, come up with a minor weakness you have resolved and tell how you worked to resolve it--they also like to see that you're into self-improvement.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Expert
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Katja gave you some very good advice. By admitting to a weakness in a way that plays to your advantage, and showing that you have resolved it, exhibits much about your character. It shows that you are human, willing to change when needed, have ways to solve problems in an effective manner, and are aware of yourself. After you have selected your chosen 'flaw' make sure you do relay it in a manner that is conducive, not inhibitory, to you being employed.


  4. #4
    They might have been looking for someone to do a great job in team work and who doesn't complain about the other colleagues. Don't ever mention in your answers the word "frustrated" because it is in your detriment. The pieces of advice above are very good, so take them into consideration.
    Also, consider thinking of something general as an answer, but still, something to be applied in specific situations.

  5. #5
    Maybe it's just me, but when I'm in the chair interviewing a potential candidate, all these "sugar coated" answers really don't appeal to me at all. I prefer a little bit of an honest and straightforward answer, without trying to awkardly spin it into some positive attribute.
    Linda Walkrsin

  6. #6
    Senior Member Expert
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Vinton, VA

    Maybe it's just me, but when I'm in the chair interviewing a potential candidate, all these "sugar coated" answers really don't appeal to me at all. I prefer a little bit of an honest and straightforward answer, without trying to awkardly spin it into some positive attribute.

    Holy hell, you and I would get along splendidly! I positively suck when it comes to following the "conventional wisdom" and "expert advice" of "spin," i.e., lie. After all, that's what it's reduced to, now isn't it?

    E.G.: "Randy, give me an example of what you perceive as a weakness in yourself."

    Me: "Glad to. I postively loathe being asked an open-ended question, the purpose of which is to get me to say something that serves no purpose other than to give you a reason not to hire me. We've established, on paper at least, that I have all the qualifications and experience necessary to do the job or we wouldn't be sitting here having this conversation, now would we? So we're having this pretense of a discussion for no reason other than to give you a chance to decide if you 'like' me or not. And if you really believe for one minute that hiring people you 'like,' those who leave you feeling good that they're 'team players' and that elusive 'ideal candidate' is what you want, you're an idiot in the first place and I've worked for enough of those in my life. I'm far more interested in achieving results and getting the work done than in expending time and energy in pretending to be someone other than who I am...."

    Yes, a wee-bit harsh for dramatic effect but here's the problem:

    I've given that answer in interviews.

    I'm at my best, however, when asked the single-most stupid question ever asked in an interview:

    "Where do you see yourself in fives years?"

    Linda, you're a rare jewel, a breath of fresh air, and I envy anyone who has the pleasure to be interviewed by you.

  7. #7
    Banned Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Clyde, NY
    I like the honest approach as well. The reality is, if someone knows their stuff, why do they need to come up with polished answers.

    When I am interviewing, I do take time to answer questions honestly. What that means is I don't spout answers off the cuff, but think about them. That does not mean that I have premeditated answers to the questions.

    As far as open ended questions, I don't find these to be a problem as long as the interviewer does not make them too vague.

  8. #8
    To best answer this question you need to understand why the interviewer is asking it. They are judging if someone has the ability to self evaluate, honestly be able to identify their own weaknesses and then take steps to correct them. This is a very valuable skill that is hard for employers to find.

    Don't sugar coat or try to make a negative a positive "I'm to detailed oriented" they have heard that a million times and is meaningless to them.

    Identify a weakness and then outline what proactive steps you have been taking to correct it.

  9. #9
    When i was interviewing, the interviewer asked me what my advantages and weaknesses were. Frankly I didn't know how to answer these questions which was the frist time to ask druing my interview. I just said that I was shyness,reserved and nervous. Several words can not express my thinking. Finally I did not get an offer.

    we should prepare for interviewing and the attitude is very important.

  10. #10
    Junior Member New User
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    London, UK
    This question is rarely a trap if the candidate is wise, never specify a weakness related to the job or people, secondly, turn the answer around to come across confident and in full command, never fall apart or appear nervous when specifying a weakness,

    Lastly the weakness question, rarely determines who get's the Job!, The eventual hire is mostly based on who demonstrates the strongest ability to get the Job done.

    If you need in-depth help check out this great company they give Professional Interview Coaching Services
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  11. #11
    Junior Member Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Answering the question, "What is your weakness?" is always a tricky and difficult question. We have to be careful when we answer this question. I like the tip that 'uttam_giet' have given that we can say our weakness is impatience and we get impatient when one of the team members doesn't perform.

  12. #12
    Junior Member Newbie
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Isle of Man
    Interviewers are also looking for the way you deal with difficult questions. This part of the interview assesses whether you are a) diplomatic and b) tactful. Sometimes it's not always the 'sugar coated' answer that is being assessed. Of course you are going to answer with something that can be turned into a positive. But it is the WAY that you say it and the WAY that you deal with it. It shows a great deal about your personality and the way you behave when put on the spot/are critised etc. I think the answers include: "I always push myself further; but this helps me to succeed" or "I don't like an unfinished task or an unresolved issue; but this helps me to keep on top of my workload" . Great answers and this can lead into the interviewer asking "So, when did you last push yourself?" Then you can talk about last course completed or target in existing job. Therefore you can sell yourself further!

  13. #13
    This is question which is frequently asked in interviews. You need to answer this tactfully as this may become a deciding one for your job. You should mention a weakness that isnít really a weakness and that would most likely be noticeable to the interviewer. Otherwise the interviewer will know that you are lying and may ask for another weakness. Never mention a big weakness that could cost you the job. Like if you have gone for project manager job, then don't mention that you have trouble getting along with people since youíre going to be constantly working with others. Try to make your answer brief otherwise it may give rise to some debate kind of situation. And since this is the most common question in interviews so better go prepared with the answer.

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