How to Answer “What Are Your Weaknesses?” Here’s Some Good and Bad ExamplesJan 10th, 2011 | By Bill | Category: Employment News, Interviewing
Tell Me About Your Weaknesses
It’s the question that strikes fear in the heart of many interviewees. Truth be told, it’s a crummy question. It’s crummy because who is going to admit that their biggest weakness is a serious inability to drag their sorry selves out of bed before 8:55 AM, and expect that they’ll get the job that starts at 9 AM?
This question is definitely one you want to prepare for before you hit the interview trail.
The best way to answer this is to give an example of a weakness that you have an established action plan to overcome-and even better if you’re doing it now. All interviewers have faults too. They don’t fall from some mythical spaceship in the sky without any weaknesses just to make your life more difficult. In the best case, you can give them an idea of what you have done that works. Here’s an OK example and a great example.
I would say my biggest weakness is that when I have many things to do I can get overwhelmed. I try to make a to-do list to give me something to focus on and a set of priorities. That usually helps.
That above answer does answer the question. It shows that there is an action plan in place, but this answer doesn’t give as much detail as it could to bring the problem and solution to life for the interviewer. If you ended up giving this answer in an interview, it would be fine, but I want you to see how putting in a few more sentences of detail-without being extraneous-can give the interviewer more insight into your work style.
I remember in my first job that I would get easily overwhelmed. When 2 or 3 projects came at me all at once-and I was already working on a few things-I would feel my heart start to beat faster, and start canceling any plans I had for the evening, figuring that I wouldn’t get out of work in time. I started to make a to-do list and number my priorities. I also started asking people about their due dates, and found that it was a more efficient way for me to budget my time. That allowed me to fit in the real emergencies as they arose and keep up with the longer term projects. I still use that system today and find that it’s very effective. There are times when I feel like I’m too busy to even write the list, but I know that in the long run it makes me more efficient.
Notice the little details I included. How I learned to talk to my co-workers or clients about their priorities and work with them. I still acknowledge that emergencies arise, but that this system keeps me calm throughout. That I tried to work efficiently and sought a way to do that, while relieving my stress. See how the above description gives you a better picture of what I would be like to work with: calm and under control. Wouldn’t that be a great picture to plant in an interviewer’s head?
Melanie Szlucha has been a hiring manager for over 15 years and a career coach for over 4 through her company Red Inc. She writes resumes, coaches clients for job interviews, and works with them to strategize networking opportunities and job search tactics.
She offers a packet of FREE job search articles–worth over $100, through her website: http://www.reallygreatresume.com.
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