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No job interview is complete without the dreaded, “what’s your greatest weakness” question, or some variation of it. Employers love to ask candidates about their professional weaknesses, and what a candidate says in response can reveal a lot about them. I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve received the generic, “I pay too much attention to detail,” another variation of turning an inherent strength into a weakness, or worse “I don’t have any”. Everyone has weaknesses in certain areas; it’s human nature. Trying to pass yourself off as a perfectionist during your interview may not actually work in your favour the way you would expect it to. Be real and be authentic. Always show up to an interview having fully prepared to answer that dreaded question. As an employer, I want to know what you’ve done to overcome a weakness in the past, specifically something that’s related to the workplace and not your personal life. It’s important to maintain professionalism, so choose a weakness that would be of interest to your interviewer.
For example, my personal weakness is that I am disorganized. Being so busy, I want to get everything done ahead of schedule and in the rush to do so, I may just skip a beat along the way. With so much going on, I’m prone to being somewhat scatter-brained and have even missed a few important, scheduled calls in the past. In order to improve and overcome this weakness, I committed to writing everything down in front of me. I knew I had to start doing so as using my phone calendar wasn’t effective for me. Along with writing and documenting everything, I also started creating spreadsheets on Google Docs. The combination of the two has been really effective in helping me get more organized. Although my organization is still something that I’m working on, I can safely say that it’s no longer a hindrance to my ability to be productive while not missing the little details.
Whether you share my weakness of disorganization, or have one that’s unique to you, I encourage you to work at improving your negatives so that you can turn it into a great answer to the next “what’s your biggest weakness” interview question.”
– Christie Lohr @christie_lohr
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