INTERVIEWER’S QUESTION “What is your greatest weakness?

By Carole Martin

Select the strongest answer.

(A) Weaknesses are not something that I dwell on. I am always seeking to improve myself in all areas. For instance, I know I could improve on my patience when working with people who don’t work at the same pace as I do. That was something that used to bother me, but as I gain experience and knowledge what I have found works best is to help the members of the team who are having problems. That way I can move projects forward instead of being frustrated and doing nothing.

(B) You could say that I am a bit of a perfectionist. I am a person who likes to get the job done correctly the first time. One thing that really gets to me and I can become very frustrated over, is when other people’s work affects my ability to do my job correctly. I’ve been working on trying to be more understanding and finding out what the problem is before I pass judgment but some people are just slow which is one thing, but they also make mistakes and that is not tolerable.

(C) My weakness is that I work too hard. I am one of those people who just won’t stop until the work is done. Because of the workload, I have to work many evenings and weekends so that projects meet deadlines. I’ve been told that I have to work smarter and not harder, but that is not easy for me to do. I am a very determined person and I want to get that job done – no matter what.

ANSWERS

The Strongest Answer

(A) This answer is the strongest because it comes across as being very sincere and honest. Some forethought was put into the answer and that is something you should do in expectation of this question – before the interview. This answer also shows a self-awareness of a need to improve and what action steps are needed to take to work through the issue.

The Mediocre Answer

(B) This is not a bad answer. However, the interviewer could become concerned that you are a perfectionist, and that could cause a problem. Avoid mentioning personality traits that would be difficult to change. In answering this question it is best to demonstrate something you are working on to improve your weakness: “I’m working on changing my behavior by taking management classes and doing yoga.”

The Weakest Answer

(C) This is a very trite answer and should be avoided. “Working too hard” is a concept that even the cartoons have had some fun with. An interviewer might be concerned about whether you are working hard because of the workload or because of poor work habits.

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