You've landed an interview at your dream company, and you're sitting down with your potential future boss. The excitement is REAL! Your interview is going swimmingly...until they pop the notorious question:
What's your biggest weakness?
As off-putting and self-destructive as this question may seem, it is not a trick question. Most interviewers today will ask it to get a better sense of your self-awareness and self-improvement.
Answers To Avoid
Strength disguised as a weakness:
Im a perfectionist./I work too hard.
These come off as unrealistic and disingenuous.
Weaknesses? I really don't have any of those.
No one is perfect. This answer displays over-confidence and naivety.
My biggest weakness? Chocolate :)
This may be true, but this does not relate to landing your dream job!
3 Steps To Answering The Question
Demonstrate your self-awareness and self-improvement:
✅ Choose an honest weakness that actually affects you professionally.
✅ Make sure that weakness won't get in the way of doing a good job.
✅ Show how you've tried to improve on that weakness.
Actions That Demonstrate Self-Improvement
The secret sauce is not in your weakness itself, but in the wayyou respond. The interviewer wants to hear how you're overcoming your weakness, what you've learned, and how you're applying these lessons to improve yourself.
Actions that demonstrate self-improvement:
Leaning on co-workers to learn a new skill
Asking your boss to shadow your calls for constructive feedback
Taking a free online course to gain a deeper understanding of a concept
Volunteering on a new team at work to improve collaboration
Who Would Land The Job?
These three candidates have applied for a project manager role at a technology company.
They've been asked, "What is your biggest weakness?"
My weakness is time management. I've been known in the past to leave things until the last minute, or submit them overdue. I promise I wouldn't do that here if I got the job!
My weakness is my timidity. I'm naturally shy, and I've found myself holding back ideas in meetings. I'm very aware of this flaw, so I've spoken with my manager, who purposely calls on me in larger settings to help me speak up. It's a work in progress, but I'm proud of how far I've come.
I'm a perfectionist. I will not stop until what I've produced is up to my own 100% standards. I'll stay up all night to get it done — I don't mind burnout. Work is my #1 priority.
Who would be most likely to land the job?
Before your interview, take time to identify the weakness you can speak to. Prepare your action plan!