Conventional advice recommends you respond to this question by stating a weakness that is really a positive or translating a weakness into a positive like "I'm a workaholic and I spend lots of hours at work ensuring I do my job to the best of my abilities." Interviewers see right through this technique and it's rarely effective.
When interviewers ask this question they really don't care what your weaknesses are. They care about how you handle this question and what your response indicates about you.
The response strategy to this question is:
- First, highlight your strengths for this position
- Second, highlight an area that you are working to improve upon
- Third, describe what you are doing to improve
- Fourth, describe how this new skill improves your value to the company
- Finally, ask a question.
To prepare your response, identify a new skill you have just learned or a skill you are learning now or a skill you are planning to develop. Whatever improvement area you highlight, relate it to the position or your profession.
Here is a fill-in-the-blank template.
While there are several strengths I bring to this position, including _____________ (and then you insert a couple of strengths), I am currently working to improve my knowledge of _____________ (blank). I feel this is important because it allows me to deliver added results in the areas of ____________ (and here you just insert a couple of areas).
Here's how this example might sound if you were seeking a position in sales or customer service and you are taking a course in finance & accounting.
"While there are several strengths I bring to this position, including being a top performer in my previous position and strong industry knowledge, I am currently working to improve my knowledge in the areas of business finance. I feel this is important because it allows me to directly relate products and services to customer's return-on-investment and to recommend department cost saving initiatives. Would you like me to elaborate on either of these?"
Did you notice I asked a question right at the end? Asking a question will make the interview more conversational and avoid it becoming an interrogation. The response strategy described here is just one of hundreds of techniques provided in Interview Mastery.
- Michael Neece
The leading job interview skills software
Interview Mastery is the first and best selling job interview software in the world. Thousands of job seekers in 45 countries have already reported getting offers because of the strategies in this program.