Sunday, July 27, 2008

Answers to "What's your greatest weakness"

From time to time I help prep someone for an interview: which could be for a job, college entrance, or volunteer position. And always get stuck on the "what's your greatest weakness" question. Unfortunately it's important to plan for that one as it likely will be asked.

Most common given are: "I'm a perfectionist", "I'm a workaholic";

Ones I like: "I'm sometimes too hard on myself when I make mistakes", "Sometimes I care too much", "I wish I had more patience for those who don't work as hard as they could";

Joke answers are risky (in my opinion) - for example, "chocolate", "physics", "kryptonite"; as is trying not to answer - "I'd rather focus on positives";

Today on a flight I found 3 more good responses in the "Cubicle Coach" section of Marie Claire (Aug '08) magazine: "I over research", "I can take on too many projects", "I'm too eager to help my colleagues".

Any good answers not noted?


Anonymous said...

I wonder why people even ask this question. IMHO, there really isn't a "good" answer; the best you can do is dance around it by pretending what most bosses would consider a strength is a weakness (the "good" answers).

Can you tell I hate this question? I never ask it when I interview people. I'd much rather ask them what their most challenging project was, and why it was challenging. This at least gives you some clue about their weak spots, as well as how they work around them to get something done. Which is what I really want to know, anyway.

Anonymous said...

This question must have been created at an HR meeting long ago. Why would anyone make a negative statement about themselves?

When I interview people, I pose scenarios that may have more than one correct answer. I just want to learn how people problem-solve and think.

Mark said...

Yeah isn't that a dumb question. You know everyone prepares for the answer, so it never tells you anything. I would use it in giving interviews, but it never really told me anything.