Some interview questions are unavoidable and will pop up no matter what kind of position you’re interviewing for. In a meeting in which you’re trying to sell yourself and your skills, you may feel a bit nervous when asked the dreaded question, “What is your biggest weakness?” or “What skill do you feel you can improve upon?” The good news is you already know it may come up. You have plenty of time to think it about and be prepared with an honest answer while still selling yourself.
You may feel inclined to give an answer (and I have been guilty of this) such as, “I’m too detail-oriented,” or “I struggle with perfectionism.” Although you feel it may be true, these types of answers could be viewed as an easy way out.
Instead of turning to these overused, clichéd answers, let’s think about the question another way. You’re given an opportunity to explain a time when you felt you needed to change something for the better and you had the ability to realize something negative about yourself. A time when you had the desire to address and remedy the factors impacting your performance negatively. This shows you cared enough to better yourself and the work you do for your employer.
An example may be something that many of us suffer from: organizational skills. Maybe your lack of organization was making you work slower than you would like, or you weren’t being as productive as your job required. A good way to try to amend this situation, or a possible answer to the question, is a simple one: did you read books and articles on how to be more organized, or maybe seek out a personal speaker who specializes in organization and attended a seminar? Do you have a co-worker who seems to have mastered a streamlined process and has everything they need readily available at all times? It could be something as simple as reaching out to them for advice on how to stay on top of things.
The question “What is your biggest weakness?” could be a great way to show your ability to solve problems, and if you can solve problems and better yourself, just think of all the other issues you can identify and resolve.
Think about what you could work on and how things would improve if you changed. You may even learn something valuable about yourself in the process.
By Laurie Zieman | People Science Sr Talent Advisor