We’ve gone over how to discuss your greatest weaknesses before. It is one of the most difficult questions to answer. Most people that try to answer it run into two problems:
- Real Weakness – if you provide a real, bad weakness, you make yourself look worse to the interviewer. There is no reason to point out your serious flaws.
- Load of Bull – You can give an answer that isn’t really a flaw, but if you do that you look like you’re lying. For example “My biggest problem is that I work too hard.” Really? Is it?
You will need to provide something that really can be a flaw.
Greatest Strengths and Weaknesses
Sometimes the employer is going to ask you about both your strengths and weaknesses. To answer this question, you need to do the following:
- Focus mostly on your strengths.
- Use a real weakness but explain how you’re fixing it.
These are best seen in sample answers.
“My greatest strength is that I am a hard worker. I am dependable and always on time, and I have great communication skills. My biggest weakness is that I am a perfectionist and spend a long time working on projects to try to ensure that they are perfect in every way.”
There are a lot of problems with this answer. First, your strengths are a bunch of clichés. This is possibly your best chance to talk about all of the amazing things that you know and the ways that you would rock at this job, and you wasted it on meaningless statements anyone can use. Second, your weaknesses is barely a weakness and it is roughly as long as your strengths, without discussing how you fixed it.
“I am proficient in a number of programming languages including HTML, PHP, C++, Java and AppleScript. I have generated over 200% excess revenue for two separate companies through cost cutting programming efficiency and I have leadership experience with a team of five IT professionals working on some of the most popular iPhone apps online. As for weaknesses, I have a tendency to remain quiet in large meetings, but I am working on speaking up when I feel I have ideas to share.”
See the difference? You identified some key, interesting strengths, and barely touched your weakness, only stating a weakness that isn’t really that big a deal and showing that you are already working on changing it. This is a much better answer.
Take Away Interview Tips
- Use real, interesting strengths.
- Use a weak weakness and explain how you are going to change it.
- Monster greatest strength and weakness article
- Interview Question: What Are Your Two Greatest Weaknesses?
- List of Ideas for “Biggest Weaknesses” That Aren’t Weaknesses
- Interview Question: How Can Your Strengths Help Our Company?
- How to Answer Difficult Interview Questions – Biggest Weaknesses
- Why Your “Biggest Weakness” Isn’t Being a Perfectionist