Interview tip: “What is your biggest weakness?”

Interview tip: “What is your biggest weakness?”

Hi everyone, I’m Amy Bateman
from Career Cake TV. I did a video a couple of months
ago with the guys at Firebrand Talent Search and we
had some fantastic feedback, so thank you. Now I’ve spoken to the team
and we’ve decided to do another video to help
you at interview. And this time I’m going to be
looking at the question, what’s your biggest weakness? So we’ve all heard those
textbook answers that tell you to pick a weakness that
is also a strength. So something like I’m a
complete workaholic. My family get really frustrated
because when I get a job I throw myself
into work. Or your weakness is I’m
a perfectionist. I want everything around me to
be perfect and I get slightly frustrated when other
people don’t want it to be as perfect. Now the problem is that nobody
is that incredible that their weakness makes them
more incredible. And if you pick a weakness
that is so obviously a strength in the working
environment, then people are going to see straight
through that. So what I would really like,
oh and remember, the interviewer has also been
a job seeker and been on interview, and has probably read
the exact same articles as you and the same
textbook answers. So pick something that you
genuinely struggle with. Nothing too horrendous,
however, that nobody would hire you. We all know what not
to say, I’m sure. I hope. No, I’m sure. So pick something genuine. Maybe it’s that you struggle
in conflict situations. Maybe you struggle with
your confidence levels amongst your peers. So my weakness used to be public
speaking, speaking to large groups of people. And in my job, that is
a massive weakness. However, obviously with what I
do now, I’ve overcome that completely. But it is something I’ve
really struggled with. So I want to focus
on four steps. The first step being setting the
tone by saying in the past I’ve struggled slightly with. So what you’re saying to the
interviewer is that in the past, this weakness is already
kind of behind us. I’ve struggled slightly with,
so this is not a big deal. With da, ta, da, however, I’m
really strong at da, ta, da. So whatever it is, you’re
obviously counteracting the weakness with a fabulous
strength. Then give an example of what
you’ve been doing to overcome that weakness. Give exact examples if you can
and try and use the past tense as much as possible. Because again, we want to make
the interviewer feel like we’re dealing with this, we’ve
got this under control. And then you finish with that
really happy story. So give an example, tell a
story of something really positive where you overcame
that weakness. And you can say you’re still
working on it if you want to, that’s cool. So if you were going to pick the
public speaking weakness, you could say, in the past I’ve
struggled slightly with speaking to large groups
of people. However, I’m really strong
at speaking to smaller groups of people. I’m really good at building
rapport with people one on one. What I’ve done to overcome that
is, you might say that you spent time with colleagues
that were really good at it, you practiced it, you took
some coaching, you took a course, and then give an
example, a happy story. Recently, in fact I did a
presentation to a team that worked in another office
of ours, to a large group of people. The messages were clear. I felt confident, feedback from
management was that they were really, really pleased. So yes, I’ve come a long way. I’m still working on it, but
I’ve come a long way. So that’s how you answer that. In the past I’ve struggled
slightly with, however I’m really good at, this is what I’m
doing to overcome it, and here’s my happy story. Alright? Now honesty will get you
so far in an interview. We don’t want to say anything,
obviously, too horrendous. We’ve covered that, but
yes, honesty will get you a long way. So if you want to catch up
with me, you want to see anymore of my videos,
this is my website. I’ve got a careers blog. If you want to catch up with the
amazing team at Firebrand Talent Search, this
is their website. And until next time, take care
and good luck with those interviews.

26 thoughts on “Interview tip: “What is your biggest weakness?”

  1. The problem is that it is utter bullshit. They want to see how much we will grovel and jump through hoops. It has NOTHING to do with actually getting to know a potential employee. And it is a humiliating way to go through life.

    When we go for an interview or apply for a job, we are offering our services to a company. We are not crawling on hands and knees looking for a handout–we are free agents who wish to help out a business in exchange for being able to eat and have a roof over our heads.

    I have created my own business after going through this meaningless, embarrassing charade time and time again. Once I was interviewing at a Whole Foods job fair and was asked this question. I responded: "My biggest weakness is that I am too idealistic. I believe other people and always get let down." The two interviewers smirked at each other knowiingly. This is the humiliation that I no longer am exposed to, thank God!

  2. What if i say it's hard for me to work in a very negative environment? Like boss who's angry all the time, and sly employees, etc.

  3. The problem with this answer is that it is also textbook fake one especially when you are saying: ‘in the past…’ it again gives the impression that you are perfect.
    I am a big procrastinator and when I have to do things I hate I just delay them until the very last minute. This is the truth and probably 99% of the people are the same.
    Asking about weaknesses is a stupid question anyway, I used to pick my people based upon their strength as I know that nobody will tell an interviewer what their real weakness is as people would then never pass these stupid interview questions. When someone asks this question I know that the interviewer is just not senior enough to conduct a proper interview!

  4. But they didn't ask what is your weakness plus what's something you do fabulously well with. That just seems random and unnatural to throw that in when it's not asked for.

  5. To that question, I answered well I'm slightly dyslexic and caffeine exacerbates the effects so I have to avoid caffeine when there is any critical data entry work. I think I shocked the interviewer. He said, "Wow, Someone why doesn't think they are prefect? OMG!!" He honestly said I was the first interviewee who actually was aware of my own faults.

  6. There’s one proper way to handle this question: be honest. You don’t have to start highlighting all your weaknesses and present yourself as the worst possible candidate for them to hire. However, the hiring managers will see right through the lies, so it’s important to be honest.

    Anyways, read the below. This might help.

    Sourav Basak
    Namaste UI

  7. For anyone worrying about an interview right now, these are the modern day questions that I was asked recently and i hope it helps! Remember it is more than normal to feel terrified XD

    1. tell me about yourself – personality, future, e.g where you're studying
    2. biggest strength and weakness?
    3. why do you want this job?
    4. How did you find out about this job?
    5. For this specific role, I was asked what makes good customer service
    6. where do you see yourself in the next five years?
    7. any fears or health issues?

    I would also recommend researching where you want to work and having some questions prepared so you feel that little bit more confident! good luck

  8. Is this a bad weakness to mention: "Something I've struggled with is being more outgoing and easily network with other people. I've become aware of this and have realized how important it is to network and not be afraid to approach people because great things can happen when you work with other." What do you think?

  9. there is nine competencies that are general in all jobs most people dont have all of them but to be successful an any job you need them therefore its best to pick one of these and tell them you want to improve on this

  10. My biggest weaknesses are: I believed that going to college would increase my skill set for the real world. I believed that you should do a good job make the company money, but more often than not the slacker is kept when layoffs have to be done. I believed that what they told me in the interview was true about the company. Only to find out many times there was NO training, NO help, and you would get blamed for not knowing about stuff never revealed to you. I believed the YT videos that said it would help if you used their tips. When in fact it made HR mad.

    Those that know aren't ON YT, those that think they know are ALL over YT trying to fool others.

  11. Half of these questions sound way too formal for most roles you've also gotta base it on what type of job you're going for.

  12. what if i say i want everything around me to ''Look'' perfect, does that sound selfish or somewhat not right?? :/

  13. No one asked me that question, and I am a neurologist. Guess the level of BS questions and who you speak to depends on the job.

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