Posted on October 5, 2017
Whether you are applying to get into school, your first job or an executive position – this question is a favorite of all interviewers. Want to know the key to answering it? Presenting something that’s a true weakness but in a tactful way so you don’t come off looking like a bad candidate. And no, the “I’m a perfectionist” response will not do. Seriously.
Here is how to prepare your answer to this question:
- Make a list of all your weaknesses (come up with at least 5).
- Come up with a spin – phrasing the weakness more tactfully.
- Think through any advantages to having this weakness.
- Identify the 1-2 things that you are currently doing to address this weakness.
- Turn it into a story providing insight into how you tackle problems.
Here’s one I helped a client with just yesterday.
Weakness: I constantly compare myself to others.
Spin: I tend to be pretty competitive.
Narrative: I would say a weakness of mine is that I’m a pretty competitive person. While this can be a positive because it forces me to push myself and work hard to do well, I realize that I can get caught up with keeping up with my peers. And, that competitiveness can come in the way of focusing on the work. It’s something that I’ve been working on the past few months and I’ve made some real progress. The fact is, I realize the only person I’m in competition with is myself. So as long as I keep working on being better today than I was yesterday, I’ll be successful.
Bam! Who’s an amazing candidate now?