What’s your greatest weakness? Tips on how to nail a tough interview question honestly.

What’s your greatest weakness?

When going through the interview process people are frequently asked some version of a question that addresses their greatest weakness or an area of opportunity within their current capabilities. It is one of the questions candidates prepare for the most, yet often a moment where people find themselves with a response that just doesn’t feel authentic, or worse, that makes them freeze up entirely.  Typically people try to respond in a way that turns the negative into a positive, with standard claims like “I don’t know how to shut off,” or “I am a perfectionist.”  Turning our negatives into positives is a great example of growth mindset, but in this situation, it is cliché and avoids the purpose of the question entirely.

The question is meant for organizations to see how self-aware, honest, and committed a candidate is to their development in the field. Weaknesses are opportunities to learn and improve. When crafting a possible answer to this interview question, think how answering the question truthfully can be an opportunity to connect to your interviewer.  You can showcase an authentic learning experience, and how this experience has helped you grow.

Here are three steps to tackle this question:

  1. Pick a skill/trait that you’ve actively been working to improve
  2. Describe how that skill/trait has been a challenge for you in the past, and the actions you’ve taken to improve it
  3. Showcase the results you’ve gotten from your efforts, little or big a win is a win! Don’t forget to mention the praise you’ve received from your progress.

After all, self-reflection is critical to personal and professional growth.