So you have managed to sell your strengths to the interviewer, get ready for the job interview quite well, but what now?
Well, now comes the time for the most dreadful question, ‘What in your opinion are your weaknesses?’
This is one of those questions that have been terrifying a number of individuals, especially the fresh graduates who have no prior experience of tackling such simple-sounding yet perplexing interview questions.
You cannot say that you do not have any weaknesses, as this would make the interviewer think that you are being over smart. Even if you do mention about any weakness of yours, you never know what weakness backfires and end up costing you an interviewer as well as a lucrative job.
Why is the ‘weaknesses’ question asked in interviews anyways?
Many HR representatives did not give much attention to this type of question during an interview in the past. But, since the job market has become tougher and the company budgets have become tighter, no company can take the risk of hiring the wrong individual for even the shortest period of time. When a candidate is asked about his weaknesses, it shows the employer how confident he is about himself, i.e., how he acknowledges his weaknesses and how he agrees to handle and improve them.
The question of weaknesses gives you the opportunity to let the potential employer know about the areas where you are not very comfortable; both practically and ethically. In order to avoid losing the chance to get the job, take a look at the following few ways with which you can handle this question in the most appropriate manner confidently:
• Mention unimportant skills
This is an alternative approach to shift the concentration of the interviewer from an important set of skills to less important skills. Basically you would be mentioning about a weakness of yours that is not at all required for the job that you are being interviewed for. For example, if you are giving an interview to land the job of a banker in a reputable bank, you may mention that you are not very good when it comes to giving first aid. Sure it is something that everyone should know about but it is not something that would make you look bad for the position of a banker.
• Framing the answer before presenting your defense
The most effective manner to reply to this question is to prepare for an answer before you leap to your defense. Tell the employer how you strongly feel that it is a fair question and how everyone should be well-aware of the fact that they are not perfect. Then further explain that there are no problems or issues whatsoever that are linked with the position that you are being interviewed for. Let the interviewing committee know that there is nothing that they should be concerned about, and you are very excited about this job for this very reason.
• Talk about your ability to realize your weaknesses
The best strategy to handle the ‘what is your weaknesses’ question is to quote some examples where you realized your weaknesses in the past and worked on them. This way, you can assure the interviewer that you have the ability to assess your weaknesses on your own and dealing with them in the right manner before they affect the work. Also mention if you have participated in any training session or taken a course to improve that specific skill.
• Discuss relatively fixable weaknesses
Lastly, if you think you are unable to come up with any appropriate answer to this question, just go with a minor weakness. It could be anything that may not sound like a big deal to the interviewer and can be fixed. Further clarify about this weakness by assuring the interviewing committee that you can improve it with time with motivation and hard work.
Eric Philip is a fervent blogger with extensive expertise in education, travel, health, lifestyle, career and technology based writing. He is at present an academic consultant for Dissertation Heaven an organization helping students to find ease and peace of mind with better results.