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How NOT to Answer the 'Greatest Weakness' Interview Question

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by Rachel Fisher

over 1 year ago

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Although being organised is a good thing, when you are asked in interviews about your areas for improvement, it is important to be candid and tactful with a plan for improvement. And by being tactful, I mean if an interviewer asks you, 'Is there anything you would like to improve upon?' it is critical that you answer with either a personal improvement or a work-based development plan. 

For example, last week I was sitting in an interview with a fantastic candidate. She walked me through her employment history, highlighting her responsibilities, and told me the ins and outs of the company she worked with, easily. I was shocked, though, when I asked her about any areas she could develop. She stuttered and stumbled through this question before coming to the conclusion that the only thing she could work on was her amazing ability to be organised! It's great this candidate felt she was organised; however, this is not a genuine improvement, and she left me feeling as though she had completely dodged the question. 

Therefore, my advice for answering the 'weakness' questions in interviews is not only to answer with transparency, but also to back up your weakness with how you are trying to improve it. Personally, I have always used public speaking as an area for improvement. It makes me nervous, and it is not something I would approach with utter confidence. 

Therefore, I used to attend a public speaking class each fortnight with my friend to improve my confidence for both my personal and professional life. Another example may be that you are working on your capabilities within a specific program and brushing up on your skills by watching e-tutorials in your spare time. So if you take one thing from this post, remember the discussion of weaknesses or areas for improvement in interviews is common and therefore should never be approached without a clear goal for improvement.

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