Interview question of the week: what is your greatest weakness?

Questions like this one can make or break an interview. Learning to answer questions that ask you to be negative about yourself is a must!

You can ignore your weaknesses, or you can work on them. Photo by Delaney Van on Unsplash

Today, I’d like to share the technique for answering questions that try to either get you to incriminate yourself or to share your personal defects. Not to worry, though – while most of us don’t enjoy speaking negatively about ourselves, there is a way to turn questions like this to your advantage.

Your goal with these types of questions is two-fold: First, avoid any red flags. Second, show how you have turned your weakness into a strength.

Red flags

Lying – Don’t do it. Don’t make up a BS weakness. Saying something like “My greatest weakness is that I’m a perfectionist” just lets your interviewer know that you’re not willing to answer honestly.

Being brutally honest – Being honest is good, but an interview is not the time for brutal honesty. Saying something like “I sometimes have bouts of crippling depression during which time I’ll need to take time off” is not necessarily something you want to share here.

No answer – You should not be unable to answer this (or any other non-technical) interview question. But you already know that, which is why you’re reading this blog!

Turning your weakness to a strength

We all have weaknesses. It’s just a fact of life. Some of us deny our weaknesses, and some of us acknowledge them and seek to overcome them. Which kind of person do you want to be? The second kind, of course!

I’ll share one of my weaknesses as an example.

I don’t learn as quickly as I used to. That’s just a cold, hard fact. However, I make up for that by making sure to dedicate a lot of time to learning. When I received my first review at my current workplace, it was highlighted as a positive that I had been observed printing out documentation, underlining it, and studying it. (I know – who still prints things out, right?)

In other words, my weakness was pointed out as a positive. (Mind blown!)

Your weaknesses don’t have to hamper you forever, and they don’t have to cost you career opportunities. Give some thought to what your weaknesses are and how you can turn them to advantages. Then, go out there and ace that interview!

With each post, I cover a new topic to help you get your start (or keep progressing) in your IT career. If it’s your first time visiting this blog, start here. And make sure to check out these top interview questions before you start interviewing!