Job Interview Tip: What’s Your Greatest Weakness?

Job interviews are stressful as hell. Am I speaking too fast??? Why am I so nervous in front of this interviewer??? Am I articulating my points well?? Am I saying “ummmm” too much?? The worst part is that we are often pressed with the most intimidating question: What is your greatest weakness?

At first, we always pick a positive flaw: I work too hard, I’m a perfectionist. Sure it sounds great on paper, but employers don’t like that answer because they know you’re bluffing. Everyone has flaws (for me: I can be overcritical, indecisive, I have no filter). The difference is: are you a person who actively works on your flaws or do you just ignore them?

Employers want someone who's aware of their weakness and have strategies to resolve them. Because if you are aware of your weakness and know how to resolve it, that means you’re human. 

Anyway, how do we answer this question? 

  1. Pick a flaw
  2. State why it’s been an issue in the past 
  3. State strategies to resolve the flaw
  4. Recent work 
  5. How it may occur in the workplace and how you will resolve it  

Here are some of my personal examples for how to answer this question:

  1. Indecisive Person 
  2. I have lost so much time and energy overthinking my decisions. For example, I once missed a deadline for a job because I did not know if I wanted to work in the summer or take summer school. I regret not finalizing my decision earlier, as I wanted to develop professionally as a person. 
  3. I used the pro and cons technique: I prioritize each pro and con, pick the decision with the least consequences or the one where its benefits outweigh its costs. It’s also important to give yourself confidence because mistakes and risk-taking are essential to your growth (whether professional or personal), as you will make them. If you never believe in yourself, you will never grow up. 
  4. For example, during grade 12, I utilized this decision-making approach when selecting which university I wanted to go to. On the “pros” side for each university/program, I ranked which advantage was the most important. For instance, when listing the advantages of a program, I prioritized co-op over the social atmosphere. Thus, I decided to go to Waterloo, despite the school having a lower social environment compared to other schools such as Western or Queens, because I wanted to go into a co-op program.  
  5. In the workforce, I will utilize a pro/con list and ask my co-workers or supervisors for input.
  1. Bad With Names
  2. I always forget people’s names or can't catch their names. 
  3. I’ve forgotten my co-workers names which impacted our relationships, as it made me seem inconsiderate.
  4. When I meet someone, I ask them for a fun fact, or even possibly the reasoning behind their name as I find that makes it easier for me to remember them.
  5. At my last workplace, I decided to play 2 truths and a lie with my co-workers during our break. Learning an interesting fact about them made it easier for me to remember their names.

Side Note: When answering this question, the weakness doesn’t need to be serious. It can be mild like the one above. 

  1. I’m too good looking
  2. I’ve distracted people in the past due to my dashing good looks.
  3. Nowadays, I wear a garbage/paper bag on top of my head so people aren’t distracted.
  4. When I implemented this strategy at my last job, I increased productivity by 150%.
  5. If you hire me, I will wear a ski mask to work every day. 

Remember, employers want humans, not robots, to work for them.