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Vital Job Hunting Tips – #1 “What is Your Biggest Weakness?”

Since there are so many people looking right now, I’ve decided to start offering job hunting tips. Today’s blog is the first in what will be a periodic series. Subscribe to the blog to get the rest!

Employers often ask job candidates to cite a weakness, a shortcoming, or an area that needs improvement. Most interview books advise creating an artificial weakness, such as “I’ve been accused of being a workaholic”, or, “I can sometimes be too driven to succeed.” Those aren’t really weaknesses, and giving that kind of pat, prepared answer can seem a bit insincere.

I recommend finding a true weakness or shortcoming from your past, that you have worked to partly or completely overcome. Then describe what you discovered about yourself, what actions you took, and what the outcome has been. Here’s an example:

“I was told in a review that I could be stronger with my team in driving them toward results, so I took a closer look at what was preventing me from doing that, and found that I had some concern about being too much of a taskmaster. I then discovered that helping my people understand how their individual goals tied into the organization both empowered and encouraged them, and made them more productive. It was a paradigm shift for me that helped me to be better at getting results.”

This comes across as self-awareness, self-revelation, sound personal insight, growth, etc., and these will be perceived by the interviewer as strengths, even though you have discussed a genuine weakness.