A job interview is your time to make a great impression, so being asked to describe your greatest weakness always feels like a curveball. Expect to discuss this topic, because as much as you hate it, interviewers can’t get enough of it.
If it feels like a trick question, that’s because it is. Interviewers don’t expect you to share anything too revealing, but the way you handle this question is telling. There are plenty of ways to package your weakness, so learn how to do it the right way.
Share a Real Weakness
There’s a common misconception that answering this question with a quality that isn’t a weakness — e.g., “I’m too much of a perfectionist” — is the best idea, but it’s not. Turning a negative into a positive is one of the oldest tricks in the interview playbook, and it’s outdated. The interviewer knows you’re not perfect, so if you try to pretend you are, they’ll assume you’re either dishonest or have zero self-awareness.
Do share something real, but don’t offer up a weakness that will put you out of the running for the job. Use common sense when deciding what kind of response is acceptable and what isn’t.
Choose Something Job-Related
You might think you can deflect by offering up a real weakness that has nothing to do with the job at hand, but that doesn’t work either. For example, if you claim your greatest weakness is public speaking, but it’s completely irrelevant to the job, this won’t help your case.
It’s best to choose a weakness that pertains to the position, but isn’t something required to do it. For example, if you’re a nurse, you might say you have trouble taking credit for patient success. This isn’t something that will inhibit your ability to shine in the job whatsoever, but it is relevant.
Maintain a Positive Tone
As noted above, trying to turn a weakness into a positive is a bad idea, but that doesn’t mean your response should have a pessimistic undertone. Avoid using negative words like “failed,” “terrible” and “ineffective,” because you don’t want to sound defensive or give the impression you’re a cynical person.
Instead, use positive words and phrases to describe your shortcoming. This shows the interviewer you’re an upbeat person who doesn’t let a weakness get you down.
Explain What You’re Doing to Improve
You don’t choose your weaknesses, but you do control how you manage them. Walk the interviewer through the steps you’ve taken to overcome your weakness and explain how you’re progressing. For example, if public speaking was your weakness, maybe you’ve started going to biweekly Toastmasters meetings, and now you’re starting to feel more confident speaking in front of a crowd.
Not only does working on your weakness mean it won’t be holding you back much longer, it also showcases your ability to persevere. If you take the initiative to voluntarily overcome this challenge, there’s no roadblock that will hold you back.
Navigating a job search is hard work, but you don’t have to go it alone. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you find your next behavioral health position, contact us today at (513) 651-9500 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.