Interviews tend to be relatively formulaic, and one thing we can count on is hearing the what is your biggest weakness question. "I don't know," isn't a sufficient answer — same goes for, "I don't have any weaknesses." The majority of you may have declared your hatred for the question, but that doesn't preclude you from having to come up with a passable answer.
Yahoo asked its Recruiter Roundtable for tips on how to answer the precarious question and make the interviewer feel like it's a genuine response. See the highlights from the recruiters' answers when you
- "Tell hiring managers what you are working on improving and what you've done to build your skills in these areas. One thing to keep in mind: If one of your weaknesses is directly related to the position and could potentially take you out of the running, the opportunity may not be right for you."
- "Match the job duties with your strengths. What is a strength you have that someone may consider as a weakness? For example, if you applied to a very detail-oriented job, and say your weakness is you are a perfectionist. The hiring manager needs someone that pays close attention to the little things."
- Will your answer match your references? It is a way for employers to assess the candidate's awareness of his or her own strengths and weaknesses.
- "Be honest and focus on a weakness that is not one of the top three qualities required for the job. Also, be sure to describe how you've already taken steps and made strides in strengthening this skill, showing your ability and desire to constantly learn and grow."