Job interviews are difficult. You are faced with a number of difficult interview questions that can put your chances of getting the job in jeopardy. Perhaps none is more famous than the “greatest weakness” question. Everyone knows you cannot truly give a greatest weakness. You don’t want to tell the interviewer that you tend to zone out at meetings or that you often show up late because you drink heavily.
So instead, many experts recommend answering the question with a positive phrased as a negative, with the most common answer being some variation of “I work too hard.”
You’re Not a Perfectionist
Perfectionism. That is the common answer for the greatest weakness interview question. “My greatest weakness is that I am a perfectionist – I cannot stop working until the job is perfect.” This sounds like a great answer.
This is a terrible answer.
Part of interviewing involves appearing real – showing your interviewer that your interview is not a lot of fluff, and that you are not simply regurgitating clichés. Being a perfectionist or working too hard – these have become clichés. If you supply this as your answer, the interviewer is going to roll their eyes and reluctantly move on, wondering if all of your answers are this rehearsed.
How to Answer the Greatest Weakness Question
You need to provide a weakness. The key is to provide a weakness that isn’t much of a weakness. That will give you a unique, respectable answer that is unlikely to affect your ability to do your job, then follow that answer up with what you are doing to ensure that weakness no longer occurs – like so:
“I tend to allow my desk to get cluttered, which can be a distraction when I need to find a specific document. I am working on organizing my desk better and utilizing the folders and organizational tools available to me, including digital documentation.”
Being disorganized is a weakness, but a cluttered desk is unlikely to lose you the job. In addition, you have followed that answer up with what you are doing to become better organized and make yourself look like a competent employee by mentioning the tools you use to do so.
When you answer your greatest weakness interview question, you need to not only avoid saying anything that will lose you the job – you need to also avoid lame, tired, cliché answers that make you appear fake and rehearsed. That is how you give an outstanding answer to this common difficult interview question.