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What Is Your Greatest Weakness?

Updated on September 9, 2014

The Dreaded Interview Question - What Is Your Greatest Weakness?

In preparing for your next interview you need to think about the possible interview questions.

That includes thinking about the question that everyone always dreads - which I am sure you will know is "So tell me What Is Your Greatest Weakness?

If only the interviewer would ask about our greatest strengths! We could reel those off without a second thought! But our greatest weakness?

Going for a job interview is already stressful enough without the interviewer asking point blank, "What's your greatest weakness?"

There is no easy way out - but understand that the very nature of this question is designed to catch you off-guard. Don't fall for it.

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Your Favorite "Greatest Weakness"

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Did you know it takes an average of 17 job interviews to land 1 job OFFER?

So How Do We Answer That Toughest of Interview Questions - What Is Your Greatest Weakness?

The interviewer sits there and lands the question firmly in your lap. Then they sit patiently waiting, their pen poised over their notebook waiting to take down your words of wisdom or to explore your answer further.

So how do we set about answering that tough interview question of "What Is Your Greatest Weakness?"

Go In Prepared

Preparation is the key to successful job interviewing. Know as much about the company, their products and their people as you can before the interview begins. That way, your interviewer will have fewer chances to make you uneasy during the interview process.

They will probe you with various questions to find out what your weaknesses are. Do not try to bluff your way out of difficult questions. It will only give the impression that you will resort to cheating when you are put under pressure.

Answer Straight And To The Point

Some interviewers still like to ask the question "What's your greatest weakness?" during an interview. You can answer this question by either stating a weakness that you encountered during your previous job and how you overcame it, or you could reveal a weakness not at all related to the job profile.

Don't say that you do not have any weaknesses, because after all, you are human. This is the quickest way to torpedo your chances. Rather, you should use the approach of converting your weakness into a strength. You will sound confident and resourceful if you are able to recognize your own weaknesses and find strategies to overcome them.

Being prepared for this question before each interview is the key to succeeding. Try to turn negatives into positives. You will impress your interviewer with your adaptability if you handle this question well.

© 2009 pkmcr

Have You Been Asked What is Your Greatest Weakness at Interview? - Or Is There Another Challenging Question You Have Been Asked?

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    • Digory LM profile image

      Digory LM 4 years ago

      I haven't been interviewed in 15 years so I can't even remember. But it is worth thinking about.

    • profile image

      webscan 5 years ago

      I've been interviewed but never been asked this question.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Yes, I've been hit with that question. If I rehearse ahead of time, I can smoothly explain what that weakness was and how I now overcome it. It's important to choose a weakness that might even be an advantage or that won't affect their work situation.

    • profile image

      totalbountyweb 5 years ago

      Being a Perfectionist is the most challenging weakness to deal with in an interview inasmuch as my experience is concerned. Aren't we all?

    • JoyfulReviewer profile image

      JoyfulReviewer 5 years ago

      I was never asked this question, but I have been asked the challenging question "Why should we hire you?". You've provided some very helpful information here. ~~Blessed~~

    • OrganicMom247 profile image

      OrganicMom247 5 years ago

      Most people found this question difficult.

    • profile image

      gradientcat 5 years ago

      I haven't been asked this recently. A similar question was what I do not enjoy doing in a job.

    • profile image

      hamshi5433 5 years ago

      I haven't been asked that question but i always ended asking one to the interviewer which shows them my weakness. "So will I get this job?" LOL...I always asked that question in the end without thinking and it always made me look weaker in front of them. I have an interview next week and another one 3 weeks later and I hope to god that I don't end up asking them such questions. Seriously can't believe myself sometimes. Really like your advice on handling this matter.

    • profile image

      KKBOOKSTORE 5 years ago

      i haven't been asked that before

    • Gayle Mclaughlin profile image

      Gayle 5 years ago from McLaughlin

      I do mock interviews for a local high school--that is one question that I have to ask. Don't know if I think it is relevant anymore!

    • MarkHansen profile image

      MarkHansen 5 years ago

      Sure, the always ask this question!

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 5 years ago

      Never been asked that one before. I'm glad I don't have to respond to that one.

    • profile image

      Mydewdrops 5 years ago

      I agree... presenting the weakness in a way, such that it turns out to be a strength is a sure shot way to win the interviewer... I think the best answer is... I am hard worker but i sincerely believe that smart work is what is needed these day...

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image

      Diana Grant 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      "My weakness is working too hard - I'm a workaholic" - employers love that - you can almost see the cash registers light up in their eyes.

      And, "I'm too generous with my praise - I keep giving out Angel Blessings (like these for you!"

    • hsschulte profile image

      hsschulte 5 years ago

      I recall telling one of my mentors that I'd been asked this in an interview. She said, "Just tell them your weakness is that you try too hard to be perfect." =) Now, that usually rolls out of my mouth in an interview. Not sure it's accurate, but it gets me past the question without embarrassing myself.

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 5 years ago from Templeton, CA

      I don't expect to have to do anymore job interviews in my life. I'm of retirement age and work only for myself now. I hope it stays that way.

    • marigoldina profile image

      Heather B 5 years ago

      Good advice. I have a number of weaknesses - can they all be turned into strengths I wonder? :)

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      I try to explain the concept of converting a weakness into a strength to our students at school. Either I don't explain it well or it is a hard concept to understand. I never feel like I am getting through when I try to explain this, but it is a very important interview skill. I would love to read more details about it. Perhaps I would get some ideas that would help my students.

    • TheBaseballCoach profile image

      TheBaseballCoach 5 years ago

      I hated to conduct interviews back when I was working. I'm not sure that I ever learned much from the interview. Maybe I just asked bad questions.

    • profile image

      Joan4 5 years ago

      When I was new on a job, I was always over-concerned about doing everything absolutely right. It's important, I think, to realize it takes a good year to be effective in any job. First year is always training time!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great advice here Paul. The last time I was asked this question, I said sometimes I am too much of a perfecvtionist :)

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 6 years ago

      In only my humble opinion, my greatest weaksness is my family, as I would go to great lengths to make them happy.

    • JK Sterling profile image

      Jim Sterling 6 years ago from Franklin, Tennessee

      Our greatest strength usually is our greatest weakness. For instance self starters usually don't like to be told what to do. Greta lens, thank you.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 6 years ago

      Love the graphics and another great subject here,

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Hard to answer this...my husband might see it...good preparation for an interview. Thank goodness I never had that question posed to me in an interview.

    • profile image

      Neurophilia 6 years ago

      Thank you this will come in handy in my upcoming job interview:)

    • profile image

      Neurophilia 6 years ago

      Thank you this will come in handy in my upcoming job interview:)

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 6 years ago from Canada

      Job interviews can indeed be tough and many people do not realize that you should practice in advance of the interview. Preparing for a job interview is much like preparing for an exam - you want to pass. Being over prepared is so very much better than the opposite.

    • bhthanks profile image

      bhthanks 6 years ago

      hi and thank you for the tips

    • ellagis profile image

      ellagis 6 years ago

      G-g-g-great lens, oh yeah, at least I think so, well....

      Is it clear that my weakness point is that when I get nervous I start talking like Woody Allen - with less sense of humor?

    • TheLadders LM profile image

      TheLadders LM 6 years ago

      Great point! Always a tough question. It's important to make a negative question a positive one.

    • worldrevival profile image

      worldrevival 6 years ago

      good answer to a tough question

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 6 years ago

      Great tips, everyone should read this lens before going to a job interview!

    • profile image

      Performancecars 6 years ago

      Great Lens hate that question

    • profile image

      successwithpaul 6 years ago

      same with me these are helpful for those nervous people

    • profile image

      MelRyan 6 years ago

      @JeremiahStanghini: I think it's the questions "what is your greatest weakness" that is overplayed -- not the answers!

    • SarahGh LM profile image

      SarahGh LM 6 years ago

      These are interesting tips!

      I wish I saw this before the went to my 25+ interviews I did before I landed my current position! I had to learn how to deal with interview stress the hard way!

      Thanks

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Wonderful tips and a great lens.

    • profile image

      uniquenewgifts 6 years ago

      I care to much to the others this is my great weakness

    • profile image

      promotional-coupons-codes 6 years ago

      Nice lens I would recommend this lens to everyone who is afraid of this question in an interview.

    • pkmcruk profile image
      Author

      pkmcr 6 years ago from Cheshire UK

      @JeremiahStanghini: As someone who interviews people fairly often I haven't detected that :-) What folks need to do is to have thought about the answer beforehand and not make it sound over-rehearsed.

    • JeremiahStanghini profile image

      JeremiahStanghini 6 years ago

      I've been reading that 'turning your weakness into a strength' is kind of an "overplayed" answer and that interviewers would rather the interviewee just be honest.

      With Love and Gratitude,

      Jeremiah

    • hayleylou lm profile image

      hayleylou lm 6 years ago

      Good solid tip here :)

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Very good information to have when going into an interview.

    • profile image

      poutine 6 years ago

      Phew....thanks God I was never asked that question on an interview, because my greatest weakness is PROCRASTINATION. That wouldn't look too good.....

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 6 years ago

      Yes, this is a good thing to know, for our own self-awareness, and especially for interviews! You've given good advice and pointed to excellent resources. Lensrolled to Discover your Strengths.

    • beerhead profile image

      beerhead 6 years ago

      I've never been asked that question thankfully. Thanks for the heads up.

    • Addy Bell profile image

      Addy Bell 6 years ago

      I've been stumped by this question more than once. Relating a story of when you turned a weakness into a strength is a great way to handle the situation.

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      RuthCoffee 6 years ago

      This is a question that stumped me during interviews early in my career. This is valuable information for anyone seeking a job.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 6 years ago

      Some strong advice and ways to get through an interview, Featured this on How to Get a Job or Make Money Elsewhere

    • brittanyshaf profile image

      brittanyshaf 6 years ago

      i've always wondered how to answer this question on interviews haha. thanks! blessings

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 6 years ago

      That is one standard question that each of us must individually create an answer for - be sure it is something that you have overcome and tell them how you turned a negative into a positive.

    • Paul Ward profile image

      Paul 6 years ago from Liverpool, England

      Great info. Many years ago I was handed a printed sheet and a pencil at the end of an interview and asked to fill iti in. Amongst the questions were "what is your greatest strength?" followed by "what is your greatest weakness?". I answered "I don't suffer fools gladly" to both and they offered me the job!

    • pkmcruk profile image
      Author

      pkmcr 7 years ago from Cheshire UK

      @RebeccaE: Thank you that's very kind of you and very much appreciated

    • profile image

      RebeccaE 7 years ago

      I was asked that, and I answred that I tend to over talk with customers, but I see it as a bit of both strength and weakness... i don't know if it helped but I did get the job. Perhaps it was because it was a positive spin on a weakenss.

    • pkmcruk profile image
      Author

      pkmcr 7 years ago from Cheshire UK

      @TriviaChamp: Thank you that's very kind of you and very much appreciated

    • TriviaChamp profile image

      TriviaChamp 7 years ago

      Some great advice.

    • pkmcruk profile image
      Author

      pkmcr 7 years ago from Cheshire UK

      @anonymous: Thanks for sharing your experience Deb which I really appreciate

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I used to be a Human Resource Specialist, so I've been able to see many people squirm :) Actually, people in that capacity DO make allowances for nervousness. What I always watched for was How and How Long it took them to recover.

    • pkmcruk profile image
      Author

      pkmcr 7 years ago from Cheshire UK

      @eclecticeducati1: Thank you that's very kind of you and very much appreciated

    • eclecticeducati1 profile image

      eclecticeducati1 7 years ago

      I always hated that question in interviews!!! Very good advice and very timely in today economy. Blessed by an Angel.

    • pkmcruk profile image
      Author

      pkmcr 7 years ago from Cheshire UK

      @makingamark: Thank you that's very kind

    • makingamark profile image

      Katherine Tyrrell 7 years ago from London

      Love the graphics

    • pkmcruk profile image
      Author

      pkmcr 7 years ago from Cheshire UK

      @imolaK: Thank you that's very kind of you

    • imolaK profile image

      imolaK 7 years ago

      These advices are really helpful when someone have a job interview.

    • pkmcruk profile image
      Author

      pkmcr 7 years ago from Cheshire UK

      @anonymous: Thanks Susie and glad you found it of interest and thanks for sharing that insight

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I'm too nice to a fault, but I keep on being nice anyway. People seem to like that best anyway.

      I need to stop believing the best of everyone, until they show their true colors and I find what it is I should believe. ~ Good question Paul!

      Susie

    • pkmcruk profile image
      Author

      pkmcr 7 years ago from Cheshire UK

      @NC Shepherd: Oh dear! I appreciate you dropping by and taking the time

    • profile image

      NC Shepherd 7 years ago

      I hate job interviews! I always try to prepare for different questions, and then promptly forget my planned answers.

    • spunkyduckling profile image

      spunkyduckling 8 years ago

      Informative lens and some very practical tips. Love the part about converting a weakness into strength. It's something I always practice. All the tips are great. Hey one in every three interviews I go I get job. Yay!!! Better than the average? hmm...

    • pkmcruk profile image
      Author

      pkmcr 8 years ago from Cheshire UK

      [in reply to aj2008] Thank you that's very kind of you

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      It's amazing how many people don't actually research the Company they are being interviewed by, but that is not one of my weaknesses! Useful tips and advice here Paul.

    • pkmcruk profile image
      Author

      pkmcr 8 years ago from Cheshire UK

      [in reply to schraderj23] Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment and share your experience - much appreciated

    • schraderj23 profile image

      schraderj23 8 years ago

      fortunately I have only had to go through one job interview and that question did not come up. This is certainly a question you want to be ready to answer. Nice lens, and a great heads up for job-seekers.

    • pkmcruk profile image
      Author

      pkmcr 8 years ago from Cheshire UK

      [in reply to Niche4you] Thanks for calling by and for taking the time to comment which is much appreciated

    • Niche4you profile image

      Niche4you 8 years ago

      Hi,

      Nice lens with good info, i have intervied many people over time and i do ask this question sometimes, i look for an honest answer, not to bothered what the perceived weakness is.

      The answer is the important part as far as i am concerned when interviewing.

      Good luck to all the job hunters.

      Thanks

    • pkmcruk profile image
      Author

      pkmcr 8 years ago from Cheshire UK

      [in reply to sandyspider] Thanks Sandy and good luck with the Job Search - it will happen!

      Take care

      Paul

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      I have been out of work for over a year. I always hate the job interview. Nice lens.

    • pkmcruk profile image
      Author

      pkmcr 8 years ago from Cheshire UK

      [in reply to QueSea] Thanks Kirt that sounds like a really good response and thanks for taking the time to comment - really is appreciated

      Take care

      Paul

    • profile image

      QueSea 8 years ago

      I'd say, "I love my work enough that I sometimes take on too much. When that happens, I ask for extensions, delegate more, revise the project, or even ask for help? Ever been in a situation like that?"

    • pkmcruk profile image
      Author

      pkmcr 8 years ago from Cheshire UK

      [in reply to BizLifeCoachKD] Thanks Liz great advice and I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts

      Take care

      Paul

    • profile image

      BizLifeCoachKD 8 years ago

      The key is to select something that could go either way - for instance, my weakness is that I tend to be a perfectionist. Now that's not really a weakness unless it gets in the way of completion. So I say that I tend to be a perfectionist, but that I've learned how to recognize when something is "good enough" or when additional time does not provide a reasonable return on its investment.

      Everyone has weaknesses, and trying to be glib or pretend that isn't so does not endear you to the interviewers. So just make sure you select something that could be perceived as a strength in the right circumstances, and make sure you let the interviewer know what you have done to overcome it as a weakness, or what you are doing right now to turn it into an advantage.

      And don't be like my dad who always said, "I used to think I was perfect. Then one day I found out I wasn't. I actually thought I'd made a mistake but then I discovered I hadn't after all."

    • pkmcruk profile image
      Author

      pkmcr 8 years ago from Cheshire UK

      [in reply to JaguarJulie] Thanks Julie that made me smile and I can definitely empathise with that answer!

      Take care

      Paul

    • pkmcruk profile image
      Author

      pkmcr 8 years ago from Cheshire UK

      [in reply to Ramkitten] Thanks for sharing your experience and for commenting which is really appreciated.

      Take care

      Paul

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      Interviewer, "What is your greatest weakness?" Answer, "That I am even asked that question?" ... Gosh, I might really answer "too many ideas, not enough time." Rather like a positive in overload. You know I think interviewers think that have to ask that question!

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 8 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Oh, yes, I remember being asked this question many times during interviews. The key is to be honest but also turn it into a positive. As you say, talk about how you overcame it or used it to your advantage. Like ... I don't know ... someone might say that being overly sensitive is a weakness, but, at the same time, it makes them more sensitive to other people's feelings, which is a positive.