A career expert and LinkedIn specialist has revealed the best way to answer the question ‘what are your biggest weaknesses?’ in a job interview.
Australia based Sue Ellson, told the Daily Mail this is often a ‘trick question’ and job seekers usually provide a ‘reverse positive answer’.
To answer the question well, Sue recommended self-analysing past career experiences and giving examples of how specific skills had been improved.
‘People don’t mind if you have a weakness, they just need to know that you are willing to adapt, learn and improve over time,’ she said.
How should you answer this tough question?
While this question is more difficult to answer than others, Sue said it’s important to consider a thorough response.
‘I believe you need to look at your career to date and think about what other people have noticed,’ she said.
‘If you know you have a weakness in a particular area, you can describe it and what you are doing about it.’
For instance, job seekers could express how they were encouraged to attend certain courses and explain the practical skills gained or improved.
Any answer given should also be followed with an example.
Some options for self-improvement could include training, mentoring, peer support and online courses focused on a particular area or specialisation.
What should you never say?
Sue said to avoid criticising other people’s behaviour when answering this question and focus on your own performance and skills.
‘”Soft skills” and emotional intelligence are highly valued across all sectors and your ability to both work on your own or as part of a team either in person or remotely is essential and can lead to career success,’ she said.
It would also be wise to choose a weakness that is not directly related to the job available to increase your chances of being chosen for the position.
Why is interview practice important?
Sue said recruiters ask these tough questions because it’s been asked for many years and ‘people know to expect it’ so practising before each interview is essential.
‘Interview practice is important because it helps you be less attached to the outcome. Every time you get an interview, you are closer to getting a job and you will learn something new about yourself,’ she said.
‘Don’t beat yourself up about the answer to any individual question because quite often, people make a decision very early on in the interview regardless of how you perform in the rest of the interview.’