How to answer: What is your biggest weakness?

The dreaded question! Never say: “I don’t have any weaknesses” – EVERYONE has a weakness, so do not try and avoid this question.

Another common route to go down is to try and use strength as a weakness. Again, this is not a good strategy to take. It can make employers question if you are able to accept your mistakes, and are willing to grow and develop. So avoid answers such as; “Some people say I work too hard” or “I am a perfectionist”.

The best thing to do here is show your optimism. Turn the negative into a positive and show your problem solving skills. Be honest and confess your weakness, however before doing so, make sure you have analysed the job description and your ‘weakness’ you are about to admit is not on the list of attributes they are looking for!

Whatever the weakness, it is crucial you prepare a recovery! This is an opportunity to show how you manage problems, your ability to over-come issues, and demonstrate you have the initiative to develop yourself.

An example of this could be: “I feel behind with all the new platforms in social media”. Your recovery for this could be; I recently attended a conference to learn about the new channels and which are most effective. In reflection I now understand how you can utilise them in the ‘property’ market. You could even take it one step further and give an example of how you would demonstrate your new skills within the employers business.

Another example could be; “I have a fear of public speaking, in school I couldn’t even read from the text book to the class. I realised this was a big problem for my future success within the business world. I took a drama class to challenge myself, build my confidence and learn about body language. I recently presented a strategy to my team in my current role, I admit I was still nervous, but the feedback was great and I was even asked to present my ideas to the wider company.”

So don’t be scared of this question, be prepared. It’s an opportunity to boast about a skill they may not have asked.

Katrina Whitehead, Marketing & Operations Executive, Foundation Recruitment 

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