One of the major concerns of most of the job seekers I work with is always centred around the best way to answer some common interview questions. And stand out!

This is what I always tell them; There is no “perfect” answer to such questions. The best you can do as a job seeker in an interview session where these generic questions are asked is first to make sure you understand what the question requires you to answer as well as interpret the question appropriately. The tips can only guide you on how to structure your answers.

Here’s the golden rule to acing the “weakness” question: BE HONEST!

This is not the popular advice you are used to, I’m sure; but as a careers person who’s been at both ends of the interview table, I urge you to take the honesty route on this one.

And yes, I’m aware that even though it seems axiomatic that honesty is always the best policy, honesty in practice can be difficult. Nonetheless, be honest!

Truth is, there is an increasing concern around the relevance of such questions as “What is your weakness?” especially on the basis that giving sincere answers will scarcely be the right answers.

The next time you question the correlation between the job you are aspiring for and your weakness, bear in mind that this question may be asked by the hiring manager to have a glimpse into your other side because no matter how well you try to present yourself in an interview, no human is perfect.

Matter of fact, one of our new trainees at Norwood Employability related a story of how he missed a job offer because he did not know how to answer the question: What is your weakness? He simply told the recruiter that he doesn’t have a weakness. Lol!

Well, therefore, I reiterate on your ability as a job seeker to understand and interpret the question in the context within which it is asked.

For instance, if you are asked in an interview session about your weakness(es), nobody expects “I am very lazy to a fault…or I am gluttonous…or I am very undependable!” (cheeky grin).

Hence, even though you are required to be honest and authentic, you must, however, endeavour to respond intelligently and as it relates directly or indirectly to the job!

Nowadays, what most articles tell you to do is use strength and make it sound like a weakness. But here’s the downside to this tip; not only will a seasoned recruiter see through the phoney impression you want to create, first to make you will also find it difficult to back up your answer with real and relatable examples of the scenarios where the weakness affected you and how you are working towards overcoming such weakness.

Being honest in your answer will make your thoughts coordinated and your response flowing freely. Your sincerity about your weakness as it relates to the job further shows you are real and reliable, and any great hiring manager will easily note how you would be helped in that regard if need be. An honest answer helps build trust that you will be sincere in other areas of work as well.

To be properly guided on how to answer the “weakness” question in the most authentic way possible, here are a few pointers:

  • As stated earlier, let your answer be centred around the job in view. This may be directly or indirectly. This is to say that you do not start talking about issues that are very personal to you and may threaten your chances of landing the job.
  • ☦ Although you are advised not to lie about your weakness, you have to present it in such a way that you do not appear a threat to the growth of the organiSation nor does your weakness become a barrier to your ability to performing tasks efficiently.
  • ☦ To sum up, endeavour always to make the critical connection of your weakness to the job especially on how you plan to manage it better while in the job or better still how the weakness can be harnessed to help you in the job.

Round it off with a credible example that portrays you like learning, growing and becoming a better version of yourself! So, don’t stress too much about giving the most strategic answer, or having a perfect weakness, Instead, focus on the messages you’re trying to communicate to the hiring manager that you are the best fit for the job! You can achieve this by being smart, being diplomatic and most importantly, being yourself!

See you at the top!

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