For some people, having an interviewer ask them to describe their biggest weakness is their least-favorite part of the interview. Recruiters tend to ask the question to determine the candidate's self-awareness as well as whether he would potentially be a good fit for the position. You should prepare for the question ahead of time, tailor your answer to the position for which you are applying and offer your plan to eliminate your weakness.
Patience is a desirable quality for a kindergarten teacher, so you may not want to admit to lacking the quality if you are applying for that position. However, if you are hoping to secure a job as a logistics supervisor, you may be able to couch it in terms that make it a desirable attribute. For example, you may explain that you tend to be impatient with coworkers who do not take their jobs seriously and miss deadlines due to their procrastination. You may also explain that you have been taking management courses to help you learn to motivate team members more effectively.
Difficulty Speaking to Large Groups
If the position involves presenting seminars, this weakness would be problematic. On the other hand, it is not a weakness that would be particularly detrimental to most occupations. It is also a weakness to which the interviewer may relate. Mention that you are actively pursuing a public-speaking class to help you overcome your weakness.
Written Communication Skills
Although this is a poor answer if the position involves writing press releases, numerous reports or policy manuals, it may be a good answer for a technical position. Explain that you feel it takes you too long to compose a letter, for example, because you want to make sure you cover all of the points thoroughly. For a job in which attention to detail is critical, this weakness could be perceived as a desirable strength. Explain that you recently completed a course in business communications that you feel will prove valuable.
What Not to Say
Do not offer weaknesses that will endanger your chance of receiving a job offer. Never tell an interviewer that your greatest weakness is that you are habitually late, addicted to online gambling or have an anger-control issue. Avoid overused answers, such as telling the interviewer that you are a perfectionist or a workaholic. Do not respond that you have no weaknesses; the interviewer will know that is not true. Similarly, responding that you cannot think of a weakness suggests that you have not adequately prepared for the interview.
- Graduating Engineer and Computer Careers: Interviews -- What's Your Greatest Weakness?
- FabJob.com: Should You Tell Interviewers Your Biggest Weakness?
- CNN Money: "What's Your Greatest Weakness?" Three Smart Replies
- The Sydney Morning Herald: Trick Question -- What's Your Biggest Weakness?
- Work Coach Café: How Not to Handle the Biggest Weakness Question
- Monster.com: What Are Your Greatest Strengths and Weaknesses?