How to Answer the Toughest Interview Questions

by Nathan Newberger

Has this ever happened to you?... During a job interview, you are asked: “Tell me about your greatest weakness?

Keep in mind that by asking this question, the interviewer is trying to determine if you engage in self-analysis and how you handle difficult questions.

These 5 quick tips will help you to successfully navigate this interview hurdle on your way to landing your ideal job.

Tip #1 - mention the downside of a skill
This strategy is successful because you actually answer the weakness question by showcasing a skill. For example, "I am very committed to customer service. Sometimes this leads to my spending quite a bit of time with customers. At times this causes me to lag in other areas."

Tip #2 - share a weakness that you’re trying to overcome
This tactic is successful because it shows that you are committed to self-improvement. For example, “I am not really comfortable presenting before an audience. I have joined a public speaking group in order to overcome some of my nervousness.” Another example is, "I currently only speak English. I recognize that the world is getting smaller and I am studying Spanish to be better prepared for the future."

Tip #3 - use a weakness that’s not related to the job
While it is usually preferable to answer with the downside of a skill or a weakness you are working on, sometimes, the best tactic might be to use a weakness that is unrelated to the job. This way you can honestly answer the question while not casting doubt on your ability to fulfi ll the job requirements. Examples include, "I am a terrible cook" or "I cannot dance." This strategy is useful if you are trying to inject a quick/humorous story into the interview regarding some mishap related to the weakness.

Tip #4 - do not pretend to be perfect
It is never a good idea to answer this question by saying you have no weaknesses. Everyone has weaknesses. By declaring that you have none, you will appear arrogant.

Tip #5 - don’t give a canned or obvious answer
This will make you will seem phony and insincere at worst and unimaginative at best. An example of a very over-used answer is, "I am a perfectionist." The interviewer is sure to inwardly roll his/her eyes and subtract points for originality. When talking about your weaknesses, clearly express what you are doing to overcome the weakness and that you are confi dent your efforts will be successful.

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