There are a lot of things about this question that make applicants uncomfortable. For one, it seems like a trick question; should you answer sincerely or do the old turn-a-negative-into-a-positive routine? A lot of job seekers are hesitant to mention what they aren't good at for fear that one wrong answer could disqualify them.
The weakness question is still pretty popular among employers, so applicants must be prepared to answer it despite their hesitations. Here are three suggestions on how to successfully ace this difficult question:
- Be Truthful But Positive: Don't mistake this for trying to make you biggest weakness your biggest strength (i.e., "I'm too much of a perfectionist"). Be truthful about what you're not good at and outline the steps you are taking to improve.
- Ask Your References: If you're having a hard time thinking of an answer, check in with the people you are using as job references. They will have a more honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. This will also guarantee that employers will get the same answer when they ask the same question to them.
- Look to the Job Description: Make sure you truly understand the job for which you are applying. If you see that it requires skills that you aren't good at, don't apply. This is the best way to be confident you won't be revealing a weakness for a skill that is necessary for the job.