The 3 Best Ways to Answer, “What’s Your Greatest Weakness?”

By Chelsea Babin

Most people have heard, “What’s your greatest weakness?” The stereotypical way to answer this age-old interview question is to go with something like, “I work too hard” or, “I’m a perfectionist.” But are those answers really the best response? No! Instead, try one of the following three responses. They’re the best way to answer this confounding interview question!

1. Irrelevant to the Job: Maybe you’re terrible at automobile repair or you can’t resist a great donut. The weaknesses you list don’t have to be directly relevant to the job you’re interviewing for! Use this question to provide a little levity and let the employer know that, while you may not be a jack-of-all-trades in every area of life, you’ve really specialized your knowledge and focused on developing skills that are relevant to your career.

2. Learning Opportunity: Maybe there is a skill or technology you use that you’d like to improve upon. Whether it’s new to you or you feel you’re getting a little rusty because your current job doesn’t require you to flex those particular muscles, mentioning this could be a great way to answer this question. As long as you frame it as something you’re currently trying to correct and get better at, this answer really works!

3. Never Backing Down from a Challenge: While this may seem like an answer where you’re really disguising a strength as a weakness, you can frame the inability to back down from a challenge or step away from a complex problem as a weakness. If you’re fascinated by problem solving and sometimes dive too deep in an effort to really understand them and find the best solution, this answer could be perfect for you. It will show that you’re dedicated and dogged in your problem solving approach but that you also know there are times when the inability to back down from a challenging piece of work could suck up too much of your other time. This is a common weakness for technologists and is rarely frowned upon, unless you take it to extremes, which is why this would be a great answer.

Focusing on your weaknesses in an interview seems counterintuitive. Don’t let this common interview question throw you off! Try out one of the three best ways to answer, “What’s your greatest weakness?” Chances are, it will help your interview continue to run smoothly and you’ll make a great impression.

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