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Another Tricky Interview Question...

The Hiring Process Interviewing Strategies


At my last interview, they asked me what people criticize about me. I was stumped. I’m not perfect, but my friends rarely say mean things to my face. What should I have said?


This interview question is a variation on the theme of “What is your greatest weakness?”

The question isn’t as mean as it seems. They are checking for self-awareness. Of course you aren’t perfect; nobody is. Even the interviewer isn’t perfect, and should not expect that of you.

But are you aware of some areas that need improvement? And if so, what are you doing about it?

Are you working on a bad habit, or improving an existing one? Are you taking a course to develop a new skill? Are you reading up on a topic that will be useful in the new job (assuming you get it)? Are you experimenting with LinkedIn or Instagram? Enhancing your personal brand? Taking up a relevant hobby? Learning a foreign language?

If not, now is the time to start. Give some thought to your goals. What would be worth the effort to improve? Ask people who know you well what you could improve on (maybe framing as an interview question you struggled with.)

You could also try out 360 Reach (; it will survey several people you identify, who can anonymously comment on you.

However you handle this question in an actual interview, don’t stop with a fault. Tell what you’re doing to improve the situation. Be humble and honest, but not overly humble.

About the Author

Beth Davis-Reinhold

Beth Davis-Reinhold is an instructor at Frederick County Workforce Services, where she has worked for over 20 years. She teaches job search seminars and basic computer skills. She is a Certified Professional Resume Writer, and is Internet and Computing Core Certified (IC3). Beth has been a member of Toastmasters International for more than 15 years, and is an Advanced Communicator Silver. A graduate of Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, Beth has also studied American Sign Language for many years. In addition to many sundry projects for FCWS, Beth writes its “Ask the Career Coach” blog.