The Hiring Process
On my last interview, the employer asked what was my greatest weakness. I said it was that I'm not a morning person, and have trouble getting anywhere by 8 am. I didn't get the job, and I suspect this is why. I know I must always be honest in interviews, and the morning thing really is my greatest weakness. What could I have (honestly) answered to that question?
This is truly aÂ challenging question, yet you very often hear it. So you want to be sure to have a good answer for it.
A good weakness to have, as it were, is a weakness that is irrelevant to the job. The "not a morning person" answer might have made a good response if the job ran 3:00 to 11:00 pm.
Another good way to answer this is to cite a weakness that you're aware of, and that you've taken steps to correct. For instance: "My weakness is that everything sounds interesting to me, and I want to volunteer for every project. But if I do, I quickly find myself overloaded, and I have to scramble to keep all the balls in the air, and then I feel really stressed.Â Â I have learned that when I hear of an interesting project, I need to ask myself three questions. Can I do a good job of this? Do I really want to do it? And most of all, do I have time to do it by the deadline? If the answer to all three questions is 'yes,' then and only then do I volunteer.'
A few other things not to try: "My weakness is that I work too hard." Dilbert famously followed this logic in a comic strip, to the point that he said that he often worked himself to death, and his lifeless body would be found by horrified co-workers.
"My greatest weakness is that I am addicted to chocolate." Don't try this, unless you want to smile and then give a more serious answer.
"I don't have any weaknesses." Yes, you do; who are you kidding? The employer will perceive you to be a liar, and the interview will be functionally over no matter how much longer you talk.
This is a tough question. There are so many ways to go wrong with it, and relatively few ways to go right. Be creative, be prepared, and you'll be all right.