Ordinarily, when you step into an interview room, you are most likely expected to be well prepared to answer specific questions which more or less follow a similar structure. However, the interviewing panel may ask a question which may seem out of the ordinary in a bid to gauge various abilities and characters. For instance, an interviewer may ask you to highlight your greatest strengths and your weaknesses. Ideally, for the first portion of the question, you may be well prepared with the answers, but the latter may throw you off balance if not handled properly.
The question of weaknesses for a job interview is quite a tricky one and requires tactful reply without excessively exposing yourself in a bad light. Below are some tips and pointers which may prove beneficial in tackling the weaknesses for job interview question.
Choose a real weakness
Primarily, the interviewing panel is cognizant of the fact that as a human being you are bound to have some behaviours and mannerisms of which you are not proud of, hence the weaknesses for job interview question may be a litmus test for you to gauge your level of honesty. It is important that you highlight a real weakness when faced with this question. Strong aution should be exercised when putting forward anything that may subsequently jeopardize your chances of getting hired.
For instance, if the position you are interviewing for requires that you be a great team player, it would be obviously an undoing to state that you hate working as part of a team. Accordingly, you should strive to understand the key responsibilities and functions that the employer is looking for. Then, the weaknesses for job interview question should be answered with a weakness that would least ruin your chances of getting the job. You should try to express that the weakness is a minor challenge and not a constant struggle.
Show that you are working to improve on this weakness
The interviewing panel after hearing your answer to the weaknesses question would wish to be reassured that this is not a permanent challenge. Therefore, the interviewee should work on assuring them that the challenge is being worked on and would be sorted sooner rather than later. For instance, a job interview may require that you be good at matters public speaking. However, you may not be a great public speaker, and you may inform the panel that you are not very good at it.
Consequently, it is important that you demonstrate to the board that you are working on the challenge by taking elocution and public speaking lessons. This way, the panel can discern a commitment to personal development and the willingness to embrace new challenges. Similarly, you may answer these weaknesses for job interview question by giving a short illustration of how you have in the past managed to overcome some predicaments relating to the weakness in question.
Clarify the grey areas in your background
Often, job applicants are faced with scenarios where they apply for positions which they are aware do not align quite well with their core competencies. Noteworthy, the interviewer, has your resume with them and may even have performed a background check on you so that this issue would arise anyhow. Importantly, an interviewee can turn this question to justify why they are an appropriate match for the position.
For instance, a job applicant may be interviewing for a sales executive position without any prior sales experience. The weaknesses for job interview question may be answered with the acknowledgement in the lack of the particular requisite qualification but the reference to how other relevant experience is equally beneficial. This opportunity should then be used to give an account of how closely the match is to the opportunity that is being interviewed.
Acknowledge a weakness and portray it as a strength
As earlier discussed, it is important that you chooses a real weakness and expound on it. However, the weaknesses for job interview question should not be answered with a weakness that will outright shift the burden of justifying oneself to the interviewer. For instance, if you are the type of person who is incapable of delegating, it will serve you right if you paint this as being a perfectionist and many at times you have a hard time in letting projects out of your grasp until you are convinced that they have given the desired results.
This type of answer for the weaknesses for job interview question goes a long way to letting the panel understand why this type of weakness exists. Importantly, though, this should be followed by the acknowledgement that you have learnt from previous engagements that it is beneficial to accommodate other people’s views and input. This demonstrates to the panel that you are flexible and accommodative as well.
Don’t dwell too much on weaknesses
Obviously, the weaknesses for job interview question that the panel has put forward would need to be answered exhaustively, but caution should be exercised that you do not dwell too long on it. You should not feel obliged to bridge the silence that ensues after questions have been answered. If this happens, you may divulge a lot of information which may work against yourself. In essence, it is advisable that if the strength and weaknesses question is asked that you first answer the weaknesses and finish up with the strengths.
This is for the simple reason that you want the interviewing panel to hear your positive traits last as this is what would most likely ring in their minds. Again, ensure that any weakness highlighted ends on a positive note of improvement or correction. Most importantly, the weaknesses for job interview question should be answered with the utmost attempt to sound as genuine as possible as this is what the employer is after.
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