If you have ever had a formal interview, you likely have answered: “What do you consider to be your greatest weakness?”
Is that a trick question? Why does an interviewer ask what your weaknesses are?
According to Shannon Neighbour and Chantelle Svensen-Lewis, SNR Partners, interviewers simply want to know that you are self-aware. Naturally, everyone has weaknesses; what are you doing to improve them? Are you aware of what your limitations are?
You may be aware of your weaknesses, but have you ever felt reluctant to admit to them? Does admitting to your weak points hinder your chances of getting the job?
Shannon and Chantelle will tell you absolutely not; it’s not about what your weaknesses are, but what you are doing to improve them. Be sure that when you are applying for jobs, you are applying to jobs that strike your strong points. For example, if you apply to a job that requires a great degree of coordination and organization, but you’re far from organized, why apply?
So you’ve found a job you believe compliments your skills, but how do you respond when approached with the dreaded weakness question? You could simply break the ice by responding with “my greatest weakness is chocolate.”
Seriously though, it is important to be honest about your weaknesses and be sure to state what you are doing to improve them. Truth and honesty in your response demonstrates that you are aware of your areas of improvement – and the more self-aware someone is, the more likely they are to improve.
You might be wondering if there are any “red flag” weaknesses. A weakness is only considered a red flag if it is a skill that is essential to the role in which you are applying. For example: If you’re applying for a data entry position, but you have poor attention to detail, data entry may be a poor fit. Do you have a plan in place to improve?
It is important to seek out jobs that compliment your existing skills, while allowing you to improve on your weaknesses. Do not be afraid to state your weaknesses; be sure to focus on what you are doing to improve them. If you are unsure about your own weaknesses, ask a manager, colleague, or friend.
Remember, opportunity begins with the science of self – know your strengths and your weaknesses. To better understand yourself and which career path compliments you, utilize a behavioural assessment to find your fit!
SNR takes pride in offering candidate services that assist in career choices, behavioural analysis, and employment transitions. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay up to date with all our offerings!