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Facing Your Greatest Weaknesses

Posted on: 08 Jan 15


Facing Your Greatest Weaknesses

Everyone has their weaknesses. Job interviews are stressful. Two statements that are as ubiquitous as they are accurate. And yet if you’re worried about facing that all-dreaded question of ‘What Is Your Greatest Weakness?’ at interview, it’s all you really need to know. For many candidates this is possibly the worst question imaginable and yet ironically, it’s also one of the easiest to handle in reality. Sometimes it will be asked in juxtaposition to the question of your greatest strengths, whereas occasionally it will be tackled alone. However it arrives, the important thing to remember is its purpose. Namely, to expose your own capacity for self-insight and to determine your overall level of honesty. With this in mind, here are three of the most straightforward and effective ways of passing the test.

1. Acknowledgement and Answer
Arguably the simplest option, but by no means the worst. Not only have you acknowledged your weakness, but you’ve already begun to tackle it. For example, perhaps your typing wasn’t quite up to standard and your productivity had been suffering as a consequence. So, not only did you acknowledge the problem, but you actively sought to resolve it. First by booking some one-to-one touch typing lessons and second by setting aside thirty minutes every day to practice. Not only will this convey to the employer your ability to acknowledge a problem, but it will also affirm your capacity for correction. Finally, by making it a weakness that almost everyone can relate to, you remove the potential for misunderstanding.

2. Turn A Strength Into a Weakness
As counter-intuitive as it may appear at first, turning a strength into a weakness is actually incredibly effective. Even better, by evoking an attribute as both a strength and a weakness you demonstrate both a capacity for self-analysis and considerable insight at the same time. For example, take the positive attribute of a great work ethic. For the most part of course, going above and beyond your normal hours and demonstrating a real commitment to your brief unquestionably fits into the strength category. And yet by acknowledging the importance of a work/life balance, you can also demonstrate your ability to see two sides of an issue. Specifically, if you work so hard that your productivity falters, noble intent is ultimately lost in the outcome. Thus, by answering with something that you would nominally refer to as a strength and by using it as an alleged ‘weakness’, not only do you end up getting another strength in the mix, but you also demonstrate a thoughtful capacity for introspection.

3. Keep it Understated
This one’s a classic. By taking something so negligible and inoffensive, while you do answer the question, you do so at the same time as avoiding something genuinely substantial or concerning. For example, you might handle the question by stating that your greatest weakness is a slight lack of familiarity with the most recent version of a particular kind of software that the company uses. Alternatively, you could respond by saying that your main weakness for the position is that you’re not yet familiar with the local area. Obviously don’t get too silly with your examples, but the fundamental point is solid. Namely by raising something so ultimately inconsequential and portraying it as a ‘weakness’, you get through the question and come out the other side unscathed.

Mike Wood - Pharmiweb editor

Last updated on: 08/01/2015 15:35:30

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