How to Answer the ‘Greatest Weakness’ Interview Question

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One of the most difficult questions in a job interview can be “What is your greatest weakness?”

A variation identified by Deborah House, vice president and deputy general counsel of the Association of Corporate Counsel, is, “What are you not good at, or what do you not like to do?” She wrote an article in the ACC Docket that says the wrong answer is to respond that you like everything.

The Wall Street Journal lists other wrong answers to the weakness question and has some advice on right answers.

Wrong answers include: I have no weaknesses. I can’t seem to meet tight deadlines. I am impatient with incompetent people. I can’t tolerate trite interview questions like this one. I am a perfectionist.

The perfectionist answer may seem like a good one, but some interviewers may interpret it to mean that the job-seeker is incapable of delegating work. Flip answers are also a problem, the story says.

The right answer includes an explanation of efforts to deal with the weakness, the Wall Street Journal says. A salesman, for example, could say he was able to make more sales after he improved his ability to work with numbers.

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