“What do you consider to be your biggest weakness?” Most job applicants have encountered this interview question multiple times. They have subsequently become adept at dodging it completely. Usually, this is achieved by dressing up a positive attribute as a “weakness”. To force a more honest answer, try adding the above disclaimer.
To be perfectly honest, we find the “describe-your-weakness” line of questioning to be, well, weak. Even if the interviewee thinks they are giving an honest answer, their personal assessment will rarely line up with what other people think of them. It’s a question of dubious value that makes everyone in the room feel slightly awkward.
But if you absolutely must pursue this strategy, be sure to preemptively veto answers that are ‘secret strengths’. All too often, a job applicant will trot out a well-rehearsed answer that paints them in the best light possible. (You know the types of response we’re talking about — they work too hard, they love their job too much, they are considered a perfectionist, et cetera, et cetera.)
By asking “what is your biggest weakness that’s not a secret strength?”, you will be forcing them to abandon their stock response and dig deeper. This modified version of the question still isn’t perfect – but at least they will be describing a genuine weakness instead of a diamond in the rough.
How would you answer this question? Let us know in the comments.