In this video tutorial, learn how to answer the common interview question what are your weaknesses. Valerie Sutton, director Career Services at Harvard Graduate School of Education, explains how you overcome them or adapt to difficult situations. She also demonstrates you how to structure your answer.
- Everyone's favorite question, tell me about your weaknesses. Do they really think they're going to get an honest answer? Well that is exactly what you should do and here is why. They're looking for you to have a realistic view of your competencies and the ability to improve on performance. Let's face it, more often than not, you're not gonna have 100% of what is in the job description. In fact, as an employer, I may hope to get someone that has about 70% to 75% of the qualifications, so that there is room for an employee to grow and feel stretched in the position.
This allows you to be honest and show them how you can improve in a particular area quickly. To choose which weakness to focus on, analyze the job description, and determine what you don't have. This will also be obvious to the employer since it will not be strongly represented on your resume. For your answer, you want to choose the item that you could learn quickly, or is least important to the job. Often, the items listed at the bottom of the responsibilities in a job description are the least important.
When framing your answer, you want to state your weakness, and then let them know how you will overcome it. For example, you may not have managed a staff before, and you'll be required to do so in the next job. You could say something like this. "I haven't had formal management experience, "but I can apply my knowledge of managing "a volunteer group to motivate staff. "In addition, I've also taken several management classes "that I will be able to apply to this situation." When you're faced with a showing of weakness, choose wisely and show how you will either use transferable skills or learn the new skill quickly.
They just want to know that you have a realistic view of your self, and can overcome any challenges that may present themselves.
- Tell me about your strengths
- Tell me about your weaknesses
- Why are you interested in our company?
- Why did you leave your previous company?
- Tell me how you handled a difficult situation
- What questions do you have?