What is the best way to answer, "What is your greatest weakness" for a job interview? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
First and foremost, be authentic. Professionals see through the "use a strength to make it sound like a weakness". Aside from being authentic with a real answer, then back that answer up with examples of what you learned from it, and how you are working towards making it less of a weakness for you. For example, if I used the weakness "I tend to not delegate well", I would then offer up an experience--"When I was on my first project team, I was so afraid others wouldn't do the work, that I kept volunteering to take everything on, and most of the other team members didn't participate fully. Then when it came time to finish, I was stressed out, and others were uninvolved and disengaged".
Then you follow up the answer with what you learned. "I learned quickly that we could accomplish more when the entire team had a part, and that I couldn't do it by myself. We could go farther with more hands helping."
To conclude, ALWAYS make the critical connection for the employer by telling them how they can expect that to help in this job. In this example, I might conclude with, "What you can expect in this job, is that I will practice better delegation, check in with people along the way to make sure it's getting done, and make small course corrections along the way. I'm not perfect, but I'm aware of it, and working at doing better".
This is music to an employer's ears. An honest answer helps build trust that you'll be honest in other areas as well. Rarely will an employer hold it against you unless you choose a fatal flaw as your weakness, such as "I can rarely be counted on to follow through" (which I've heard!)
In summary, be authentic. Tie it off with an example that shows you are learning and growing. And help the employer understand what to expect from you if you get the job!
This question originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter and Facebook. More questions:
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