Interviewers frequently ask inane questions that do little to assess your ability to do a job. One of the most feared interview questions is the “weakness” question. It is also one of the most deficient questions asked by unskilled interviewers. Even though ti is an ineffectual question, you must still be ready to respond effectively and professionally if you want to get the job offer.
Converting a weakness to a positive is the wrong approach
Conventional (and bad) advice recommends that you respond to the “weakness” quetion by stating a weakness that is really a positive or translating a weakness into a positive. For example: “I’m a workaholic and I spend lots of hours at work ensuring I do my job to the best of my abilities.” Interviewers see right through this technique and it’s never effective.
What interviewers want
When interviewers ask this question, they don’t care what your weaknesses are. They care about how you handle this question and what your response indicates about you. They’re looking for indications that you regularly assess your talents and are working to increase your skills.
It is important though to make sure that the interviewer knows that you are working on your weaknesses if this would add value to the company. Even better, use it as an opportunity to highlight the positive skills you possess.
Here’s an example for an engineer applying for an executive position:
“While there are several strengths I bring to the position such as a high level of accuracy and strong decision making, I lack a strong education in financial analysis. I am overcoming this by completing a course in financial management. Would you like me to elaborate on this?”