You know it's coming.
Literally, it's the most uncomfortable question of the entire job interview process, which is really something, because asking millennials "Where do you see yourself in five years?" is like asking a starving person "Where's your lunch?" Somehow, this question surpasses it. "What is your biggest weakness?"
Well, PlatypusFez wanted to be armed with a better answer before they got trapped:
Read and learn.
Honesty Is The Best Policy
"What is your biggest strength?"
I can make decisions quickly in high-pressure situations.
"What is your biggest weakness?"
I make awful decisions.
Interviewer: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Me: I'd say my biggest weakness is listening.
Ball's In Your Court
"I tend to react violently to bad news."
"So, am I hired or not?"
Do You Struggle With This, Too?
I recently went with "I sometimes take on too much work myself rather than delegating to other people". I then follow it up with how I've worked on it and had to get a lot better at it in my last job.
At my last job when I was asked this I said "I can't fold a fitted bed sheet."
Everyone kind of tittered and I said "It's true, every week I pull that sheet out of the dryer and think, "this is the week" and then I fail. But I keep trying every week".
I got the job.
And yes, I've watched videos, I've had people show me in person-I still can't get it right.
It Isn't So Hard
My wife always says 'parallel parking'.
Don't Set Us Up To Fail
My stock answer to this has always been :-
"I can get bored easy and become unmotivated unless I'm fairly busy."
It's never let me down yet, although I'm more the interviewer than the interviewee these days and would never ask this question in an interview.
TBH now I'm thinking about it, if they ask you this then your interviewer is probably not very good.
I once said:
"Look, I know I'm meant to take a positive and spin it as a negative, but I feel that's dishonest. So my weakness is that I don't like playing mindgames with my interviewer."
Yeah don't do that. The feedback I got was that I'm extremely arrogant, and I didn't get the job.
It can be anything, as long as it's realistic and as long as you follow up with ways you've worked on fixing it or improving. For example, I always say that I have a hard time with time management and prioritizing different tasks, but then I follow up immediately with how I've worked on ranking different projects based on certain criteria (deadline, expected time to finish, etc.) and sorting them that way. Compartmentalizing and sh*t. Compartmentalizing is a great word. Throw that in there.
Heyyy Wait A Sec
"I lie to avoid hurting people's feelings."
Then you compliment the interviewer's shirt.
"I have absolutely no patience for office politics, conspiracies, bullying, micro management, or corporate cheerleading. I want to work somewhere friendly and open and fair, where I can treat colleagues as equals and be pretty much left to do my job - in return, I can do it extremely well." Said this at the interview for my current job, been here a year and a half and everything is good. I've worked some places where everyone was horrible to each other, and it just isn't worth the cost to your soul.
Pick anything relatively innocuous (stay away from "motherf-cker looks at me wrong, I waste 'em") but still plausible. Any normal, reasonable human character flaw. "I can be impatient with people who don't grasp or follow things as quickly as I do." "I overanalyze tasks before I begin them, which leads me to procrastinate actually starting the work." "I do a lot of processing and reflecting internally before I speak, which can lead people to believe I'm not contributing to a conversation."
Then - this is the key - tack on a piece about how you've learned to manage or compensate for it. "I usually remind myself that I was new at a task once myself, and what may seem second nature to me is less apparent to others. In fact, I take note of the questions the other person asks and develop an FAQ or teaching tool." "I've found it helps if I pick a basic first step and get started, and create deadlines down the line for making major decisions about the task. This helps me keep some flexibility while still making progress." "I usually make a point of saying 'these are just my preliminary thoughts, but...' and then sharing a little bit about my reaction."
The purpose of this question isn't to force you to convey the impression that you're flawless. No one is. It's to check and see if you're self-aware about what your limitations are and to see whether you're actively trying to improve.
(Source: Am HR.)
leans in for kiss
"I'm weak against grass-types"
Once Again, The Honesty
"My biggest weakness is that sometimes in interviews, I have absolutely no idea how to answer some of the questions"
I always get the job
As someone who interviewed literally 10's of thousands of people over the years for entry level jobs with a required set of questions (that included this weakness one), this answer would be enough for me to hire the person (provided everything else was at least okay).
To me, it shows that they understand that interviews are more about getting to know the person and that shows a certain level of intelligence. With that knowledge I can reasonably say that I could teach them the basics of any job I'd need them to do. And who knows, they might have a good time with a humorous attitude.
I'm wondering how well it would go for a job in a more professional setting. I figure just fine, but I could see situations where it wouldn't be as funny.
Pull a card out of your pocket that has "I over prepare" written on it.
"I'm lazy. Which means I will find the quickest and best solution to complete a task so I don't have to do it twice."
This person actually got hired.
I got this question right after "What is your greatest strength?". My greatest strength is my tenacity. When faced with a problem, I'm going to solve it, no matter how long it takes. My biggest weakness? My tenacity. Sometimes I forget/ refuse to ask for/ realize I need help. They offered me the job three hours later.
My entire underbelly is exposed to predators. I have a poor diet and no combat training. You could easily hit my viral organs and I'd perish immediately.