What would you say if you were asked, "What's your biggest weakness?"
Not sure? You might even wonder why employers even ask such a weird question. The objective with a question like this is to see how a person responds when they're thrown off base a little. It's also a way to force an applicant to reflect on how they've grown or want to grow.
The key to answering this question successfully is to show that you've reflected on your personality and have identified ways to improve.
Come up with a few words that you think describe your negative traits. Here are a few examples:
Ok, now with a little thinking and reflection these traits could provide insights into your best qualities. For example, a controlling person might have a hard time asking for help. Have you ever wished you'd accepted an offer of help from a friend or co-worker? Are you aware of the benefits of not always being in charge? If so, you're looking for opportunities to let go and work with others for better results.
Rudeness can easily be re-framed as bluntness and honesty. But you may feel that you can be a bit too honest at times. Describe a situation when you said something that may have been true, but that you wished you'd kept to yourself. Then explain that you're working on making your feedback more constructive.
There's nothing wrong with shyness, but you may feel that it holds you back from participating fully. Maybe there have been times when you wished you'd been more assertive. Explain that you're working on speaking up more and overcome your fear of offending others.
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"Describe yourself!", This question is almost invariably asked in the majority of interviews, and just as invariably answered dismally! What does one say and why do we always seem so flustered by the question? Because we have always been taught by our parents and respected elders not to boast or talk about ourselves.
With a childhood full of such repressive advice, its not surprising that the majority of us begin the answer with a stammer and a blush, almost instantly changing from flash to foolish and ruining our chances of employment.
So what do we say? Frankly, just answer the question as it comes. Most disconcerted candidates dread this question and begin with a silly "Basically, my name is ...". Why don't we realize that our CV is there right in front of the interviewer, and he knows this already.
By repeating the stuff that fills our CV, we just demonstrate that we are an 'in-the-box' kind of person, with little if any skill in innovation and presentation.
Actually, a question of this kind is an ideal way to plug in everything we want to say about ourselves that we had leave out of the CV. If you have attended a premier institution, say that the institution taught you much more than the degree it awarded you, mention people who influenced you, talk about the books you like reading, your hobbies and your other interests.
Talk about your strengths; perhaps mention an instance when you used your conflict resolution skills or selling skills or whatever. But make certain that it does not sound like blowing your trumpet. Mention these instances as learning.
Tall about your weaknesses, but make sure that they are 'positive' weaknesses. For instance you could say that that you sometimes pay more attention to detail than is warranted. You can openly confess a tendency to be impatient with team members who cannot carry their own weight, or who cannot contribute sufficiently.
But first, think today what you want to say and practice. Remember, if you hesitate about yourself, your interviewers will doubt whether you fit their bill of requirements. After all, if you don't know about you, who does?
How to describe yourself