Your Biggest Weakness

By, 03/04/2014

When preparing for post-college life several years ago, I attended a recruitment prep speaker panel. One of the speakers brought up an interesting topic: How do you answer the question, “What is your biggest weakness?” In his opinion, this was one of the worst questions an interviewer could ask you—either you get a bogus, self-serving answer (e.g. “I tend to be a perfectionist) or, worse, the question causes a fumbling, bumbling response that doesn’t tell you much at all. His advice: Answer it however you want because it doesn’t matter.

While I understand where the speaker was coming from, I also believe there’s value in self-reflection. (No, you’re not the perfect candidate for every job you apply to, no matter what your mother tells you.) Wouldn’t it be better for you to identify personal areas that could be stronger now instead of thinking about it for the first time during an interview? And remember that for an interviewer, every question has a purpose, and how you answer (and the rationale you provide) may be even more important than the actual response you give.