I recall once an interviewer hit me with a curveball first question: “Why shouldn’t I hire you?”
Catching me off-guard, I floundered before saving the moment with: “I sometimes get a little lost in detail.” I didn’t appreciate the question, but it gave me ammunition for later trick questions.
Every employer will get to the “What are your weaknesses?” part of the interview. While some flounder as I did, others realize the employer wants to see if you are honest about where you need to improve.
Someone asked recently what would a good weakness be in this scenario, which plucked some funny responses from the online ether. Here are ten that stood out:
1. Comic Efficiency
Instead of replying verbally, one comedic candidate handed over a flashcard to the employer emblazoned with the sentence: “Sometimes, I over-prepare.” This bold move got them the job and it shows humor is a great tool.
2. Using Deadpan Humor
This part of the discussion needs to be in script format to be appreciated.
Interviewer: “What is your biggest weakness?”
Candidate: “Being vague.”
Interviewer: “Can you elaborate?”
3. Cloak Your Shortcomings in Ambition
One method shared was just to be honest but somehow cloak that candor with ambition, which worked well for one clever character. Explaining that they needed justification for any role given was their first weakness. Moreover, they reinforced how important an end objective was for what they were working on. The job was theirs.
4. Let Them Eat Cake
Anyone who has worked in an office environment knows that if it is your birthday, cakes must be provided. Even without reason, cakes and offices are now synonymous. Therefore, when one daring interviewee professed a love of cake was their biggest weakness, it showed her humanity — not to mention a guarantee of more cakes in the office. You’re hired.
5. Avoid the Humble Brag
Imagine sitting in the same featureless office, having to go through the same questions maybe dozens of times in one day. The last thing a recruiter wants is a deflective, wiseguy comment that lacks imagination. No perfectionists or workaholics need to apply.
6. Give a Weakness With a Solution
A hiring professional once told his son that giving a positive as a weakness is a sign of weakness in itself. An example of what to say could be mentioning you are forgetful but now keep reminders, notes, and calendars to keep yourself organized.
7. Be Upfront About Disabilities
While claiming any physical disability as a weakness could be interpreted negatively (or rightfully embarrass the interviewer), an interviewee did just that. The candidate shared that they were an ADHD sufferer and let on that it wasn’t really an issue. This bravery found them a job offer.
8. Be Completely Honest
So many interviewing executives said the same thing: they want honesty and nothing else. It makes no sense to second-guess a potential employer, so why not just give a real weakness? If you don’t like working in teams, say so, then maybe present a realistic reflection on improving this.
9. Being Overtly Responsible
Are you that person in charge of people who struggles to delegate effectively while burning yourself out in the process? While this may feel like an imperfection, it also shows how much you care for the quality of work completed.
10. Do Your Homework
A popular response came from another recruitment specialist, who gave sound advice to anyone who faces the big question. A big mistake is to focus on your personal issues and think about the company you wish to join. Discussing an aversion to food or a personal belief shows you could be a problem down the line.