How to Answer: "What is your greatest weakness?"

I really like this question.

However, I generally don’t think it is useful in determining how well someone will do in a career, nor do I think it encourages honesty when someone has to answer the question. After all, who wants to let everyone (especially an employer) know what their greatest fault is? But once in a while, there is an answer to this question that gives employers pause and causes them to think a little more about the candidate’s recognition skills and problem-solving ability.

Today, I am going to give you the answer I give in this situation, though, it’s been over five years since I’ve been asked the question. Nonetheless, you can’t simply avoid the question, nor am I telling you to copy and paste my answer. Rather, what I want you to do is look at the principle of my answer and ask yourself if that describes yourself. If it does, then by all means it is no longer my answer it is our answer, as we both address faults in a similar way.

“So, Rob, what is your greatest weakness?”

Weaknesses are a tough thing for me to consider, largely because whenever I’ve noticed a weakness in myself, I’ve worked really hard to turn it into a strength. A good example is when I first started working in the medical field, I was a terrible note-taker and didn’t organize or document well at all. It was a demonstrable weakness.

When I was cited for poor documentation on an evaluation, I worked really hard to organize and document better. Since then, at my new position, I’ve been praised for the level of organization and record keeping I’ve reached.

So while I cannot give you a certain weakness that I am currently identifying with or working on, I can tell you that when a peer or even myself identifies a weakness, I do my absolute best to turn it into a strength. That’s what I’ve always done and that’s what I will continue to do, no matter the setting.

See, it is a tough question but there is something deeper that needs to be struck when answering. Namely, what do you do when faced with a weakness? The answer I’ve given, to me at least, demonstrates problem-solving and recognition skills, two things all employers want in a candidate.

Have an answer that’s worked for you? Share it below!