Testing a weakness or vulnerability
You need to be prepared for questions that will probe into anything on your CV that could be seen as a potential weak area. This could include poor exam results, dropping out of university, gaps in any post-university employment or taking what the employer might think is ‘a long time’ to get a job.
You may feel awkward about being asked about something that’s a bit of a sensitive area, and that’s only natural. The best way to get around this is by rehearsing interview questions and answers before you have the interview. This is particularly important if it’s an area that you’re a bit touchy about as you don’t want to come across as defensive.
Think about how you can turn a potential weakness into a positive. For example, if it’s taken a long time to get a job after leaving university you can talk about:
It’s also worth remembering that the company must think that you can do the job or you wouldn’t have been asked to go for an interview.
What do you think is your greatest weakness?
It’s likely that you’ll get asked this common interview question in every interview you go for, and you’ll be expected to answer it even if you don’t have any work experience.
When you answer, balance a potential weakness with a strength. The things that the interviewer will be looking for include:
For example, perhaps you mention that you’re not naturally an organised person. In this case you could also tell the interviewer about how you have managed the art of listing-making and prioritisation to make sure that you keep focused and get projects completed on time.
Tips for answering this question:
With thanks to Edward Mellett, Director of graduate jobs website WikiJob.co.uk, for contributing this post.