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How to answer the question: "what's your biggest weakness?"

"What's your biggest weakness?" is probably one of the most difficult interview questions you'll ever face.

Why is that? Well, because it's essentially a trick question. Answer truthfully with something you're not good at, and you've surely blown your chances. Claim you haven't got one and you're obviously just lying. 

There's no right answer, surely?

Not necessarily – here's how you create the perfect answer that's genuine and will actually reflect positively on you...

1. Accept that you have weaknesses 

And we don't mean "I work too hard" or "I care too much" – you have real weaknesses. Everybody does!

Think honestly about where you need to improve. It could be anything relevant to your career – from public speaking to Microsoft Office. 

2. Understand what the interviewer is actually asking for

Your interviewer is trying to assess how honest and self-aware you are. 

They don't want to hire someone who's completely blind to their own faults.

They want someone who identifies problems and takes the necessary action. Tackling weaknesses is a form of problem-solving – what company doesn’t want an effective problem-solver?

3. Think of an example

Pick one weakness and start thinking about how you're trying to rectify that in practical, achievable terms.

Remember, just pick one. It's all you're going to need for the purposes of this question – start rattling off a list of things you're not good at and the interviewer will start to have doubts!

4. Give it a positive spin 

Take that weakness and describe exactly how you're taking steps, or would take steps, to solve the problem.

For example: "I want to improve my presentation skills, so I'm currently getting some advice from a colleague who presents to clients a lot."

5. Put it in context

And finally, you need to link this answer to the broader question at hand – “why do you want to work here?"

You need to explain that this is the job where you conquer that weakness. This is the place where you take that next step! 

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