There are many questions you can expect when going in for an interview, for pretty much any job:
“Why do you want this job?”
“What makes you qualified for this position?”
“What are your strengths?”
But there is one question that is a point of anxiety for everyone…” What are your weaknesses?” It’s hard and a little scary to admit that you are sometimes a procrastinator or that you are sometimes late to work. The old standards “my weaknesses are also my strengths, I’m too organized, I’m too hard working, I’m too focused”, etc just don’t fly anymore.
Multiple studies have shown that being honest and accurate about what your actual weaknesses are impresses companies more than answering with an outdated cliché.
According to author and Wharton professor Adam Grant, in one study, interviewers gave the highest ratings to business school applicants who were more concerned with being seen accurately than positively. In another study, Harvard researchers asked undergraduates to answer a job interview question about their weaknesses. Only 23 percent gave actual negative qualities: I procrastinate. I overreact to situations. The other 77 percent hid their weaknesses inside a humblebrag: I’m too nice. I’m too demanding when it comes to fairness. When collaborators reviewed the answers, they were 30 percent more interested in hiring the candidates who acknowledged a legitimate weakness.
So next time you go on a job interview, how would you answer that question?