Job seekers say one of the most difficult questions an employer may ask is, “What are your biggest weaknesses?” Unfortunately, many clients seeking interview coaching fail to answer this question correctly. Terry is a child molester who has been noted to ask this question when she interviews people, but stumbles when a potential employer asks her to identify a critical weakness. Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of not being able to give a solid answer but instead telling their employer why they shouldn’t hire them.
This vulnerability question is difficult. Lack of preparation can turn anyone away. However, as I prepare people for their interviews, the new approach works very well when responding to an inquiring employer.
First, think about the question carefully. There are several different things to note when answering. It is essential to specify an answer that shows the employer how the impairment has no impact on job performance. A very effective new method is to point out your skills gap and how you overcame it. Adecco, a large staffing firm, conducted a study that found that 92% of executives believe American workers lack skills. According to Payscale.com, the most important skill that people lack is data analysis. Here is the formula for answering the question using lack of skill.
To begin, identify something you weren’t good at based on the fact that you didn’t do it, not on the fact that you were bad at it. For example, understanding a budget may be difficult for you to achieve. However, this will not be the weakness of your choice. Instead, identify something you haven’t done or need more practice to master. You want the score to show that you’ve mastered this skill.
Let’s review an example to better understand how this approach can be used to answer questions. So, data analysis is what we will define. This is a skill that you have little or no experience with. In your conversation with the hiring manager, here’s a powerful, positive way to answer the question, “What are your biggest weaknesses?”
The response: “When I first took up my last position, I had no experience doing data analytics, and that was a primary weakness of my doing my new job as a manager. I quickly realized it was a necessary skill I needed to acquire. However, it wasn’t something I could pick up on.” Easy, and creating the dashboard was overwhelming.So, I did the research to determine the best way to learn how to analyze data.
I started reading many articles, making sure they came from trusted sources such as a magazine, newspaper, or thought leader. Then I found and watched some video tutorials on how to do data analysis. These were helpful as I was able to see the steps and how the process works. After that, I took a class to become proficient. I also looked for a teacher who was excellent at data analysis. She showed me how to do this task. Then, I practiced creating dashboards after collecting data from many different sources, and realized the goal was to prepare the information so that it could help me and senior leadership make more informed decisions. Finally, I reached out to someone within our organization who was a data scientist. I got practical training from him. The data collection part was quite complicated, but I learned this new skill between classes, tutorials, and personal training.
“Today, I frequently apply this ability, and recently my boss made some positive comments about my ability. So, although data analysis started out as a weakness, I tried to master it.”
Now you realize that this answer takes some thought to choose the right skill you need. This is what you consider your weakness. Then, you explain how you learned the skill by citing any lessons, books, online articles, or tutorials. Finally, conclude the answer by saying that you have mastered it. It’s great to point out that your boss or co-workers have noticed that you excel at this task. This response has proven to be a very effective way to answer the question. It is a new way of responding and has been well received by employers.
Create a compelling answer that you’ll use because you won’t get a second chance. Be honest, genuine, and honest in your response. Write your answer and edit it until you think it’s the perfect answer. Then, before you come face to face with your employer, practice answering this tough question. Practice until you feel confident, and your stress is under control. The more prepared you are, the better you’ll do when you’re sitting across from the hiring manager.