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In this blog, we shall be discussing how to answer the job interview googly: “What is your Greatest Weakness?”


Many of us don’t know how to answer this job interview question.


In this series of Job Interview Tips, I am bringing you some very common Job Interview Questions and providing helpful tips on how to answer them.

In the previous blog, we discussed how to answer one such job interview question: “Tell me about yourself” or “Tell me about your background”. 

Most of the cases in the job interview when a candidate is almost finalized for selection the interviewer ask him/her “What is your Greatest Weakness?” Like I have said you earlier when you are trying to answer this job interview question – you need not push the panic button.

To face this interview googly first you need to have a better understanding of your strength and weaknesses.

“What is your Greatest Weakness?” – This is one such job interview question which holds immense weightage on the impression you can make on the interview panel about your total persona.

This is one such question which may sound tricky but the roots of this question lie in the capacity of managing yourself in the job. Later, when we shall discuss how to do SWOT analysis beforehand to ace such googly; so that you shall understand, how to answer this question much clearly.

The interviewer or the human resource officer asks this question in the job interview due to many reasons. In many cases, the Human Resource officer or Interviewer asks this question to understand how the candidate can juggle difficult situations and what is the degree of his/her presence of mind.

Other reasons for asking such question are the interviewer may be thinking you are hiding something from him/her or he/she wants to probe deeper into your behavioural part of the persona. And at times it may be the case the interviewer wants a flat answer of what are your weaknesses.

Now how to answer this job interview question?

Answering this question doesn’t need the know-how of any rocket science. You may give a frank answer until and unless you admit any serious flaws in your persona which may result in the cancellation of your candidature.

We must admit many of us have some flaws or weaknesses in our persona. Now you need to judge yourself judiciously that do those flaws can be detrimental to the career prospects of the job you are applying for. If that is the case, then my advice is, from the day one of your awareness starts a few things to overcome such flaws.

Now how should you tackle the interview? Truly speaking I think you should prepare well in advance on how to answer such question. Don’t give a stock answer in every interview whenever you are asked: “What is your Greatest Weakness?”

You need to understand this answer should be different depending on what type of interview you are taking part. If you are applying for a vacancy of a nurse, a doctor, an engineer or accountant the answers should be different.

Two things you should keep in mind to prepare this Job Interview googly: 1) research about the industry you are applying, and 2) a SWOT analysis about your skills, competencies, and persona.

1) Research about the industry you are applying: You need to do research and figure out what are the no-nos about a candidate who is applying in any industry. Competencies, knowledge, skills and desired behaviour and attitude vary for different jobs across different industries.

2) SWOT analysis of your skills, competencies, and persona: You must be aware of what is SWOT. SWOT this acronym stands for 4 things: a) Strength, b) Weakness, c) Opportunity, and d) Threat.

Now how to do this analysis? Take a piece of paper and jot down what are the strengths you have and what are the weaknesses you are having. Next, figure out and jot down what are the opportunities your strength will bring to you and what may be the threats you may be facing because of your weaknesses where other applicants may be superseded you in the interview.

You need to be keeping in mind the Job Description in detail. Now, prepare your answer in such a way where you can portray that your weaknesses are not a big factor or you have in the past overcome such weakness and rose above the crisis.

Also, do mention what steps you are now taking to overcome your weakness and converting it to the strength of your capabilities. Suppose you are applying as a technical recruiter and you belong from the non-engineering domain, do mention you are pursuing a diploma or certificate course in software.

Keep in mind honesty pays. Thus along with preparing in advance on how to answer the job interview googly: “What is your Greatest Weakness?” do also take proactive step to kill that weakness seriously.

It the next blog I shall be bringing more Interview Tips. Till then keep posting your comments and take care!