Q&A: What to say when you are asked “What is your greatest weakness?”

Q: I polled people on Facebook to see what questions stumps them on an interview, and the clear winner was “Tell me your greatest weakness”.

Poll Results

A:  There is no all-purpose answer to this question. You certainly don’t want to bring up some skeleton from your closet, but on the flip side, you don’t want to use some cliché response, such as “I work too hard”, “I don’t know how to delegate”, or “I’m just too dedicated”. Barf.  I’m a big believer in three things. 1) We can all improve on something or expand our knowledge. 2) Honesty is the best policy. 3) Admitting that you are not perfect is a strength not a weakness. You just need to be careful about your delivery.  And while you are being careful about the delivery, be cognizant of your audience. Some people need to hear the cliché to tick that box off their “interview questions list”. But if you can sense that the interviewer wants a real answer, something like this might do the trick:   I have never had the opportunity to do _____________ (fill in the blank – public speaking, learning a new coding language, managing staff, getting a particular certification, etc), and would love the chance to pursue that.