Undoubtedly, this question will have to be covered, as it is one of the questions most feared by interviewees. Many interviewers want to get a feel for where your strengths and weaknesses lie. They understand that you are in the interview to speak to your strengths. This means to learn about your weaknesses, they will usually ask a question like, “What do you consider your greatest professional weakness?”. For a number of reasons it is a tough question to answer, because you have to be honest (as always) but you also don’t want to set off a red flag in the employer’s mind. While it is a tough question, coming up with an good answer is certainly possible.
Like all challenging questions, the first step is to keep your cool. Interviews can certainly be intimidating, but if you know you have the qualifications and skills, there is no need to get nervous. The typical answer to this type of question is to discuss a learning experience where you grew as an employee. The interviewer is hoping to learn of a weak area, and how you have transformed it into success, or plan to.
A good example is conquering work place fears, like public speaking or advocating for yourself. Bringing up relatively harmless weaknesses is another easy solution. “I am an extremely forgetful person, but to counteract it I have a weekly calendar and daily checklist I follow to keep me on top of things.” Showing that you’ve overcome the weakness and have found a way to negate it will show the interviewer you are a problem solver who knows their limits.
Putting on a Positive Spin
If there is an area in which you’re weak, turn that weakness into eagerness, “While I really don’t have much experience in the area of Photoshop, I’m a quick learner and could adapt quickly to new responsibilities.” Two things could come of this, and neither is bad. Option one is that truly it was an area that was crucial to the job, and you wouldn’t have been a good fit anyways. The other potential turn out is that they appreciate the honesty and give you the opportunity to develop and learn in the new position.
A good exercise is to try and anticipate someone asking the question, and think of how you may respond. If something comes to mind that may keep you from getting the job, take steps as soon as possible to ensure that whatever it is gets corrected. There will be other candidates who won’t have anything serious come to mind, so making yourself a member of that group is absolutely crucial. Lastly, it is just a question. If all else fails and you can’t remember any of the advice given here, answer honestly and from the heart, and hope for the best!