“What’s your biggest weakness?”
It’s the most dreaded question in the job interview process. Do you be totally honest, and risk making yourself look bad, or try and up-sell with, “I care too much,” or, “My tendency to be early,” and risk having your interviewer throw up all over your shirt? Does a good answer to this question even exist?
As so often seems to happen, the users of online community Reddit came through with the goods.
Someone posted, "When asked in a job interview 'what's your biggest weakness' what is the best answer?" on the r/AskReddit board. All the answers are great, but one in particular really stands out.
"Remain silent, and pull an index card out of your pocket that says 'I over-prepare.' "
User jumper34017, we are tipping our hats (and going out to buy some index cards).
As another user said, "Making the interviewer laugh probably doubles your chances of being hired."
If you don't have the confidence to actually try this (and let's be honest, most of us wouldn't), check out these other great answers from the thread.
The damn-that-was-well-said option
This makes the question about the employer, shows how hard you're willing to work, and gives your interviewer a glimpse into the depths of your work ethic.
The weakness-as-strength option
User CanonInZ suggests emphasizing your weaknesses, but phrasing them as things you can improve. For example: "I'm working to get better at multitasking, as my previous job had me focus on single tasks for large blocks of time." "I don't have a lot of experience dealing with difficult employees, as the teams I supervised at my previous two positions were all really cohesive." "I've never had a chance to work with <specific, non-mission critical tool> before and I see you use that a lot here, so I'm keen to learn how to use it."
The honest option
Lying about the sort of person you are in an interview sets you up to fail in the actual job. Be honest about who you are—just make sure you explain why it makes you perfect for the position.
Ten things NEVER to say in a job interview. Post continues below.
The workaholic option
A Reddit user who'd been on the other side of the desk says the answers they like to hear most are:
"I sometimes struggle to maintain a work/life balance."
"I could be more sociable with my co-workers."
"Usually people who are quick with those responses are accurate self-assessors and are more likely to be self-managing workaholics than lazy slugs. It also bespeaks a degree of introspection and an understanding that humans are relational. It's easy to communicate with those folks—they are the kind of people to whom you can give an instruction one time, and they listen."
If all else fails, go for…
The swoon option
Flattery will get you everywhere. Though you might want to read the room with this one, because it could go either way…