How to answer the interview question, ‘What’s your biggest weakness?’

We’ve all been there. We’ve provided a convincing argument as to why we’re such a great fit for the role and the company. We’ve done justice to ourselves without over-tooting that trumpet. And then the interviewer wheels out the, ‘What’s your biggest weakness?’ question and we crumble. What-oh-what to say?


Worry not, dear reader. CNBC has published an enlightening article on the four character traits that hiring managers are looking for when they ask this question. Read the full article here or see our summary below:


  1. Self-awareness

Pinpoint a weakness that may have hindered you in the past, but that you have since worked hard to overcome. Be direct, honest and transparent in your answer. Don’t focus on a weakness that would seriously hinder your success in the role you’re interviewing for.


  1. Authenticity

Trot out those tired, insincere responses of the ‘I’m a perfectionist’ or ‘I’m a workaholic’ ilk at your peril. They will promptly trigger a big cross on your application.


  1. Discretion

Keep your answer professional and succinct. Focus only on a work weakness, as opposed to a personal one. Any hint of neediness will send your interviewer running for the hills.


  1. Initiative

Whatever weakness you choose, the important thing is to talk about what you’ve done (and continue to do) to address it. Show humility in terms of always striving to do better.


In conclusion, the ‘What’s your greatest weakness?’ question is a great opportunity to showcase character traits that are essential to high-performance jobs – self-awareness, authenticity, discretion and initiative. As with all common interview questions, preparing and practising your answer will turn a confused, mumbled response into a clear, confident, impressive answer. It’s time to step up and embrace the challenge. Good luck!


ABL, your trusted recruitment partner, hopes that you found this advice useful. Please let us know if you’d like us to put any other interview questions in the spotlight in future articles. As always, we’re here to help you find your dream job and nail the interview. We hope to hear from you soon!