Don't Be Unemployed

How to answer the job interview question everyone hates

Even with a record number of job openings in the U.S., finding a new job can take a lot of work.

Did you know that job hunters spend an average of five months to find a new position? That journey includes repeated updates to resumes and cover letters, multiple applications and, of course, multiple job interviews.

The worst part for many is the job interview. Most of us admit our biggest mistake is being too nervous.

Our advice on this is straightforward: Practice, practice, practice.

The more you practice anything, the more comfortable you become with it, and the better you become.

That includes familiarizing yourself with the company, the job description and qualifications, and who is going to be meeting with you, as well as Googling some of the most common interview questions, and prepping some answers and anecdotes.

That last part is key: many job hunters freeze during the interview questions, especially in trying to answer the question, “What are your weaknesses?”

We know it’s hard to talk about yourself. But you have to put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes: What would you ask yourself? What would you want to hear?

Here’s how to answer the “what are your weaknesses?” question like a pro.

First, realize it’s a bit of a trick question.

Saying you have no weaknesses is unrealistic. But dwelling on serious weaknesses can hurt your chances of getting the job.

The best way to deal with the question is to bring up a weakness that isn’t central to the job and then talk about how you’ve worked to overcome it.

For example, say you’re a not a strong writer – which, again, isn’t a big part of the job – and then tell the interviewer you took a course to improve your writing skills and that your boss complimented you on the last few memos you wrote because your writing has improved.

Interviewing for a job might never be easy for you. But with a bit of practice, it can be at least somewhat less stressful.

About the Author

Will Temby

Will has enjoyed a 20-year career in leadership positions in the hospitality and travel industry throughout the U.S. with the Hyatt, Sheraton, Hilton, Renaissance and Steamboat Ski and Resort corporations. Will received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. From 2000-2007, he served as President and CEO of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. He also served as Vice President-Special Projects for the University of Colorado Foundation from 2007 to 2009. Will is a past Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Homeland Defense Foundation and former member of the United States Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100. He is married to Nan, has five wonderful children, and enjoys coaching, traveling, hiking, golfing and skiing.