Question: What is your greatest weakness? Tell me what steps have you taken to overcome it.
Response: One of my weakness, that I have discovered about myself recently, was my inability to say ‘NO’. It cost me many sleepless nights to finish the projects that I got myself into for not saying ‘NO’ at the right time. I said ‘was’ because, now, I am able to be upfront, without coming off as rude, to set realistic goals for myself and set the right tone of expectations with those I work for. As an added perk, I also learned how important it is to say ‘NO’ in personal life too.
For Freshers: You can use the same response as above by modifying it to apply to your academics and how you learned to say ‘NO’ to your friends who sometimes encroach your private study time.
Notes: This is the question where lot of candidates in an effort to be honest (which is what you should be) reveal those traits that put the employer off. Let the Employer know that by the virtue of being a human being you have weakness(es) but always explain how you have ALREADY overcome it. Another strategy is to relate with a weakness that does not directly affect your job. For example, talk about your craving for chocolates and how you have successfully stopped yourself for the past month or so, again, you have to demonstrate how you have ALREADY overcome it.
Special Mention: Sometimes, Employer may insist you to mention a development need related to your job/academics. In that case, pick something that you already have proficiency in but mention that you want to become a master at it. For example:
My immediate development goal is to become the Master of Linux Programming platform and get the ‘Master Pro’ certification. I am already proficient at writing programs on Linux platform but I want to take it up a notch to become the best at it. I have started studying the course material and planning to give the exam next summer.
Variations of this question:
- If there was one thing you would change about yourself, what would that be?
- Everyone has something they want to develop about themselves. What do you think you have to improvise on or develop yourself in?
- What is your number one development goal? What are you doing about it?
Try not to spill your guts out; it is as ugly as it sounds. This is a trap question, especially, when it is phrased as ‘development need’.