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Written by Brent Knight, President of ISS

How many of you have ever been asked about your greatest weakness in an interview? Well, if you have interviewed in the last ten years, I would suspect the answer is all of you.

This is an extremely valuable question for both the hiring manager and interviewee. It gives you, the interviewee, the opportunity to show vulnerability and self-awareness as well as convince the hiring manager that you are honest and committed to self-improvement.

One of the answers that I would not use is, “I am a workaholic”. Why? This sounds rehearsed and not genuine.

How should you answer this question? Carefully and with some passion.

Do your best to frame your answers around positive aspects of your skills and abilities as an employee, turning seeming “weaknesses” into strengths. For example, I am not good at leaving things incomplete, so I will tend to work long to leave work with my list crossed off.

This question is an opportunity to show the hiring manager that you’re well qualified for the job. In addition to learning whether you’ve got the right credentials, the hiring manager wants to know whether you can take on challenges and learn new tasks.

You can also share some examples of skills that you have improved, providing specific instances of how you have recognized a weakness and taken steps to correct it. This shows growth and initiative and hiring managers like that.