How to Make the “What Are Your Weaknesses?” Question More Effective

As a leading Houston staffing agency, Murray Resources knows that many employers ask the same question in job interviews – “tell me about yourself,” “why do you want to work here?,” and “what are your weaknesses?” The problem with the latter question is that most job candidates are prepared to answer it, oftentimes with a less-than-genuine response. Think “I work too hard” or “I’m a perfectionist.” It’s no surprise; after all, individuals don’t want to give you any ammunition that would make you reconsider their candidacy.

But the purpose of every interview question you ask is to get behind the candidate mask; to uncover the true professional, revealing each job candidate’s personality, strengths, weaknesses, knowledge, skills and abilities. Questions that elicit a canned response are not a good way to do that.

If you want to learn about a candidate’s weakness, instead rephrase the question in a way that will produce a more genuine response. According to Leadership IQ, a research and management consulting firm, that means instead of asking “what are your weaknesses?,” you should ask them to describe what their last boss considered their weaknesses. That forces people to be less scripted and helps you better assess their emotional intelligence and self-awareness.

What are some other questions you can ask to get to the bottom of a candidate’s true strengths and weaknesses? Here’s a look:

  • What’s one thing you would like to do better? What’s your plan for improving?
  • What changes have you made over the course of your career to be better at what you do?
  • When have you failed on the job? Describe what happened and what you learned from it.
  • What do you think are the most important attributes of successful people? How do you rate yourself in those areas?
  • If you could start your career over again, what would you do differently?
  • What’s the one accomplishment you’re most proud of? Why?

The best interview questions aren’t ones that provoke a cookie cutter response. Rather, good questions give each candidate an opportunity to sell themselves – with real-world examples – and highlight why they’re the strongest contender for the job.

Need more help interviewing candidates and finding your next great hire? Call Murray Resources. As a leading Houston staffing agency, organizations all over the city rely on our expertise to source, hire and retain top talent for permanent, temporary, part-time and contract opportunities.

Ready to get started? Contact us today.