Job interviews are naturally stressful, but sometimes they can be even more stressful than we might expect. And this could all be down to the questions that we have to deal with. One of the most common ‘nightmare questions’ is the one that asks you to think of the less positive aspects of your personality as someone who is applying for a tech position. The questions is, very simply, ‘What are your weaknesses?’.
There is actually a very simple formula that you can use to address the question. It’s in three parts, and it goes like this.
- Part One: Tell them what the weakness is.
- Part Two: Put that weakness in a clear context
- Part Three: Explain how you have dealt with and continue to deal with that weakness
Since we’re looking at tech positions in particular here, we thought we’d start with a weakness that might be particularly relevant to tech as an industry.
Software is a huge issue in tech. It’s a challenge for applicants to positions to be on top of the latest software developments. At the same time, employers may well want to hire someone who is able to offer a deep knowledge of the latest version of a key piece of software.
However, you may not have that experience. In fact, you may be completely lacking in experience for that software. And that’s a weakness.
To deal with this, a good response might be:
I’m not up to speed with version 2 of (the software). What I’ve done is focus on developing my experience of (other software) because I believe that (area) is incredibly important. In my current role, it has proven to be vital in implementing (a project) successfully.
It’s not all about software, obviously, but this example shows how you can state the weakness, the context, and how you have improved moving forward.
Another example focuses on a very common weakness that is relevant to all positions in all industries.It’s important to know how to deal with this one, because it could very easily be your weakness, or one of them even.
My big weakness is procrastination. This means that I can spend a lot of time focusing on the finer details of a project. This can be a problem, and in the past I’ve spent perhaps more time than I should have on those details. This has caused problems. I may not have missed deadlines, but no one likes sailing too close to them. The good news is that I’ve learnt a lot about my working style because of this, and it’s made me more aware of the needs and requirements of my colleagues and my managers.
You can see how it works. Describe the weakness, frame it in context and then focus on the solution. In other words, exactly what your potential employer wants you to do.