How to prepare: This question requires some real reflection. Nobody is perfect, yes, but one can always be striving to be his or her best self. In a work context, what areas do you need to develop? Where do you find yourself stuck? Is there a consistent theme that comes up in your annual review – something you need to work on? Jot a few things down as you work on answering this question. Sometimes we don’t want to acknowledge our weaknesses to others – a natural thing!
Once you have identified a few areas for improvement, think about how to portray those weaknesses so they could also be considered strengths. For example, being too detail-oriented might bog you down with too much work, but it ensures you are thorough, leaving no stone unturned. In this particular example, you are overworked, BUT you also have a strong work ethic.
Important things to remember: As you detail your weaknesses, be sure you also identify how you are working to improve them.
Additional things to consider: Try to have at least two weaknesses to discuss, and don’t have them be situational, such as, “my network is weak since I am primarily surrounded by IT people.”
Jen Weld worked as an admissions consultant and Former Asst. Dir. of Admissions at Cornell’s EMBA program (4 years) prior to joining Accepted.com. She has an additional 10 years of experience in higher ed and corporate marketing.