The what are your weaknesses question

mog27mog27 Member Posts: 302
I recently had an interview where one of the tough questions was tell me three of your strengths and three of your weaknesses. Three strengths is easy but I really stumbled upon thinking of a good response to my weaknesses. I wanted to make my weaknesses sound good if at all possible. So what's the best way to answer that? How have some of you answered that one during interviews?
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Ben Franklin

"The internet is a great way to get on the net." --Bob Dole

Comments

  • royalroyal Member Posts: 3,353
    I always answer that as, "One of my weaknesses is I am never satisfied. Although some may think of that as a strength as it always makes me strive to do better." It is an actual weakness to some, put you bring the weakness back to a positive note.
    “For success, attitude is equally as important as ability.” - Harry F. Banks
  • mzgavcmzgavc Member Posts: 75 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Sometimes its just best to be honest instead of giving a HR answer on your weaknesses.

    When i'm asked this question my response was that I take my problems home with me. If I'm stumped on a problem, I tend to continue to think about it for the rest of the evening and sometimes blend my time relaxing with continuing to work by way of research. Its great for getting problems solved, but sometimes the added stress of working during down time makes me a bit agitated at work.

    A mix of HR and reality. I do tend to take problems home and think them out or research them, and then it makes me pretty pissy next day because I spent the time researching instead of having a beer and talking smack to my friends over a couple of Gears matches. Anyone that spends an evening researching an issue for work is to be commended, and anyone that spends time at work when not at work is just a little bit justified in having a snark on before morning coffee.

    Usually i find giving an answer that they can relate to > any HR loaded question they probably hear every interview. I just think they're so horribly overused and somewhat expected by interviewers.

    " I work too hard "
    " I'm a perfectionist "
    " I find that i'm always looking for ways to improve on myself "
    " I can polish turds "

    I used to use these, they'd get a simple nod, and move on. The day I used the above mentioned answer... I got a call that afternoon for my current job.

    I'm not knocking anyone that does use them, its only my opinion and by all means may be wrong. But I want to get noticed in an interview. Responses that bring a nod aren't always a nod of approval, responses that bring conversation are the ones you know are going well.
  • SrAtechieSrAtechie Member Posts: 150 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Well, I remember I had gone through a cold streak a while back, having 4 or 5 interviews and no jobs so I went in to my next one with the intent of pulling out all the stops and just doing something totally different from what I had been doing (which was using all of the standard trained answers/responses most will tell you; not that they're not good, it's just that I felt at the time I needed to shake it up a bit) and since I didn't think I'd have a chance in hell of getting this one, I figured what the hell. icon_twisted.gif So I get to the interview and the boss is a big 'ol texas boy. I mean, tall, wide, big old belt buckle, the famous drawl; the only thing he was missing was the 10 gallon hat. So anyway, that famous "3 strengths/3 weaknesses" question comes up and I gave him my standard 3 strengths and caught myself in the middle thinking "hey, what happened to changing things up dummy?" Well, I thought it wasn't going so well up to that point (I had no idea how to answer any of his technical questions) so I pulled out all the stops. I paused, put on a serious looking face, looked him dead in the eye and said, "As for weaknesses, I gotta be honest and tell ya blonde hair, blue eyes and a nice set of cans gets me all the time." I never saw anyone turn so red, laugh so hard, and cry so much in my life! He laughed for a good 5-7 minutes on that one. Now, I'm not advocating this as something to try but I figure everyone else probably will have a lot of really good ways to answer the question so I figure I just share that story instead. Oh, and by the way that was my first job. :) He hired me on the spot because of my personality and sense of humor, and said I was smart enough to learn the job. icon_lol.gif
    Working on: Linux+, CCNP:Switch
  • WanBoy67WanBoy67 Member Posts: 225
    SrAtechie wrote:
    "As for weaknesses, I gotta be honest and tell ya blonde hair, blue eyes and a nice set of cans gets me all the time."
    LMAO icon_lol.gif cause that's mine too icon_lol.gif
    Yes we can, yes we can...
  • mgeorgemgeorge Member Posts: 777
    SrAtechie wrote:
    "As for weaknesses, I gotta be honest and tell ya blonde hair, blue eyes and a nice set of cans gets me all the time." icon_lol.gif

    Man that was a great laugh icon_lol.gif how long did you work for him ?
    There is no place like 127.0.0.1
  • MishraMishra Member Posts: 2,468 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I always give technical things that I am supposed to have a weakness in. For example, I am applyin g for a network engineer job....

    My 3 weaknesses are


    Databases but I am trying to configure websites at home using databases to learn more about them.
    Visual Basic programming, but I have been researching on MS VB scriping
    SMS but I continue to try and stay updated on MS's new products and what they do so I usually stay on top of SMS news


    I just give things that they don't use or I don't have any involvement in and make sure to explain how I am trying to improve my weakness.
    My blog http://www.calegp.com

    You may learn something!
  • royalroyal Member Posts: 3,353
    Just like with Mishra, always say something wrong about you but then bring it back to a positive light. This is wrong BUT this is how I am rectifying the issue. ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS bring a positive light to issues during an interview. NEVER ever complain and as I said, if they do force you to say something more negative oriented, always bring it back to be a positive thing. Research everything you possibly can on the internet about interviewing. What questions that can be asked, everything. IT industry is filled with so many people that you want to make sure you can stand out by doing an awesome job during the interview. You would be surprised how many people get jobs just from doing awesome during an interview. I've heard of many people who did not fit the requirements of the job, but still applied, blew them away during the interview, and they still were hired and trained just because of the excellent performance they did in the interview.
    “For success, attitude is equally as important as ability.” - Harry F. Banks
  • SrAtechieSrAtechie Member Posts: 150 ■□□□□□□□□□
    mgeorge27 wrote:
    SrAtechie wrote:
    "As for weaknesses, I gotta be honest and tell ya blonde hair, blue eyes and a nice set of cans gets me all the time." icon_lol.gif

    Man that was a great laugh icon_lol.gif how long did you work for him ?

    I worked for him for about a year, then I moved out here to Las Vegas. I owe a lot to him because he taught me a lot more than I could ever have known about a lot of stuff, and it's all been directly applicable to the jobs I've taken since then. So for me, that was the best way I'd ever answered that question. I admit though that I don't think I'd ever get that balsy again icon_lol.gif
    Working on: Linux+, CCNP:Switch
  • mzgavcmzgavc Member Posts: 75 ■■□□□□□□□□
    SrAtechie wrote:
    I paused, put on a serious looking face, looked him dead in the eye and said, "As for weaknesses, I gotta be honest and tell ya blonde hair, blue eyes and a nice set of cans gets me all the time." I never saw anyone turn so red, laugh so hard, and cry so much in my life!


    Haha nice. I've also used " Kryptonite " in the same context to break ice in an interview. Fantastic answer.
  • snokerpokersnokerpoker Member Posts: 661 ■■■■□□□□□□
    mzgavc wrote:
    Sometimes its just best to be honest instead of giving a HR answer on your weaknesses.

    When i'm asked this question my response was that I take my problems home with me. If I'm stumped on a problem, I tend to continue to think about it for the rest of the evening and sometimes blend my time relaxing with continuing to work by way of research. Its great for getting problems solved, but sometimes the added stress of working during down time makes me a bit agitated at work.

    A mix of HR and reality. I do tend to take problems home and think them out or research them, and then it makes me pretty pissy next day because I spent the time researching instead of having a beer and talking smack to my friends over a couple of Gears matches. Anyone that spends an evening researching an issue for work is to be commended, and anyone that spends time at work when not at work is just a little bit justified in having a snark on before morning coffee.

    Usually i find giving an answer that they can relate to > any HR loaded question they probably hear every interview. I just think they're so horribly overused and somewhat expected by interviewers.

    " I work too hard "
    " I'm a perfectionist "
    " I find that i'm always looking for ways to improve on myself "
    " I can polish turds "

    I used to use these, they'd get a simple nod, and move on. The day I used the above mentioned answer... I got a call that afternoon for my current job.

    I'm not knocking anyone that does use them, its only my opinion and by all means may be wrong. But I want to get noticed in an interview. Responses that bring a nod aren't always a nod of approval, responses that bring conversation are the ones you know are going well.

    Great advice, I just used this kind of method today, I hope it works out for me!
  • mog27mog27 Member Posts: 302
    In my next interview, one of the job descriptions is Exchange which I havent really worked with yet. If they ask me my weakness, would it be safe to say it is Exchange, "but I'm willing to buy books on it and read up and learn it." Might also mention that it was always something I wanted to get into (even though it's not). Does that sound good?
    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Ben Franklin

    "The internet is a great way to get on the net." --Bob Dole
  • mzgavcmzgavc Member Posts: 75 ■■□□□□□□□□
    If by chance you are cornered into revealing a lack of knowledge about a certain subject, just simply explain that you've never been placed into a situation or a job where you've worked directly with the technology. But do mention that you are willing to take on the responsibility of learning and adapting to fit the criteria they require for the job.

    If you have an interview, remember, they like you for something you've said on your resume already so if they're cornering you on something, theres no need to duck and cover under some horridly mangled HR answer because they're already aware of your lack of experience. They're just prodding you on how you're going to deal with something you don't know about.

    Just say straight out... I'm aware that Exchange Administration is part of the job and its something that I'm not very well versed in, but I've never been a part of an Exchange environment. I think that my proven ability to adapt to new technologies would bring me up to speed with little to no disruption in customer service. Then go on to explain a technology that you previously knew nothing about, and became very proficient with to show that this has been the situation before and you went through it and prevailed.

    You can be TAUGHT how to be good at something and you can LEARN the technology. But mannerisms like honesty and candor are what they can't change and what they have to deal with you as an employee.

    Also,

    Some job requirements now are absolutely insane, and somewhat silly as well. I've seen job requirements asking for 8-10 years working with Server 2003, CCIE listed as a requirement for tier 1 NOC jobs, entry level support jobs requiring you to be proficient with their own proprietary software and sometimes listing 3 year minimum working with said software, job requirements that span 3 pages and asks for everything under the Sun.

    I wouldn't worry if you miss 1 item on the description, its common that not all applicants fit every single requirement.
  • royalroyal Member Posts: 3,353
    I think I've seen the worst job offering of all.
    7-10 years of Unix Administration Experience
    5-8 years of Windows Systems Administration/Design Experience
    Programming experience
    Novell Experience
    Exchange Experience
    Desktop Support

    And more for $35,000/year!

    This was about 3 years ago. I wonder if they're still trying to fill that position. icon_rolleyes.gif
    “For success, attitude is equally as important as ability.” - Harry F. Banks
  • mog27mog27 Member Posts: 302
    royal wrote:
    I think I've seen the worst job offering of all.
    7-10 years of Unix Administration Experience
    5-8 years of Windows Systems Administration/Design Experience
    Programming experience
    Novell Experience
    Exchange Experience
    Desktop Support

    And more for $35,000/year!

    This was about 3 years ago. I wonder if they're still trying to fill that position. icon_rolleyes.gif

    haha is that for real? So insnane.
    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Ben Franklin

    "The internet is a great way to get on the net." --Bob Dole
  • mzgavcmzgavc Member Posts: 75 ■■□□□□□□□□
    royal wrote:
    I think I've seen the worst job offering of all.
    7-10 years of Unix Administration Experience
    5-8 years of Windows Systems Administration/Design Experience
    Programming experience
    Novell Experience
    Exchange Experience
    Desktop Support

    And more for $35,000/year!

    This was about 3 years ago. I wonder if they're still trying to fill that position. icon_rolleyes.gif


    Honestly, sometimes I wish I could just SAMPLE what these people are on.
  • KasorKasor Member Posts: 912 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I think it is a trick question. Why do you want to tell people your weakness? Everybody got a weakness and someone your weakness is not really your weakness because you claim to be your.

    It is depend on your interviewer, are they serious about the question or something else. I agree that you always answered this question with a positive end. There is no real answer for this one.
    Kill All Suffer T "o" ReBorn
  • TechJunkyTechJunky Member Posts: 881
    Looks to me like they forgot a zero...

    $350,000

    Now thats more like it. icon_lol.gif
  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAMember Posts: 4,171 ■■■■■■■■■□
    The answer to this question is not a technical one, unless they specify or it is obvious form the previous line of questioning that they mean technical weakness.
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 11/2019 - RHCSA (RHEL 7); 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
    Working on: RHCE/Ansible
    Future: Probably continued Red Hat Immersion, Possibly VCAP Design, or maybe a completely different path. Depends on job demands...
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 11,544 Admin
    Kasor wrote:
    I think it is a trick question. Why do you want to tell people your weakness?
    It's not a trick or a trap; it's a question that is asked just to hear what the interviewee will say. It's not possible to answer this question accurately unless you also gives the context(s) in which you feel that you are weak. A weakness in one situation might be a strength in another. For example, determination, ingenuity, and compassion are all strengths in some situations and weaknesses in others.
  • druid318druid318 Member Posts: 85 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I think honesty is always best. Try to give them weakness that they should have already seen in your resume.
  • mrjmrj Member Posts: 85 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I'll have to be honest here and say that I'm quite the perfectionist. Sometimes I expect too much out of myself and my teammates.


    /hired
  • mrjmrj Member Posts: 85 ■■□□□□□□□□
    druid318 wrote:
    I think honesty is always best. Try to give them weakness that they should have already seen in your resume.

    The question is in regards to your personality/preferences, not your work/education history.

    They're not asking if your weakness is Javascript. They're looking for the "Well, I'm horrible under pressure...," individuals.
  • draineydrainey Member Posts: 261
    It's all about the response. No one is perfect so to say you really don't have any weaknesses is not going to go over well. It's not about the job requirements either, if they didn't think you could do or learn the job they wouldn't be interviewing you. They want to jet a sample of your personality and see if you can be honest as well.

    Use the I'm a perfectionist, or I can't stop working on a problem until I solve it, etc. It doesn't require admitting you don't know something and gives you a chance to put a positive spin on it. I expect myself (and team) to go beyond expectations which results in top quality work (the perfectionist), I miss out on relaxing (and family time) but I find an answer to the problem and can get the business processes going again, etc.

    That's what they want to hear -- that you have faults but can still take care of business.
    The irony truly is strange that you're the only one you can change. -- Anthony Gomes
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