Answered by Stephanie, Hiring Expert at AT&T Inc., on Thursday, August 18, 2016
I don't love this question. As a recruiter, as a candidate, doesn't matter, I just don't know if I truly believe it is a good indicator of how someone deals with their personal challenges or reacts under pressure. That having been said, it most definitely ends up getting asked more times than not. So good on you for getting yourself ready to answer it!
Ok, weakness, what does it mean? Personal weakness, work weakness, education weakness, experience weakness? Do you see where I'm headed here? It can mean so many things. So pick one that you feel comfortable talking about.
Offer the weakness.
Talk about a situation.
Talk about how you managed that situation.
Talk about how you would manage it better in the future.
You are demonstrating self-awareness, the ability to overcome adversity and potentially showing how you think creatively when you need to.
You can do this!
We've also pulled in the response from a peer, Bryan Opat:
It’s true, that tiny question is enough to cause large amounts of anxiety for most candidates. After all, who really wants to admit they have some kind of flaw in an interview? But, if you approach it with the right mindset, maybe you’ll see the opportunity to shine with your response.
In most sales positions, the aspiration to learn and having an incredible work ethic can be just as strong - if not stronger - indicators for success than simply saying you have sales experience. Don’t focus on the lack of sales a weakness necessarily, instead focus on selling the skills you do have that make for a great sales person - tenacity, perseverance, and resilience to name a few.
Recruiters and hiring managers want to hear that you’re human, learn from your experiences, and that you can build on those experiences. All of that requires getting you to admit you’re fallible - at least a little. For instance, maybe you say yes too often and recognize the need to say no. That’s not so terrible, but you need to be open about how you recognize the need to find balance with deliverables and what steps you’ve taken to get better at prioritizing the work you accept. Bingo - your recruiter sees you already recognize and are on top of this particular weakness and probably sees it as a non-issue overall.
Good luck with your interview, and remember to sell those qualities that make a person great in sales!