Hiring Interviews: #HR Please Replace the Weakness Question w/ This

Hiring Interviews: The Weakness of the Weakness Question

As I read yet another article on how to respond to the classic interview question What’s Your Weakness, I was struck by the mis-logic behind this question.


Here’s the troublesome hiring belief:

“If the candidate has made it to this point in the interview process, I have already assessed them, which means that I have a good idea of what their weaknesses are. I just want to know if they know it too.”


Hiring Interview Question: Image is an Optical Illusion

Hiring Interview Question: Matter of Perspective

Wait a minute. A weakness is not a fact. It is defined by the situation.

Weakness is one setting is a strength in another.

In an entrepreneurial culture, freewheeling creative bursts are a strength. In a structured procedural culture, they are seen as a lack of focus — i.e. a weakness. It’s all in how your look at it. It is a matter of seeing — not knowing.


The logic gap is that you are expecting job applicants — from the outside — to see things exactly the way you do from the inside!


Also, choosing and using the word weakness broadcasts a negative culture.  Top talent often want to work in a positive environment that sees and embraces diverse views! They may reject your employment offer.

Hiring: Replace the Weakness Question w/ This

“Given what you know about our company and culture, which of your skills and behaviors would you change and improve to be of greatest value to us?”

Advantage of This Hiring Question

  • Its clarity shows good faith and removes the ‘trick question’ feeling of mistrust.
  • It is has a positive focus (improvement) vs. a negative one (weakness) and still determines whether the job applicants are self-aware.
  • It allows job applicants to position self-improvement as a commitment to your company. This is a one great way to see how committed they are to change and growth.
  • It positions your company as smart and open-minded instead of arrogant and close-minded.

Words matter. Questions matter. They communicate beliefs.

In your hiring interviews, what do your questions say about your company? Hopefully that you are aware of diversity in the world and pose questions to find the best fit for your company!

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

Related post: Leaders & Managers: Proving Need Not Stop the Improving

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results. Kate also invites you to connect with her on Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. She welcomes your interaction!

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