The first thing to recognise is why interviewers ask this question. Ultimately, they want to know how aware you are of your development areas, how you feel about you "weaknesses", and whether those "weaknesses" are red flags :)
I advise my clients to:
- Answer honestly & directly... but not too honestly (this is not a confessional :)). Interviewers can tell if you're being ingenuine and know when you're trying to cover up your weaknesses. For example, "I work too hard" is not a weakness so don't say that. And don't say something that will obviously be a complete deal-breaker.
- Pick a "weakness" that is important for consultants to have. i.e. it should be relevant to the role. Saying you want to be a better investor is not relevant to the role. However, saying you could be better at managing your time is something that is relevant to being a consultant
- Show that you have already worked on this "weakness" and have a plan to improve it even more. Interviewers want just want to see that you have "weaknesses" (they already know you do because we ALL have weaknesses). They want to see that you're the sort of person who is doing something about it to improve yourself because as a consultant, you have to be open to feedback and take steps to address that feedback.
Here's an example of what this might sound like (remember, this is just an example that demonstrates an example that is direct, honest, relevant, and improvement-focused. You will need to cater this to yourself:
- "A weakness of mine is my ability to present confidently in situations where I'm less familiar with the topic. This stems from a complete fear of presenting just a few years ago, which I worked on through the support of my colleagues and by putting myself in situations where I had no choice but to present, get feedback, and then refine and try again. So I feel like I've already come a long way. The work I'd done preparing myself for these interviews have helped me gain additional communication skills to improve how I feel presenting less familiar topics, but it is still an ongoing effort, which I continue to work on."
Hope this helps! Get in touch directly to get some specific practice in.