Any tips on how to answer "what is your greatest weakness" interview question?

FIT Personalfit
New answer on Sep 02, 2019
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Aug 27, 2019

Is it okay to use one of the following to answer it
- Self-critical

- Too competitive

- Take on too much responsability

If not, can you please suggest other options that could be a good answer for this question?

Thanks

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Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Aug 28, 2019
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.700+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

I would structure the answer to this question as follows:

  1. Say which is a "good" weakness, that is, a weakness which is neither a red flag for consulting nor a point of strength presented as a weakness;
  2. Say what you are doing to improve on it, giving a concrete example (eg, don’t simply say “I am working on it”, but rather “I am doing XYZ and ABC in order to get better at this”).

Too competitive may be perceived as a red flag – you need to be a team player in consulting. Taking too much responsibility seems instead a point of strength presented as a weakness.

The best way to find a “good” weakness is to avoid standard ones such as public speaking. Rather, go through the following approach to identify real weaknesses:

  1. Write down a list of all your weaknesses
  2. Eliminate those who are red flags in consulting (all those you may not be able to change quickly or ever – eg no strong education background/ relevant experience - or clear problems in consulting – eg missing deadlines, poor communication with teammates, not being on time)
  3. Think of how you could improve for the ones remaining. Select the best three and apply the previous structure

This allows to have “natural” weaknesses which show personal improvement.

For more help on the typical behavioural questions asked in consulting interviews please feel free to PM me.

Best,

Francesco

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V replied on Aug 30, 2019

!. Create a list of your weaknesses. Be honest.

2. Cross out "red flags" weaknesses for consultant (bad with numbers, low stress resistance, etc.)

3. Cross out weaknesses that makes you look like you promoting yourself (perfectionist, too responsible, etc.)

4. Cross out weaknesses that are irrelevant for consulting job (can't make myself to go to gym, afraid to perform on big stages, etc.)

5. From the rest options, pick the ones where you can show that you work on it. It's important to show that you not only know your weaknesses, but you doing specific actions to improve it.

6. Try your answer on case partner/ coach. Correct it if needed.

Best!

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Sidi
Expert
replied on Aug 28, 2019
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 300+ candidates secure MBB offers

Please ignore all the bullsh*t advice you can find in typical interview preparation books! Just reflect and come up with a REAL weakness. Explain it to the interviewer (ideally with a little anecdote that illustrates it), and then outline how you are working on it and how you intend to further improve going forward. That's it! What you need to demonstrate is the ability to self-reflect. Coming up with a fake answer will do nothing but sabotage yourself.

Cheers, Sidi

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Astrid
Admin
replied on Sep 02, 2019
PrepLounge Head of Product & Marketing

Hi there,

Welcome to PrepLounge and thanks for asking your question on our Consulting Q&A.

Have you already checked out our new feature Self Study Mode?

You can find a number of personal fit questions such as "What do you consider to be your weaknesses?" including best practice answers by our experts.

Maybe this helps you for your further practice.

We wish you a great case prep!

Best,

Astrid

PrepLounge Community Management

PrepLounge Consulting Q&A Forum

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Anonymous B replied on Aug 27, 2019

The most important thing I can tell you is this: be honest. Don't go in there and blurt out a "fake weakness" like a lot of people try to do. For example, when people say they work too hard or that they are too much of a perfectionist. Having interviewed people myself before (disclaimer: for non-consulting jobs), when candidates would do this it would just make me cringe.

It is OK to show that you are human, to talk about what your real weaknesses may be. That being said, because this is an interview, it is also important to show that you are actively trying to overcome your weaknesses on a day to day basis. My advice here would be to be ready to provide in-depth examples of ways in which you are addressing your weaknesses every day and the progress you have made so far.

In my humble opinion, making progress on a real weakness and showing commitment to change is much more powerful than appearing to be perfect.

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Lin replied on Aug 28, 2019

While it is important to be honest, you should, at the very least, avoid mentioning characterisitcs that are vital in the industry field as your weaknesses. If you apply for consulting roles, do not say you have poor communication skills, or you hate numbers. You may risk leaving a negative first impression even though you manage to explain how you try to improve afterwards.

Hope it helps!

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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