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What is a good answer to the question "What are your weaknesses?"?

Anonymous A asked on Oct 15, 2019 - 5 answers

I have often struggled with this question in interviews. I once said something around taking too much on my plate, saying yes to too many things. However, it wasn't received very well (although it was genuine). Could you please help me understand what weaknesses are "good" to talk about in interviews?

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Udayan
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replied on Oct 15, 2019
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To add to the points already here, some things to keep in mind

1. Be genuine : I cannot tell you the number of times I hear things like I take on too much work or I like being perfect in my outcome. These dodge the real question which is what do you need to work on to improve. No one is perfect so giving the impression that you are is not helpful. Some examples I did like include - I can be reserved/shy especially in group settings and the way I am approaching that is to do xx and yy. That shows both self awareness and genuine desire to improve on your weaknesses. You need to spend actual time thinking through your weaknesses and finding those that are genuine. Make sure you run the answer a few times past a friend or someone in the industry to get their feedback.

2. Think about how best to phrase it - don't just state a weakness, give the context as to how you learned about it (maybe at a review, maybe someone told you that), the impact it had on you and how you are addressing it

3. To re-iterate do not pick ones that are crucial to consulting such as - not enjoying working in a team environment, not good at analysis etc.

All the best,

Udayan

Francesco
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replied on Oct 31, 2019
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Hi Anonymous,

the general structure to keep for this question is the following:

  1. Say which is a "good" weakness, that is, a weakness which is not a red flag (you may also use terminology as “One of my points of improvement”, instead of “My first weakness is” to soften it a bit);
  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 in this”).

You can find a detailed discussion on this at the following link:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/what-are-your-weaknesses-317

Best,

Francesco

Vlad
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replied on Oct 15, 2019
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Hi,

I recommend using two things:

  • Anything that can be easily improved in consulting
  • Anything that can not impact your job

Don't use as a weakness anything that can prevent you from doing your job

Best

Matthieu
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updated his answer on Oct 15, 2019
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Hello Anonymous.

I like asking this question in interview, and your answer is quite a common answer in terms of content. However, what I look for with this question is more "how you deal with this weakness and what are your mitigation ways". Remember you are hired to sloved problem. Here your weakness " I take too much on my plate" is actually a problem and will be a problem once a consultant. Your answer should be structured as follow:

- I tend to take too much on my plate, for example, during my last internship ....

- I realize that this could be a problem and I know that it is crucial to prioritize and manage your timing if you are a consultant

- I discussed it with my manager during my internship and I decided to do a 10min touchpoint with him every day in order to prioritize my action plan and make sure my workload was sustainable and accurate with the project priorities...

See the idea ?

Hope this help

Matthieu

(edited)

Robert
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Hi Anonymous,

The main idea how to answer this question consists of a weakness which

  1. Is not mission-critical for a consultant (like not able to travel on plane, not liking to talk with people, .....................)
  2. you could already improve in the past from a previous weakness to a current strength (or at least neutral topic), which you can also describe with specific examples and learning process how you improved.

By that, you also show your ability to reflect on your weak points and improve with specific action plans.

Hope that helps!

Robert

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