What's your greatest weakness? Here's how to respond

An applicant prepares for an interview at the University of Mumbai's Garware Institute of Career Education and Development in India. Photo by: Prashant Panjiar / AIF

While a job interview is an opportunity for you to further impress an employer and demonstrate what you are good at doing, the interviewer will also be looking to find out what you are not so good at doing. Interview questions addressing your greatest weakness or mistakes can be particularly daunting and difficult to answer and interviewers end up hearing a lot of “humble bragging” and disingenuous self-evaluations as a result.

Devex spoke to global development recruiters to find out which type of questions they might ask in an interview, what they look for in an answer, and what personal qualities they expect a candidate to demonstrate. As with all interview questions, preparation is key.

Here are a few additional tips from global development recruiters on how you should talk about your greatest weakness in an interview.

Prepare a few examples

Interviewers will often ask a candidate to describe a situation where they faced a challenge or they made a mistake. Here they are looking for the candidate to give them concrete examples. Before the interview, identify and write down some key situations that you will be able to easily recall, suggests Hillary Jenkins, leadership recruiter at World Vision International. You could tell the interviewer about a time you went above and beyond your prescribed duties, experienced conflict with a coworker or manager, or were able to overcome an obstacle, she explains.

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About the author

  • Emma smith

    Emma Smith

    Emma Smith is a reporting and communications associate at Devex, based in Barcelona. She focuses on bringing the latest career and hiring trends, tips, and insights to our global development community. Emma has a background in journalism and, in addition to writing for news publications, has worked with organizations focusing on child rights and women’s rights in sustainable development.