Get hired! Your questions answered

For Laurie Smith it was advice with that common interview question: 'What is your weakness?' 5 tips on landing the right one.

1 of 5
Acing an interview
Acing an interview
Laurie Smith, 39, is from Northport, Ala.
Question: I have been struggling with one of the most common interview questions. It is "what is my weakness." I have no clue what to say to this and still have a chance at being hired. Any ideas? Thanks for your help! --Laurie Smith

Answer: Our experts agree that contrary to popular belief, hiring managers don't want to hear how you can spin this question into a positive. Don't say "I'm such a hard worker," says Barbara Safani, president of Career Solvers in New York, "be authentic but at the same time choose something that's not damaging to your candidacy."

Career and Business Consultant Kathy Robinson recommends picking a weakness that does not have direct impact on the job. "Pick something that is true, but isn't so awful." For example, accounting candidates should not say that they're no good at Excel, but rather "say you're not good at public speaking, and say I've been working on it."

The best answers indicate that you are developing your skills. The interviewer is looking for two things, Robinson said. One is that the person is self-reflective and two is that they can let their guard down. "Saying I'm a perfectionist just comes across as glib."
NEXT: Free resume help
Last updated March 22 2009: 9:16 AM ET
More Galleries
10 of the most luxurious airline amenity kits When it comes to in-flight pampering, the amenity kits offered by these 10 airlines are the ultimate in luxury More
7 startups that want to improve your mental health From a text therapy platform to apps that push you reminders to breathe, these self-care startups offer help on a daily basis or in times of need. More
5 radical technologies that will change how you get to work From Uber's flying cars to the Hyperloop, these are some of the neatest transportation concepts in the works today. More

Special Offer

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.