Business executives go through interviews just like entry-level employees, except these interviews are more in depth. Even executives have to answer the often-dreaded question, "What is your greatest weakness?" If you're in line for a c-suite job, discover four tips for answering this question.
Leverage Your Experience
Business executives typically sit on both sides of an interview many times throughout their careers, so they have a unique perspective of being on the giving and receiving end of the greatest weakness question. Leverage this experience into your answer. You know what authentic, honest answers sound like when you give an interview. You must also recognize that your strengths outweigh your weaknesses simply because you got this far up the career ladder by tapping into your strong points. Honesty and using your strengths are both tenets you should use as you approach the following four guidelines.
1. Own Your Greatest Weakness
Own up to your weaknesses, but understand where they really come from in a work setting. For example, you might find that impatience is your top weakness. You might recognize that your impatience comes from a lack of tolerance for other people's unpreparedness. Perhaps you find that when someone isn't ready for a business meeting, you get perturbed. Those interviewing you can likely relate to this aspect of your leadership style and understand what you're going through. This understanding leads to higher marks with your interviewers.
2. Talk About Strengths
Talk about specific strengths that help you overcome your greatest weakness. Although you are impatient, you can say you prepare yourself for meetings in great detail as a way to offset any employees who aren't ready. You have a plan in place for meetings that follows a precise agenda, and you have copious notes about how to proceed when others don't pull their weight.
3. Stay Mindful to Prevent Issues
Everyone has weaknesses, but the key for you is to create workarounds that lessen any problems that come about due your shortcomings. If you're impatient, consider checking in with every employee before meetings to make sure they know what you expect. Tell others exactly what you require of them. Having clear expectations eventually leads to trusting others, which is necessary when it comes to leadership.
4. Build Partnerships
Surround yourself with people who have strengths that offset your greatest weakness. If you have trouble getting people to come to meetings or you simply don't have time to organize a meeting ahead of time, have one of your trusted managers talk to your employees to make sure everyone has a specific role to fulfill. Oftentimes, collaborating with those around you is the key to getting things done.
When talking about your greatest weakness, make sure it's relevant to your job, and be ready to explain how you get around it. Your process for accomplishing this must be clear, because your weaknesses become more magnified the higher you climb up the corporate ladder.
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