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It is occasionally suggested for interviews…”What is your greatest weakness?”

I occasionally sit in on job interview or performance review panels as well as having been subject to my own annual performance reviews. I am glad, for the right reasons, that this question never arises. It seems to appear frequently in interview guides, however.

My answer, if asked, would be “The ability to see the hidden agenda behind such a question and play it to my advantage.” Some would see that as a strength, not a weakness. If you’re looking for solid, open and honest teamwork, however, the question sets both the interview panel and candidate/colleague up for something less than the team can be.

What is the purpose of the question? If to encourage improved performance there are a range of more collaborative questions that lead to goal setting, skill  acquisition and self-management.

It is a lazy question – best crossed out of the HR literature.