It's the classic interview question: What are your weaknesses? Hiring managers can use the answer to this query to determine your confidence, your knowledge of the job and your problem-solving skills. While it may be tempting to answer with, "I'm too much of a perfectionist" or some other carefully crafted spin, you're better off answering honestly and showing how you've worked to overcome your flaws.
At one time, career coaches recommended answering this question by offering the interviewer a quality that's really a strength, such as "I'm a workaholic" or "I'm too detail oriented." But hiring managers are now on to this tactic, so make an honest assessment of your weaknesses before the interview and craft a believable answer. Think about things you've been criticized for in the past. If you haven't received much feedback from previous managers, consider taking an online career test to find areas where you might improve.
Know the Job
Be honest when describing your faults, but don't shoot yourself in the foot by admitting to flaws that will eliminate you for consideration. If you're interviewing for a job as a proofreader, you don't want to admit to having poor grammar and spelling skills. Instead, pick something unrelated to the role you're seeking. Those interviewing for a job as a nurse are probably safe picking a skill that's unrelated to nursing, like public speaking, for example.
The most important point to make when answering the weaknesses question is that you're working to address your weakness. The manager expects you to have flaws. The important thing is that you're self-aware enough to know your deficits and proactive enough to work on correcting them. For example, if you're naturally disorganized, explain how you've moved past that and solved the problem, whether by using color-coded file folders or exhaustive lists.
Know what you're going to say when asked about your weakness, but don't overprepare, or your answer will sound canned and insincere. Stick to work-related weaknesses -- your employer doesn't want to hear drama from you personal life. Be as positive as possible when talking about your faults -- career expert Alison Doyle even recommends avoiding the word "weakness" when giving your answer.