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When an interviewer asks about weaknesses, a candidate may panic, lose confidence in himself and risk blowing the whole interview. While most people do not want to discuss their faults with a potential employer, you can actually use these type of interview questions to your advantage. By preparing ahead of time and answering carefully, you can make your weaknesses sound like strengths, or at least manageable quirks that shouldn't keep you from getting that new job.
Write down a list of weaknesses you have before your interview. Think of two to five weak spots you are comfortable discussing with a potential employer. Some employers will simply ask you to name a few weaknesses you have. For example, an employer may ask you, "What are your weaknesses?"
Devise an action plan for addressing your weak spots. Select a weak spot from your list and write down a brief explanation of how that affects your professional life. Repeat for every weakness on your list.
Write down an example of how you improved on your weakness for each item on your list. You want to show the interviewer that you can overcome any weakness you may have. Think of a specific example from your professional life. Repeat this process for every weakness you have.
Review your notes before your interview. Practice speaking in a relaxed and conversation tone. Speak clearly and confidently when responding to questions.
Pause for several seconds after the interviewer ask you a question. This will give the interviewer the impression that you are answering spontaneously. After a brief pause, answer the question using the material you came up with before the interview.
Answer any follow-up questions the interviewer has. He may ask you to elaborate on an example, or explain how you think your weaknesses will affect your job performance with the company. Keep each answer brief and honest.
Do not try to spin your answer by making positive traits look like a weakness. For example, if you say you only have a weakness for working too hard, the interviewer may not take you seriously.
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Amelia Jenkins has more than eight years of professional writing experience, covering financial, environmental and travel topics. Her work has appeared on MSN and various other websites and her articles have topped the best-of list for sites like Bankrate and Kipplinger. Jenkins studied English at Tarrant County College.