One can argue that the worst interview question to be asked is the one you didn’t prepare to answer. Obviously, the perception of what is a bad question varies from candidate to candidate. Some people are experts at answering situational questions. Others are great at answering questions that help them sell themselves. And some people are just not great at interviews.
The truth is some job interview questions are better to ask than others. As HR consultants, we’ve noticed there is one question that most people will agree is the worst interview question:
“What is your greatest weakness?”
1. Why is this the worst interview question?
This is a terrible interview question for a number of reasons:
- You are not going to learn much about the candidate.
- Most candidates make up answers to this question.
- Candidates prepare specifically for the question. Many people used canned responses they find online.
- The question doesn’t give you a sense of the person’s credentials or skills other than how they answer the question.
- Most interviewers don’t have a specific objective or answer they are looking for.
2. How to Answer “What Is Your Greatest Weakness?”
One of the difficulties about this question is there are so many approaches you can take. In general, here are some things to consider when formulating an answer:
- Answer honestly. Avoid lying or using a response you found online.
- Show self-awareness that you realize you have weaknesses.
- Never say you don’t have any weaknesses.
- Make the answer specific to you – avoid an overly generic response.
- Include details about the steps you are taking or the steps you plan to take to overcome the weakness(es) you stated.
There is really no perfect answer to this question or way to approach it. The key is to be honest and be yourself. With that being said, it’s also important not to take yourself out of contention for the job. You don’t want to mention a weakness or flaw that could cause the interviewer to question your candidacy.
3. Other Worst Interview Questions
Here are a few other bad interview questions that you will likely encounter:
- Tell me about yourself
- Why should I hire you?
- If I talked to your last boss, what would they say about you?
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?