What are your weaknesses?

That’s a common interview question, huh? I’ve got some pretty snarky answers but I’m not sure any are appropriate for HR or a hiring manager (For example, “one of my weaknesses is burning bacon, I’m dangerous in a kitchen”). I’ve been doing some introspection lately and I have a new answer prepared for this question should it come up at an interview or in the context of a performance review or at a dinner out with friends so I won’t have to say something lame and generic like, “I work too hard”. 😉

If asked, I would say my weakness is really more of an area of continuous development. I am overly-enthusiastic and a huge Type A person so I constantly have to audit my communications to make sure I am not 1) giving too much away 2) muddling things with extra details or 3) overpowering others. This is especially important when I send email to my sites or business colleagues. I try to keep email correspondence succinct and use bulleted or numbered lists when I am seeking clarification on multiple points. In a team context, I make an effort to listen to other’s input before I jump in and offer my $.02 so that way less emotive folks can contribute to problem resolution. Finally, in a negotiation, you always have the most power when you can sit silently and take in all the information. I like to slow down and thoughtfully consider things rather than always acting impulsively.

So I think this is a good answer because I am describing something that I can control and work on. I am demonstrating self-awareness and goal-driven behavior; I think both of those skills are important to hone and develop. If I said, “I am short” I couldn’t exactly do much about that other than wear high heels so I think it is a poor answer to the question (I’m actually tall, but you get my point).

Let me know what you think of my new answer and it’s Friday so if you are feeling slap-sticky send me an email or post some outrageous answers you would love to give to this question.

About The Author

The Lead CRA

Nadia started The Lead CRA blog in 2007. She is now lead author for ClinOps Toolkit. Nadia is currently working as a Clinical Program Manager at a small specialty pharmaceutical company in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can reach Nadia via email at leadcra@clinopstoolkit.com anytime.