Worst Answers To ‘What’s Your Greatest Weakness?’ And Other Common Interview Questions

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Despite all the improvements and changes in the job search process, certain aspects of the interview process stay the same. If you want to be successful in your job hunt, you must be able to answer these questions correctly, as companies and their hiring teams continue to utilize those standard interview questions to assess how well candidates would fit into their organizations. And, perhaps more importantly, you must avoid the following blunders—the worst possible responses to these queries.

1. Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Your answer might feel appealing and satisfying to you, but it is a tough question to answer succinctly. And it’s especially crucial because it frequently kicks off and sets the tone for the interview. The following are the most typical errors made while answering this question: recounting the tale of your life

  • Talking about your interests and hobbies
  • Revealing personal life matters
  • Asking, “Well, what do you want to know?”

All of the aforementioned replies won’t help you make a good first impression since they don’t fit the question’s main goal: to determine if you know the abilities and experience you’ll need to succeed in the position you’re looking for.


2. What is your biggest flaw?

Candidates continue to be stumped by this common interview question, as it has more meaning to it than it may appear. The issue is that the vast majority of applicants answer in one of the following unfavorable scenarios:

  • Displaying both strengths and flaws
  • Emphasizing perfectionism and hard work in the face of challenges in recognizing flaws with little room for improvement

There are three essential traits interviewers seek when they ask this question: self-awareness, honesty, and the capability to develop oneself. None of the mentioned replies provide evidence of these characteristics.

3. Could you explain why you have a gap in your work history?

First of all, keep in mind that it’s quite alright to have a gap on your resume, and most individuals do so for a variety of reasons. Candidates frequently believe they need to cover their gaps, so they end up saying something that isn’t true, which is why this question may appear so hard to some. But on the contrary, honesty is the key to answering this question, and you don’t have to divulge too much. The worst potential responses to this question are those that show difficulties with confrontation, aggressiveness, or misconduct. Consider the following scenario:

  • “I was dismissed from my prior employment for no reason, so I sued them and filed a lawsuit against them.”
  • “I resigned from my last job because my boss was a jerk, and I couldn’t wait to get out of there.”
  • “I was in between jobs at the time, so I didn’t do anything.”
  • “My last employment did not work out; in fact, my supervisor made a huge mistake when he fired me.”

It’s critical to avoid bad-mouthing anyone and to highlight anything you accomplished during your gap that could be relevant to the position you’re looking for or your career in general when answering this inquiry. As a result, you may include any online courses you’ve taken or side businesses you’ve created. Just don’t bring up how many Netflix movies you’ve watched.

4. In five years, where do you see yourself?

Remember that heart-breaking scene in Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway’s film “The Intern”, in which 70-year-old job-seeking Ben (played by De Niro) is asked this question during the interview? That scene illustrates the solely feasible circumstance when there is no good solution to this issue. To put it another way, there is always an answer to this.

It is unavoidable, you must answer this. And never give a generic explanation that has nothing to do with the current situation, such as:

    • “I have no idea—that’s a long time!”
    • “One day, I’d like to establish my own business.”
    • “I can imagine myself in your position.”

These responses will be viewed as sloppy and irrelevant, and will most certainly put an end to your candidacy.

5. How much do you anticipate getting paid?

This cunningly smart question is frequently asked early in the process to avoid wasting time on a candidate who demands more money than can be provided. The poorest responses to this question are either devoid of evidence or a poor attempt to avoid providing a specific figure altogether:

  • “I’m not sure. What do you have to offer?”
  • “How much does this job pay on average?”
  • “I’ll set you back a little more than a typical employee in this job.”
  • “You won’t be sorry for a penny; I’m well worth it.”
Sure, you don’t want to be the one to bring up money—let hiring managers and recruiters do that—but since pay will come up at some point, you should be prepared with a clear, acceptable amount or range in mind.
So, do your homework, find out what the market pay is for the position, and consider what you’d actually need in terms of money to be happy in the position.
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