What's your biggest weakness? Now, what would you say if a prospective employer asked you that in an interview? There are some fantastic answers which will see you stand out among the competition, However, as one Reddit user has discovered, there are all sorts of other answers that will make you stand out for all the wrong reasons.
The user, humansof, asked people what the best answer would be to the interview question, 'What's your biggest weakness?' The question produced a couple of terrible examples from people who had actually heard other interviewees using them. These included the man who declared that he had no weaknesses - at which point the interviewer rolled his eyes.
Another recruiter answered: "I had a man answer with "women" then proceed to tell me he got caught cheating by his wife. That was not the right answer."
There were, of course, plenty of people who responded to the post with humour. One suggested saying "Singing, definitely singing, but I promise if I work here I won't sing, so it's all good." Another ventured: "People say I can be condescending. That's when you talk down to people." And another answered that candidates could try saying: "What an interesting question. You go first."
The most common 'sensible answer' is "I'm a workaholic", "I have trouble saying no" or "I'm a perfectionist". However, the users didn't recommend these, are they are now such cliches, and are patently people trying to use the opportunity to brag about how hard they work.
There were some people who suggested listing a weakness which wouldn't make any difference in your role. A receptionist for example, could say that they don't enjoy travelling for work. However, there were plenty of others who pointed out that this sort of answer might be frustrating for an interviewer - and frustrating the interviewer isn't usually a good idea.
The wisest suggestions came from those who broke down the reason why interviewers ask the question. One pointed out: "Realistically, there is no "best" answer. I do a lot of hiring and frankly as long as the answer seems sincere and not generic it's OK. Interviewers aren't really interested in the answer itself but how you react to the question and your ability to think on your feet."
Others suggested that anything could work, as long as you could indicate that you have recognised the weakness, have been working on it, and have made progress.
And some added that it was usually best to pick something skills-based, so that you could highlight that you want to learn the skill, and eliminate your weakness.
Of course, this overlooks the fact that most of your interviewer's decision will have nothing to do with your answers - and come down to your shoes, your accent and your suit. However, it's still probably best if you can avoid scuppering your chances with an ill-considered response.
But what do you think? What's your best answer to this question? Let us know in the comments.