Everyone likes to talk about their successes — the things that make us feel positive about ourselves and put us in a good light with admissions committees. However, you must be prepared to face your weaknesses, because you may encounter questions about them in your application and/or interview.
To answer weakness questions, you will first need to identify your flaws (we are all fallible human beings) and write or discuss what you did to improve on them — and detail the successes you had in addressing those deficiencies.
Following are five ways to help you consider and assess your weaknesses and be ready to write about them in your personal statement or talk about them in an interview:
1. Have your answer ready beforehand.
When the interviewer asks the inevitable question, “Tell me about your weaknesses and how you conquered them,” you don’t want to sit there looking the interviewer blankly in the face or blurt out an inappropriate answer. You can’t take back your answer once you respond! Practicing your answers in a mock interview is a great way to practice and get your responses to flow easily and naturally.
2. Respond honestly.
If you have problems with time management, share your methods for getting assignments in on time. If you were fired, talk about what you learned from this event and how you dealt with it. Don’t be defensive. Don’t beat around the bush. Just give the straightforward facts. Be honest with yourself and with the admissions committee. You will be a more impressive candidate if you discuss your weaknesses truthfully and talk about the tactics you used to turn them into strengths.
3. Stay on the subject.
Be sure that you only discuss weaknesses that are related to work or your profession. Be sure that everything you discuss is appropriate, and stay away from your personal life.
4. Concentrate on yourself.
This is not the time to blame others for your being fired or to describe the ways your coworkers annoy you. Your essay or interview is not an opportunity for a gripe session. You need to focus on YOUR weaknesses and not on the part you believe others played in them.
5. Take care of your problems before you address them in an application or interview.
If you have poor grades in important classes, take additional classes to bring up your GPA, then describe how you were able to improve the second time around. Overcome your shyness by joining a public speaking group. These proactive steps will show the admissions committee that you understand your weaknesses and that you’re taking steps to ameliorate them.
Do you need help identifying or discussing your weaknesses? Check out Accepted’s Interview Packages and practice your answers with a business school admissions expert who will help you get ACCEPTED.