Here's What An Interviewer Really Means When They Ask 'What Is Your Greatest Weakness?

In interviews, some questions are strategically placed to either make or break a job candidate.

Brainteaser questions are meant to see if you can think on your feet. Situational questions are supposed to reveal your problem-solving abilities. 

To adequately provide answers, you need to understand why the questions are asked, says Richard N. Bolles in his book "What Color Is Your Parachute? 2014 Edition: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers.

"Throughout the interview, keep in mind that employers don't really care about your past. They only ask about it in order to try to predict your future (behavior) with them if they decide to hire you," he writes.

"Before you answer the question the employer asks, you should pause to think, 'What fear about the future caused them to ask this question about my past?'"

In his book, Bolles provides explanations behind why the common questions below are asked:

Interview questions

"Tell me about yourself."

Why the question is asked: The employer is afraid there is something wrong with you and is hoping you will blurt it out.

"What kind of work are you looking for?"

Why the question is asked: The employer is afraid that you are looking for a job different than the position they are trying to fill. For example, the company may be looking for an assistant and they can tell from your answer whether you'll be OK doing admin work or if you actually aspire to be an office supervisor.

"Why did you leave your last job?" or "How did you get along Why the question is asked: The employer is afraid you don't get along well with people, especially bosses, and is just waiting for you to "bad-mouth" your previous boss or coworkers as proof of that.

"How is your health?" or "How much were you absent from work during your last job?"

Why the question is asked: The employer is afraid you'll be absent from Careers More: Interview Questions Job Hunting Employment
by Vivian Giang


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