How to Deal with the Biggest Weakness Question

bankerella's picture
Rank: Neanderthal | 2,186

Mod Notes (Andy): this was originally posted on 9/26/12

Interviewer: "So... what's your biggest weakness?"

To be honest, I think the biggest weakness question is one of the most bullshit questions you can get during an interview. But people keep asking it, so you've got to have a strategy. There are some shops/industries where the best strategy is truth. In most banking/PE interviews, not so much.

My favorite way to answer the biggest weakness question is to imagine the interviewer at their job and think about what they would relate to most strongly. Then I build an answer starting with, "I get impatient/frustrated when...."

You want to pick a problem that is endemic to the industry and essentially unsolvable. One of those things people just have to live with.

You want them to think, "Yeah, that frustrates me all the time too." It sends the signal that you're at least aware of the challenges, which puts you ahead of many candidates.

So say I'm talking to a VP. VPs spend their lives as the axis between senior bankers and analysts/associates. If they ask what my biggest weakness is, I might say, "I get a little impatient when things take longer than I think they should. That would be fine, except it turns out the timeline I have in my mind for something is usually pretty optimistic. This is something I'm aware of and working on. So ideally in the future all my expectations would be realistic and I would do a good job of communicating them to the senior guys so there are no surprises."

Say I'm talking to an associate. Then it might be: "I get a little impatient when I need to teach people who are new to the game. Coaching's important, and in order to build a strong team I know we need to get people up the curve quickly. In the past I've occasionally let coaching slide in order to hit a tight deadline, but in the future I know I need to make time to teach people how to do something rather than churn it out quickly myself."

Say I'm talking to an analyst. "I get a little frustrated sometimes when managing multiple projects, each with separate deadlines, work flows, models, decks, and teams. Some people seem to be able to do it all in their head, but me, I've found I need a pretty strict system to keep everything on track. Let me tell you how I do it...."

Of course, this is what I say to myself in my head: "My biggest weakness is that I get really fucking impatient when fielding bullshit questions. Like this one. Next."

Perfect Way to Answer What is Your Greatest Weakness?

While there is no one right answer, there are definitely WRONG answers. For example, you don't want to touch on points that are critical to working in your profession. For example, you don't want to say - I "don't like working with others" or "struggle with quantitative analysis."

You want your weakness to be qualitative and fairly easily fixable.

bankerella - Investment Banker:

Let's be MECE about this. The weakness will be either internal or external/behavioral. Choosing a behavioral weakness shows a lack of self-control. People who can't control their behavior aren't even ready yet to start working on internal processes. So I advise you to go with internal.

If you go with internal, it's going to be either cognitive (how your brain works, how you perceive) or emotional (how you feel). It's very hard to fix a cognitive weakness. (You can't cure stupidity.) Also, banking/PE have strong biases against people with cognitive weaknesses. So I advise you to go with emotional.

Within the realm of possible emotional weaknesses, only a few are banker-friendly. You need something endemic, mild, and productive. Frustration and impatience fit the bill.

Everyone in banking/PE is dealing with frustrations every day. (Anyone below VP who says otherwise is lying.) It's something everyone can relate to. So it's not off the wall to say that you've felt it in the past and that you're working on the perfect approach/response.

Perhaps you noticed that each example outlines the mitigation approach as well as the weakness? You would obviously never just say that your weakness is that you get frustrated, full stop.

You'd say, "I sometimes get a little frustrated when I face X difficult situation, and what I do to manage/mitigate that situation is Y." What you're showing there is that you have experience managing the tensions that arise during tough situations in banking.

oreos - Hedge Fund Analyst:

I'd always go with a "compared to others" or a general weakness that we all share, such as public speaking or speaking one's mind which is a skill that is learnable. such skills/weaknesses can be evolved easily through work experience or extra curriculars. i mean through my time in the work place my ability to stand up, tell someonde they're (regardless of rank) wrong has increased dramatically.

Still need help figuring out a weakness - check out some examples below:

  • Struggle with delegation
  • Tendancy to spin your wheels without asking for help
  • Often get lost in the details and forget the big picture

Also - CNBC shared a good guide with tips on how to answer this question.

You can read more about Investment Banking Interview Questions with our Comprehensive Guide on WSO.

Decided to Pursue a Wall Street Career? Learn How to Network like a Master.

Inside the WSO Finance networking guide, you'll get a comprehensive, all-inclusive roadmap for maximizing your networking efforts (and minimizing embarrassing blunders). This info-rich book is packed with 71 pages of detailed strategies to help you get the most of your networking, including cold emailing templates, questions to ask in interviews, and action steps for success in navigating the Wall Street networking process.

Networking Guide

Comments (194)

Best Response
Sep 26, 2012

David: So, let me ask you a question right off the bat. What do you think are your greatest strengths as a manager?
Michael: Why don't I tell you what my greatest weaknesses are? I work too hard. I care too much. And sometimes I can be too invested in my job.
David: Okay. And your strengths?
Michael: Well, my weaknesses are actually... strengths.
David: Oh. Yes. Very good.
Michael: Thank you.

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

    • 4
Sep 27, 2012
AndyLouis:

David: So, let me ask you a question right off the bat. What do you think are your greatest strengths as a manager?
Michael: Why don't I tell you what my greatest weaknesses are? I work too hard. I care too much. And sometimes I can be too invested in my job.
David: Okay. And your strengths?
Michael: Well, my weaknesses are actually... strengths.
David: Oh. Yes. Very good.
Michael: Thank you.

Beautiful memories from the good ol Office days. +1

Sep 26, 2012

personally, i feel "fustrated" is a bad word to use.

Sep 26, 2012
Oreos:

personally, i feel "fustrated" is a bad word to use.

I have to agree with you there. To me that word makes it seem like you're letting whatever problem get to you

Sep 26, 2012
Oreos:

personally, i feel "fustrated" is a bad word to use.

The point of this question is that you have to say something negative about yourself. It can be a weak negative, but it must be negative.

Let's be MECE about this. The weakness will be either internal or external/behavioral. Choosing a behavioral weakness shows a lack of self-control. People who can't control their behavior aren't even ready yet to start working on internal processes. So I advise you to go with internal.

If you go with internal, it's going to be either cognitive (how your brain works, how you perceive) or emotional (how you feel). It's very hard to fix a cognitive weakness. (You can't cure stupidity.) Also, banking/PE have strong biases against people with cognitive weaknesses. So I advise you to go with emotional.

Within the realm of possible emotional weaknesses, only a few are banker-friendly. You need something endemic, mild, and productive. Frustration and impatience fit the bill.

Everyone in banking/PE is dealing with frustrations every day. (Anyone below VP who says otherwise is lying.) It's something everyone can relate to. So it's not off the wall to say that you've felt it in the past and that you're working on the perfect approach/response.

Perhaps you noticed that each example outlines the mitigation approach as well as the weakness? You would obviously never just say that your weakness is that you get frustrated, full stop.

You'd say, "I sometimes get a little frustrated when I face X difficult situation, and what I do to manage/mitigate that situation is Y." What you're showing there is that you have experience managing the tensions that arise during tough situations in banking.

I personally would be much more worried about a candidate that has never felt severe frustration before. Those poor bastards start running around with deer-in-the-headlights stares about six weeks in.

    • 2
Sep 26, 2012
bankerella:
Oreos:

personally, i feel "fustrated" is a bad word to use.

The point of this question is that you have to say something negative about yourself. It can be a weak negative, but it must be negative.

Let's be MECE about this. The weakness will be either internal or external/behavioral. Choosing a behavioral weakness shows a lack of self-control. People who can't control their behavior aren't even ready yet to start working on internal processes. So I advise you to go with internal.

If you go with internal, it's going to be either cognitive (how your brain works, how you perceive) or emotional (how you feel). It's very hard to fix a cognitive weakness. (You can't cure stupidity.) Also, banking/PE have strong biases against people with cognitive weaknesses. So I advise you to go with emotional.

Within the realm of possible emotional weaknesses, only a few are banker-friendly. You need something endemic, mild, and productive. Frustration and impatience fit the bill.

Everyone in banking/PE is dealing with frustrations every day. (Anyone below VP who says otherwise is lying.) It's something everyone can relate to. So it's not off the wall to say that you've felt it in the past and that you're working on the perfect approach/response.

Perhaps you noticed that each example outlines the mitigation approach as well as the weakness? You would obviously never just say that your weakness is that you get frustrated, full stop.

You'd say, "I sometimes get a little frustrated when I face X difficult situation, and what I do to manage/mitigate that situation is Y." What you're showing there is that you have experience managing the tensions that arise during tough situations in banking.

I personally would be much more worried about a candidate that has never felt severe frustration before. Those poor bastards start running around with deer-in-the-headlights stares about six weeks in.

good answer but i feel personal weakness is too weak. fustration is an emotion which is on the road (without sounding too Yoda) to anger etc.. Further, it can be read as a sensitivity along the lines of: "hey, my feelings are effected by others beyond my control [slight hiperbole]". Hence, i'd always go with a "compared to others" or a general weakness that we all share, such as public speaking or speaking one's mind which is a skill that is learnable. such skills/weaknesses can be evolved easily through work experience or extra curriculars. i mean through my time in the work place my ability to stand up, tell someone they're (regardless of rank) wrong has increased dramatically.

Oct 21, 2014

Thank you for breaking it down that way. It helps seeing it through the eyes of the interviewer, much appreciated.

Sep 26, 2012

Not quite on topic with your interview question, but I once interviewed at a valuation firm when I got out of the military and they asked a shitload of technical questions I didn't get and hadn't ever studied. This was back when "Friends" was still on TV or had been recently cancelled, and at one point in the interview, I told my interviewer I felt like Joey Triviani trying to answer the questions,

No idea why I said that, but the female director sitting across from me bore a freaking hole in my soul with the look she gave me. So that didn't go too well.

Jun 27, 2017

Probably because it's Tribbiani.

Array

    • 2
Sep 26, 2012

kryptonite.

    • 2
Sep 26, 2012
Febreeze:

kryptonite.

Nice. If they are going to throw you a softball... might as well hit a home run.

    • 1
Jan 6, 2016

What would the interviewer do?

Sep 4, 2014

LOLzzz

Sep 26, 2012

I thought weakness is supposed to be a "skill-related" thing? Being frustrated is simply your feelings, not how capable you are at doing something.

e.g. Being frustrated at coaching new people is your feeling; unable to coach new people because I lack communication skills is a weakness. Obviously, I'm not gonna say I lack communication skills in an actual interview. Just an example.

    • 1
Jan 6, 2016

and negate with I'm trying to learn by ......

Jan 6, 2016

Or just tell them a truth about some weakness which you can't see affecting the job too much and then tell them that you are trying to overcome this by..........

Hoope that helps.

Jan 6, 2016

yeah I think everyone who goes to interview is told to push off a strength as a witness, which gets old.

I know someone who got a job, because he was honest and told the interviewer that he wasn't a fan of Mondays. The recruiter told him that his honesty was refreshing.

Jan 6, 2016

I cracked a joke about why my best friend thinks I suck. The interviewers couldn't stop laughing for like three minutes. I got the offer. I guarantee you that recruiters get tired of hearing the same cliched answers to that and look for something extra to differentiate a 3.74 econ major with a minor in finance from a 3.70 econ major with a minor in finance

Jan 6, 2016
Salam Shpekov:

I cracked a joke about why my best friend thinks I suck. The interviewers couldn't stop laughing for like three minutes. I got the offer. I guarantee you that recruiters get tired of hearing the same cliched answers to that and look for something extra to differentiate a 3.74 econ major with a minor in finance from a 3.70 econ major with a minor in finance

Nice, mind if we know what you ended up saying? Just to get an idea.

Sep 26, 2012

I'm a bit older than some of the junior mist makers on this board so I've gone through the recruiting process (nightmare) at a number of firms (IB/PE/other institutional investors) and while I think some of OP's examples are good, they're generally BS and most experienced interviewers will recognize that. Obviously you don't want to say "I'm not detail oriented" or "I'm socially awkward" since analysts have to be attentive and no one wants to work 90+ hours with a weirdo.

I've fielded this question by saying an analysis as part of my MBA program evaluated students on a number of different personality traits and I ranked at the extreme low end for allocentrism (yes, it's good to throw around MBA jargon at any chance). In other words, I tend to think others are motivated by the same things I am - profit, nice risk-adjusted return, etc - and I have to work extra hard at understanding others' motivations. I try to address this by over-communicating, blah blah, and although I sometimes struggle with it, it's a weakness that I'm aware of, blah blah.

Kid you not, most interviewers eat that sh*t up.

    • 3
Sep 26, 2012
jr253:

I've fielded this question by saying an analysis as part of my MBA program evaluated students on a number of different personality traits and I ranked at the extreme low end for allocentrism (yes, it's good to throw around MBA jargon at any chance). In other words, I tend to think others are motivated by the same things I am - profit, nice risk-adjusted return, etc - and I have to work extra hard at understanding others' motivations. I try to address this by over-communicating, blah blah, and although I sometimes struggle with it, it's a weakness that I'm aware of, blah blah.

Kid you not, most interviewers eat that sh*t up.

love this

Jan 6, 2016

My weakness is that I tried to multi-task too many varsity sports teams in middle school and didn't get into the most prestigious highschool in the bay area?

Although, I'm interning at RS funds in San fRan as we speak.

Jan 6, 2016

You want to make your weakness sound like a positive. For example, I said in an interview once that I occasionally become too involved in my school work/work in general and unfortunately have been known to neglect my family and friends on the eve of a test or big project, or when something needed done in the office.

Jan 6, 2016
IBDilo26386:

You want to make your weakness sound like a positive. For example, I said in an interview once that I occasionally become too involved in my school work/work in general and unfortunately have been known to neglect my family and friends on the eve of a test or big project, or when something needed done in the office.

haha that's exactly what they want and you know it.

You can be honest and describe a true weakness, too. Just don't tell them you can't work more than 5hrs/day or something dumb that will obviously hurt your chances.

Jan 6, 2016
IBDilo26386:

You want to make your weakness sound like a positive. For example, I said in an interview once that I occasionally become too involved in my school work/work in general and unfortunately have been known to neglect my family and friends on the eve of a test or big project, or when something needed done in the office.

Come on, I would have nearly laughed in your face had you said that to me in an interview. Thats so transparent.

Jan 6, 2016

I think the best way is to turn a weakness into a strength (but still giving a real weakness). So don't say anything like perfectionism. That's the worst answer possible. The second worst might be procrastination, which not only is too commonplace but also a red flag for finance jobs. And don't say anything completely irrelevant either (i.e. if you're addicted to something). Remember that you can always say how you've been working on improving in the weak area.

Jan 6, 2016

this is a good question

however

they're not stupid and they know we preprared to "lie" about this question then what if they reply "working too hard sounds like a strength to me, what other weakness?" (i heard one of my friend was in that situation) how are you going to respond?

Jan 6, 2016

This was a tough question for me to answer. Find something that you're working to improve. I was always really nervous during interviews, so I always mentioned that I spoke too quickly as one of my weaknesses. I followed that up with what I was doing to work on that (picked a part-time job that involved a lot of presentations and public speaking).

Jan 6, 2016

i work at a bb and the operations people are all pretty lazy and stupid. learning to work with them is a challenge.

Jan 6, 2016

I am a regular poster here, but i changed my name for this thread, because the answer I gave is pretty unique and people know about it. When asked my biggest weakness according to my best friend was, I said that "knowing my best friend, he would probably say confidence with girls". Instant hit. One of the interviewers laughed for good 3 mins, the other one laughed for like 30 sec and managed to continue the interview, but it was pretty obvious, that, after all other factors, this pretty much nailed it. I got the offer and accepted for a top BB

Jan 6, 2016
osdekus:

When asked my biggest weakness according to my best friend was, I said that "knowing my best friend, he would probably say confidence with girls".

Damn, I would have hired you too.

My weakness is, I couldn't ever pull that off that answer with a straight face.

Jan 6, 2016
osdekus:

I am a regular poster here, but i changed my name for this thread, because the answer I gave is pretty unique and people know about it. When asked my biggest weakness according to my best friend was, I said that "knowing my best friend, he would probably say confidence with girls". Instant hit. One of the interviewers laughed for good 3 mins, the other one laughed for like 30 sec and managed to continue the interview, but it was pretty obvious, that, after all other factors, this pretty much nailed it. I got the offer and accepted for a top BB

How is confidence with girls a weakness? Or are u saying that you're NOT confident around girls?

Jan 6, 2016

How do you recover from this in a second round interview?

"After a couple of remarks you made last time, I get the feeling that you're a bit arrogant..."

Jan 6, 2016

What I overheard from a good number of people who interview summer/FT candidates where I currently work is to answer your "weakness" question with a former weakness you are currently working to improve. Shows you take initiative to correct your problems while still being honest. Also I have noticed a good number of banks have been departing from the weakness question to the "Whats your biggest regret in college?". Be prepared for that.

Jan 6, 2016

Tell them that you're not particularly good with numbers, and that you often don't pay attention to detail.

While this won't go over particularly well for a prospective intern / analyst, you might just find yourself with an offer for an MD spot.

Jan 6, 2016

Have you guys ever had that "Tell me about a time you FAILED and how you dealt with it"?

Jan 6, 2016

I got called out for giving a weakness that was really a strength. The guy leaned forward, said "Bullshit, tell me a real weakness." I later found out it was more a test of how I handle myself under pressure than really caring about a weakness.

Jan 6, 2016

Chocolate!

Jan 6, 2016

You could point a weakness out and tell them how its no longer a weakness,and how you worked on it to improve yourself

Jan 6, 2016

I always wanted to just say Kryptonite with a dead serious tone. Then just say next question just to see what the interviewer's reaction would be.

Jan 6, 2016
Texasmade:

I always wanted to just say Kryptonite with a dead serious tone. Then just say next question just to see what the interviewer's reaction would be.

lol....im going to try that at my next interview!

Jan 6, 2016
Texasmade:

I always wanted to just say Kryptonite with a dead serious tone. Then just say next question just to see what the interviewer's reaction would be.

Hillarious, I would try this if I wasnt black lol.

    • 2
Jan 6, 2016

My ankle and my love for mexican food.

Jan 6, 2016

"My weakness is that I'm too generous."

  • ....
  •  Jan 6, 2016

.

Jan 6, 2016

make sure you tell them that you are working on your weakness whatever that might be.

Jan 6, 2016

After telling them your weakness is Kryptonite, wait a few seconds and then say your real weakness is not knowing when it is appropriate to crack a joke.

They'll love it.

Jan 6, 2016

i'm a terrible bowler

Jan 6, 2016
osdekus:

I am a regular poster here, but i changed my name for this thread, because the answer I gave is pretty unique and people know about it. When asked my biggest weakness according to my best friend was, I said that "knowing my best friend, he would probably say confidence with girls". Instant hit. One of the interviewers laughed for good 3 mins, the other one laughed for like 30 sec and managed to continue the interview, but it was pretty obvious, that, after all other factors, this pretty much nailed it. I got the offer and accepted for a top BB

greenbullets:

How is confidence with girls a weakness? Or are u saying that you're NOT confident around girls?

i thought it was the latter..? or that your confident, but should't be?

Jan 6, 2016

as a previous monkey posted, i usually say kryptonite, i have used that on all my engineering interviews and i got offers for most of them, i am curious if it would work in the finance world.

Jan 6, 2016
iyados:

as a previous monkey posted, i usually say kryptonite.

i'd be pretty careful with that one. it's not very funny.

Sep 26, 2012

I usually say that I have a hard time telling people what they are doing is wrong, so I usually just fix it myself, but it shouldn't be much of a problem in banking because there are so many intelligent people.

Or you could say...

I'm too good looking, and all the females in the office get distracted, so they can't focus on the task at hand. In other words, HR doesn't call people back as soon as they should.

Jan 6, 2016

i have a similar weakness...

i have trouble working with individuals i dislike and/or dont respect.

Jan 6, 2016

Chocolate cake.

I have a big time sweet tooth.

Jan 6, 2016

I waste time on unnecessary things when they interest me instead of focusing on what I need to be doing. For example: I will waste 2 hours trying to make an excel macro that will format a sheet for me instead of spending 10 minutes and just formating it normally from the start.

However, if I try to say something like this in an interview, the interviewer will think I'm full of it.

    • 1
Jan 6, 2016

Had the same issue with Excel a week back. Copy/Pasting is mind-numbing, but setting the Excel Macro was a puzzle waiting to be solved.

Jan 6, 2016

i guess my biggest is that I tell it like it is, and im a gossip. I get annoyed easily by people who are incompetent but let the world know that they suck.

im trying to do a better job of being more discreet with my comments.

Jan 6, 2016

Addicted to Meth

Jan 6, 2016

thirdallnighter, did you use that in your interview? How did it go? I heard those are the types of weaknesses they are NOT looking for (i.e. really a strength in disguise). A lot of people I know tried that one, and the interviewer just said, "That's BS. Give me a real one."

Jan 6, 2016

jaclee, it really is my biggest weakness. I used it once (for finance, not banking). Did not really go so well, perhaps because I wasn't entirely convincing.

I guess I should also mention I hold very high standards too?

It eventually leads a slippery slope where I hate my team. Ends up with me working badly in teams (I can't help that it's staffed with incompetence), which leads to me wanting to do the complete project by itself. This is not the first, not the last time it's happened. It's one of the reasons I want to enter more lucrative sectors, the fallacy? that there is less incompetence in banking/HFs/PE.

Jan 6, 2016

premature ejaculation

Jan 6, 2016

kryptonite and planets not powered by a yellow sun

Jan 6, 2016

I suppose it's a legit weakness too but I think over time it just became cliche. I guess everything is a good idea until everyone starts using it. It's like that whole perfectionist thing. But if that's your real weakness, then it is.

Jan 6, 2016

My weakness is that i cannot depend on people. Even while playing sports i feel like if i don't do everything on my own, no one will. I feel that if you need something done the right way, then do it urself!

Jan 6, 2016

My weakness is that I can't take shit from people, doesn't matter if it's an Associate or Head of the Group, you get cute with me and I'm giving it right back.

Of course, I didn't say this in the interviews, I went with the typical perfectionist banker bs....

Jan 6, 2016

smh at some people coming in here and giving interview answer bullshit. "I hold people to such a high standard, that I often do all the work myself."

GTFOOH with that shit.

My biggest weakness: Vagina.

Any other answer is suspect.

Sep 26, 2012

@jr253 Nice: allocentrism

You need to realize some of the banks you're interviewing with likely have your psychological profile if you've already taken those "personality" type of tests. They are designed to gauge your level of cooperation, teamwork, ambitiousness, work-life balance, etc.

How do you stand out?

Good answer: I always look for the fool proof solution. Since there is no fool proof solution, you'll stand out as a perfectionist, someone who's always trying to better things up

Sep 28, 2012
Financier4Hire:

Good answer: I always look for the fool proof solution. Since there is no fool proof solution, you'll stand out as a perfectionist, someone who's always trying to better things up

I think this one can be viewed poorly, too. Perfectionists can get paralyzed when things aren't 'perfect'. Professionals in fast-paced environments (like banking and PE) where quick decisions often have to be made with incomplete information might view this characteristic negatively.

Jan 6, 2016

No one's perfect. Take a long hard look at yourself and think of something you could improve. I for example tended to be a bit stubborn when it came to asking for help with a project; I'd rather struggle with it on my own until I get it. That works in a slow paced environment but in trading/banking, not so. As a result, I've become much more open to accepting help when needed and that has definitly helped improve my efficiency and made me more knowledgable at the same time.

Sounds lame but are there really any answers to these questions that aren't? At least this one's true and not just something that is intended to please the interviewer. Of course you don't want to say something that is a complete turn off; try to think of something that isn't terrible but something you are actively working to improve upon.

Jan 6, 2016

I usually would say something like, "I'm a terrible singer" just to be funny, then I would actually talk about something I'm working on, like WxOnWallStreet said. You just need to think about what kinds of things are hard for you, then how you're dealing with it. The worst thing you could do on this question is come off fake.

Jan 6, 2016

for the advice. I usually like bkm's method and come off with a joke, and then think of something.

Would saying something along the lines of being "too ambitious" turn them off?

I'm pretty much interviewing for Ops/Finance ... but eventually want to move into S&T.

Jan 6, 2016

Sometimes I just work too hard, they'll love that

jk

Jan 6, 2016

It doesn't matter what you say, as long as it won't affect your job performance (i.e. don't say "I hate and suck at doing DCFs"). just say something muted but true and sound genuine about it and relay how your improving and how you can succeed despite this weakness. If you have to ask other people on a msg board what their weaknesses are so that you can reuse them in your interview, I guarantee that you won't sound geniune and I guarantee that you'll fail.

Jan 6, 2016

I think that it if you say something a little more meaningful/genuine like I get angry at times you'll be fine don't something cliched it'll make you look stupid and fake.

Jan 6, 2016

when i'm focused on something, i can loose track of everything around me, including the time. i am working on it by using my phone alarm to set time limits for things.

this one helped me get the job. it was honest in the sense that it really is a weakness, but it is fairly easy to fix with the alarm. i still actually do it to make sure i don't spend too much time on shit.

Sep 26, 2012

Do people still ask this question beyond entry level interviewing? Insane.

    • 1
Jan 6, 2016

I still have no idea what's a good way to answer this one.

Jan 6, 2016

Just be honest and say how you are improving them and give examples of progress.

Jan 6, 2016

Don't be honest if it's a real weakness. I think this question is mostly a shit test to see if you will acceidentally give away a real weakness like "I don't get along well in groups" or something like that. Beleive it or not, people often fall into this trap and give the interviewer a reason to ding them.

It's also not good to give the cookie-cutter answers that are obvious BS, like "I work too hard" or "I have too much attention to detail." Try to give a relatively harmless weakness and say how you improved on it. Most importantly, try to answer this question and move on- don't give the interviewer a reason to question or probe further with your answer. Some possible answers:

-I used to not be so comfortable with public speaking but have improved through _____.
-I get a little impatient when other people don't do their fair share of work. But have learned to do my work and communicate with others through ___.

You get the idea. Key takeaways:
1) Don't give a true weakness for the position.
2) Don't give a bullshit answer you read in the vault guide that everyone says.
3) Give a simple harmless answer and move on.

Jan 6, 2016

I think you can give a "real" weakness but not one that will cause them to question your ability to do the job or freak them out about you. I once had to answer true or false to a question about whether voices told me to hurt people for a high level job. Even if you were crazy, it's amazing that someone would answer that question with "true". Like Banker88 said, it's surprising the answers that come out of people's mouths.

Interviewers are looking to find out the following:
1. Do you have any self-awareness? If you say you have no weaknesses or being a perfectionist is your weakness, you have no self-awareness
2. have you had to work hard to overcome anything? you will hit walls guaranteed as a banker. have you struggled or failed at something and had to overcome it? This is why a "real" weakness can be a better answer as long as it's not too real
3. Do you know how to answer this totally predictable question?

How to answer, "What is your greatest weakness?"- http://bit.ly/jQLC1
Gotta Mentor
www.GottaMentor.com
Connect to the Advice & People
You Need to Achieve Your Career Goals

Gotta Mentor
Connect to the Advice & People
You Need to Achieve Your Career Goals

Jan 6, 2016

"I get a little impatient when other people don't do their fair share of work" is actually overused and BS. They'll see through that one, as it's not too different from working too hard, perfectionist, etc. That kind of response was probably good when the first person to ever think of it used it. Public speaking would be an all right response if the job doesn't involve much public speaking. It also tends to be socially excusable since not many can claim to be great at it. In any case, try to make everything you say unique because everyone else is also looking for the "best way to answer" for weakness. Banker88 is right when he said it's good to show how you're working on your weakness, so this part must also be unique.

Jan 6, 2016

Agreed something small would be the way to go here. Most interviewers can read right through the bullshit.

Jan 6, 2016

I am asked this question all of the time, and every time I conduct an interview prep I ask this question and am always shocked by the answer I get. Everything from "banker killer" weaknesses, such as can't multitask, can't work in teams, have zero analytical ability, etc. On the other side of the spectrum, I get answers like "I work too hard," or "I love working too much - I love working 90 hours per week" - Bullshit! and if it's not, I'll still think it is as the interviewer.

So, that said, here is how I recommend answering this question:

  1. Give a real weakness that isn't a "banker killer" weakness - in other words, give a real weakness, but one that doesn't show weakness in an area that is ESSENTIAL to be a good analyst - attention to detail, good teammate, etc.
  2. After giving the weakness and expressing how it has been a weakness through, perhaps, a quick example illustrating the weakness, provide proof/real examples and steps taken towards remedying the weakness. You don't need to have completely eliminated the weakness, but you need to be able to show concrete steps taken and those you will continue to take to remedy the weakness.
  3. And finally, if you can, provide an example of how you have begun to implement the remedies and have moved towards eliminating the issue.

Feel free to shoot me an email if you have any other questions.

IBanker
www.BankonBanking.com
[email protected]
Interview Prep, Resume Revisions, News, Articles and More - Stop by Now!

Jan 6, 2016

What if you give a real weakness, even one that maybe important to banking, but you talk about how you've improved a lot? If that's not acceptable, then what kinds of answers are acceptable (i.e., what are examples of real weaknesses that won't ruin your chances)?

Sep 26, 2012

@ relinquis

Ha, yes, I've been asked it for more recent opportunities even though I'm more experienced....most acknowledge that it's a pretty stupid question for someone with a few years experience but they like hearing what people have to say.

Jan 6, 2016

Say something along the lines of "Getting lost in the details." It is a real weakness, but not a deal breaker. You can substantiate it with perhaps a story from a past internship showing how focusing too much on the small details that were not relevant to the overall project hindered your performance. Then discuss how you are improving. Getting lost in the details is at minimum semi-relevant to banking and your interviewer will be happy to see you at least recognize a real weakness.

Just don't say, "I work too hard" "I try too hard" "I take on too many tasks/extracurriculars" or "I got an A- instead of an A in a class"...those are all very poor choices.

Jan 6, 2016

Why is it bad to say that you pile too much on your plate if its true, you can show that its true, and you can spin it into a positive for the firm?

Jan 6, 2016

I don't think taking on too many tasks is a weakness, if you say "I take on too many things in my personal life to handle my work life" that may be a deal breaker. I know that is a legit weakness of mine, and I've said it at just about every interview I've ever had and haven't had a problem with it. Saying "Sometimes I spread myself too thin, and often get so bogged down in everything I'm doing my social/personal life suffers" isn't a bad way to put it. I agree that the rest of those answers are BS though.

Jan 6, 2016

Tunnel vision is always a good one.

"I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcom

Jan 6, 2016

When I hear "I take on too many things" I can easily see how that would be a nightmare weakness for both a full time and summer analyst.

"Oh, I must have taken on too many things and I don't have it done yet, because I'm trying to only be a few hours late with all the other things I am working on. "

Good weaknesses:

I am impatient
I worry too much about past failures
I don't speak up enough

The only right way to answer this is to say the weakness and then give a specific example of something you are doing to address your weakness now.

Jan 6, 2016
ibes_answer:

When I hear "I take on too many things" I can easily see how that would be a nightmare weakness for both a full time and summer analyst.

"Oh, I must have taken on too many things and I don't have it done yet, because I'm trying to only be a few hours late with all the other things I am working on. "

Good weaknesses:

I am impatient
I worry too much about past failures
I don't speak up enough

The only right way to answer this is to say the weakness and then give a specific example of something you are doing to address your weakness now.

Well, I take on too many things but I don't turn in stuff late. I may go with the "impatient" answer from now on. though. I don't worry about past failures, and I always speak up, so those won't work for me. Impatience can easily be spun into a positive for the firm.

Jan 6, 2016

essentially, your weakness must meet four criteria in order for you to "pass" this question:

[1] your weakness musn't be something that will piss off your colleagues (e.g. "i sometimes have trouble turning my work in on time")

[2] an upshot of our first criterion, your weakness should not be something that will cost the firm money (e.g. "i have a tendency to be absent-minded")

[3] your weakness should be something you are steadily eliminating (e.g. "i used to take on too much work in group situations, but, after being elected president of _________ student group a year ago, i've learned to delegate much more effectively")

[4] your weakness should be legit (e.g. "i sometimes get too hung up on the details of a project"), not self-serving bullshit (e.g. " i'm a workaholic")

Jan 6, 2016

With a question like this, try to state the obvious (but not in an insulting tone of course.) If it's something that the interviewer can see is a potential weakness of yours, despite giving him/her your best first impression, then mention it! First, the interviewer can see that you're being honest. Second, you're not losing "points" by mentioning a new weakness that the interviewer might not have been aware of.

For example, let's say you don't have that much experience working in large teams and the interviewer sees that from your resume. State "I don't have a lot of experience working in large teams" (unless working in large teams is central to the success of the role you're interviewing for!)

Sep 26, 2012

i always say something along the lines of: I sometimes become a little impatient when I'm explaining something to someone and they either don't understand or don't agree with me. I sometimes forget that other people think differently and have different views, so I expect them to understand at the same pace that I did if I am walking them through a problem and solution...or to agree with me on a viewpoint...since it makes sense to me.

probably not the best one out there...

Jan 6, 2016

$199 seems a little above the price point of a lot of college students. I would absolutely use it if it were ~ $129. Perhaps you could experiment with the times (e.g. a 25 min interview and a 20 minute review).

Jan 6, 2016

Thanks for the note; we're actually currently offering mock interviews for only $99 (for limited time) for those that allow the recording to be used to build a subscriber-based mock interview Library. In addition, you will get access to this library for 1-year for free, while typically it will only be accessible through a monthly fee. You can e-mail me at [email protected] for more details.

Jan 6, 2016

great insight from Chris- Thanks!!

Jan 6, 2016

I look forward to hearing more of your tips Chris. Thanks!

Jan 6, 2016

Smooth_Nico and Maverik,

Thanks for the feedback - glad you found the Q&A with Scott helpful. I'll be doing Q&As with Scott frequently, so please let me know if you have any career/job search or interview prep topics you would like me to cover with him.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Chris

Jan 6, 2016

Good interview with Scott, and I would definitely recommend reading "Polished."

Jan 6, 2016

Smooth_Nico and Maverik,

Thanks for the feedback. The next Q & A is in the works, and will be out soon.

Jan 6, 2016

Paranoia

Jan 6, 2016

Is there a Kindle format of the book in the works?

Jan 6, 2016

Would it impact me negatively if I answered this with "brunettes and 15 year old scotch?" Could show how well I would fit into the group and I've always been told that honesty is the best policy.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Jan 6, 2016

Chris,

I'm curios to hear your background. Have you done banking?

Thanks.

Jan 6, 2016

M&I also recently did an article on this.

Jan 6, 2016

i like it happy pants

Jan 6, 2016

My biggest weakness is that I like to sleep with CEO wives.

Sep 26, 2012

great thread 'rells, next drink's on me.

I usually just say I'm a perfectionist. I get frustrated when I know the team could have done better..

Jan 6, 2016

bump

Jan 6, 2016

Just be honest bro

Sep 26, 2012

Does humour work?

Interviewer: So... What would you say is your biggest weakness?

Me: A combination of social awkwardness, arrogance and stupidity... Smiles

Interviewer (not amused): Thank your for taking the time to speak with us today. Good luck in your future endeavors.

Jan 6, 2016

lol. yes.

Please mention this as your weakness. One less competitor for me.
Don't forget to mention your disinterest in the markets.

Because when you're in a room full of smart people, smart suddenly doesn't matter--interesting is what matters.

Jan 6, 2016

Just heard it from someone who actually works in HR. Do not say anything like this or "I am a perfectionist" type of things. They hate answers like this and they can tell the made-up answers.

Maybe you can say something genuine and related to the work that you'll be doing and how you are working to improve it.

Jan 6, 2016
fakeslimshady:

Should I say this, given i can talk about its upsides and make the downsides limited?

Are you fucking stupid?

Jan 6, 2016

Don't say that. Please.

Jan 6, 2016

Jesus, no. These are supposed to be minor or irrelevant weaknesses that you're working on improving. For me, I could say something like "I'm not a very good writer, so I've positioned my career towards those positions where writing isn't critical to the role. When writing is required I make sure to get someone to review my work before sending.". (or now I can just say I get someone else to write for me)

Jan 6, 2016

Whatever you do don't talk about sociopathic mental issues as a weakness haha. How about you tell your interviewer how you lack empathy and how that makes you a more efficient trader or something lol.

Jan 6, 2016

Your weakness is that you get so caught up in work you overwhelm yourself by taking on too much, and need good structure to teach you how to stay on track so you can do your best work for the company

Practice saying this

ANT said it best: grow up. Acting like a crazy person just makes them deep six you

Sep 26, 2012

I usually go with:

"Where do I start, really? I'm a 24 year old analyst with 6 months of banking experience because I was too lazy/unmotivated to figure out the whole finance recruiting thing while still in undergrad. My firm hasn't had much (any) deal flow since I joined the firm, so my experience with real world modeling and execution is relatively non existent. I spend a ton of my work day on WSO/Dealbreaker/ESPN/You name it and can be a cranky in the morning. Oh and I consider Guinness to be one of the major food groups and have an issue with nasty hangovers. What was the question again?"

    • 2
    • 1
Jan 6, 2016

For granted.

Jan 6, 2016
SECfinance:

For granted.

Haha, just about to say that. OP, how about attention to detail? And to answer your question, no, I don't think that's a good answer. Be more clear and pinpoint something that you actually aren't good at. Taking your strengths for granted is a BS answer in my eyes, it's too vague and doesn't say anything about you.

Jan 6, 2016
SECfinance:

For granted.

OP should give up now

Jan 6, 2016
Klarman_wannabe:

I think my greatest weakness is that I take my strengths for granite at times and under-prepare in areas I know am strong in or for activities that I think will be easy.

Spelling being an illustrative example? Or perhaps an over-reliance on Chrome's spell-check function?

Jan 6, 2016

My go to for that is that I'm hesitant to ask for help. Its a genuine weakness while still highlighting a good quality, i.e. usually try to work out things on your own without heckling others all the time.

Sep 26, 2012

I've asked a number of people, "What are you good at?". You would be surprised at how few people answer that well for such a softball question.

Sep 26, 2012
SirTradesaLot:

I've asked a number of people, "What are you good at?". You would be surprised at how few people answer that well for such a softball question.

That's a very good question that I've never thought to ask. Think I'll steal it.

Sep 27, 2012
SirTradesaLot:

I've asked a number of people, "What are you good at?". You would be surprised at how few people answer that well for such a softball question.

TradesaLot is correct. A question that is more often asked than the weaknesses one is "Why should we hire you". It pops out much often.

How would you answer that ? Especially knowing there are dozens, if not hundreds, of jacks you're up against.

Jan 6, 2016

That would be a terrible thing to bring up in interviews.

I believe in making a weakness into a strength with practice, practice, practice.

Jan 6, 2016

I think you misunderstood... I obviously wouldn't "bring this up" in interviews. If they ask me to tell them about one of my weaknesses (which they will), is this a bad response? Because in essence, it really is a weakness of mine. And of course, I would do what you said and spin that to say I have been practicing and I am improving etc.

"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin

Jan 6, 2016
StudentLoanBackedSecurities:

I think you misunderstood... I obviously wouldn't "bring this up" in interviews. If they ask me to tell them about one of my weaknesses (which they will), is this a bad response? Because in essence, it really is a weakness of mine. And of course, I would do what you said and spin that to say I have been practicing and I am improving etc.

csaavedr's answer still stands. Writing is viewed as a basic skill that you should have down before starting a professional job (unfortunately, I still meet journalists who write like shit). Even if you are practicing and improving, etc. it still seems a bit too honest. Be genuine but be tactical - I'm sure there's a better weakness you could focus on.

Currently: future psychiatrist (med school =P)
Previously: investor relations (top consulting firm), M&A consulting (Big 4), M&A banking (MM)

    • 1
Jan 6, 2016

I wouldn't mention that bad writing as a weakness in banking interviews. Have you not worked on slides where you need to write up some mitigators for potential weaknesses of the client? Guess what that is?

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that writing definitely also factors into the 'sales' part of IBD.

Jan 6, 2016

I think it depends on what else you want to do. If you go into sales or quant analytics, it would probably be fine. Unfortunately, many jobs require decent writing skills, but luckily, not that many require outstanding writing skills, so I would try to narrow it to something like, "while I can certainly write brief descriptions for emails, powerpoints, and business memos, I'm no Shakespeare"

My writing style sucks and I've survived plenty of time without being a highly proficient writer. (of course, now I have people write stuff for me, if I need something written).

Jan 6, 2016
SirTradesaLot:

I think it depends on what else you want to do. If you go into sales or quant analytics, it would probably be fine. Unfortunately, many jobs require decent writing skills, but luckily, not that many require outstanding writing skills, so I would try to narrow it to something like, "while I can certainly write brief descriptions for emails, powerpoints, and business memos, I'm no Shakespeare"

My writing style sucks and I've survived plenty of time without being a highly proficient writer. (of course, now I have people write stuff for me, if I need something written).

Very true. Thank you for these points, I think that is a viable alternative.

"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin

Jan 6, 2016

What I've discovered as an SA in ER when writing reports is that theres a fairly good chance that, unless it's an initiation report, there is a similar report in the shared files that you can literally just use as a blueprint for how to write yours.

Best Practices for Equity Research Analysts is a good read for that sort of thing, too.

Jan 6, 2016

My legitimate weakness is that I don't take criticism well. Definitely not bringing that up, lol.

For weakness question just bring up something thats not relevant to the job at hand.

Sep 26, 2012

What if you truly are an elitist? Can you spin that around as being a man of high standards and selectivity?

Sep 26, 2012

Actually, I don't take this question too seriously.
As an answer, I recently said that my orientation skills were bad, especially since Apple released its Maps app.
The guy laughed.
I'm waiting for his answer now..
I think they just want to see how spontaneous and unique you are

Sep 26, 2012

bankerella is the man. hands down. regardless, I wasn't offered a consulting position i interviewed for, and after I asked for feedback, she said, "I have someone who can bring experience to the table immediately, I don't think you'd have trouble, but it's valuable to have it immediately. your skills da da da da bullshit"

During the interview, I let her know my weakness was a lack of experience, being a new college graduate. I thought it was a bit crafty, but ultimately I was dinged. She was also very amazonian. That is all.

Sep 26, 2012

subscribed

Sep 26, 2012

Greatest weakness ---> large breasted women

Sep 26, 2012

Just say "Generally I have trouble lying" Then outline why this interview question is the hardest for you to answer because the status quo is bullshit.

Sep 26, 2012

I've actually said variations of these answers before and they have never worked out for me. I once told an analyst that my biggest weakness was I used to have difficulty doing menial work, but overtime and through my last internships I had learned the importance of mindless tasks and understood how doing these tasks perfectly results in your superiors trusting you with more advanced tasks. I've also used the multi-tasking example. I actually got yelled at by the first analyst for my response. He was potentially just a dick, but I've learned to give responses that have very little to do with banking instead. Now I say I get too caught up with understanding every small detail and have trouble seeing the big picture.

Sep 26, 2012

I always respond "chocolate....or icecream"

It's a great icebreaker, the interviewer typically cracks up a little bit and then i give my pitch about my opportunity areas.

Sep 26, 2012

My answer is I suffer from intellectual insecurity, meaning I am always trying to learn more.

Sep 26, 2012

Not sure if this is something that would be passable, what do you guys think?

Remember in Pulp Fiction, how Uma Thurman's character asks "In a conversation, do you listen or wait to talk?" and Travolta goes "I wait to talk, but I'm trying to listen more."

That would be my answer.

    • 2
Sep 26, 2012
Febreeze:

Not sure if this is something that would be passable, what do you guys think?

Remember in Pulp Fiction, how Uma Thurman's character asks "In a conversation, do you listen or wait to talk?" and Travolta goes "I wait to talk, but I'm trying to listen more."

That would be my answer.

I'd respect that answer.

Sep 26, 2012
bankerella:
Febreeze:

Not sure if this is something that would be passable, what do you guys think?

Remember in Pulp Fiction, how Uma Thurman's character asks "In a conversation, do you listen or wait to talk?" and Travolta goes "I wait to talk, but I'm trying to listen more."

That would be my answer.

I'd respect that answer.

Enough to stir my old-fashioned? (whatever that means...)

Sep 27, 2012

I feel angry when an old foreign looking associate bitch asking me questions other than "you want extra soy sauce with that?"

    • 2
Sep 27, 2012

my biggest weaknesses? definitely bacon...

Robert Shaw
Recruiting Consultant
Lakeshore
Denver, CO

Sep 27, 2012

I don't even answer the question that was asked. I pick a weakness I used to have, then describe and quantify what I did to turn that weakness into a strength. It's an interview - I don't want to talk about my weaknesses; I want to talk about my strengths. It answers the real question, which is "Are you self-aware"? The logical successor to being self aware is acting on that self-awareness - i.e. improving yourself. That is what I want to be talking about.

    • 1
Sep 27, 2012
808:

It answers the real question, which is "Are you self-aware"? The logical successor to being self aware is acting on that self-awareness - i.e. improving yourself. That is what I want to be talking about.

Stellar point here. The question really is, "Are you self-aware?" I hadn't noticed that before. Thanks.

Sep 27, 2012

How I approach this question largely depends on the interviewer. If the connection is good, I might be a little emotional.

The Auto Show

Sep 27, 2012

Seriously folks... do NOT answer this honestly. This isn't confession. This is a pitch to get them to hire you so you can get paid. Certainly don't get emotional. Give the "how I overcame a minor weakness in the past" spiel that a previous poster (808) had suggested.

Sep 27, 2012
Relinquis:

Seriously folks... do NOT answer this honestly. This isn't confession. This is a pitch to get them to hire you so you can get paid. Certainly don't get emotional. Give the "how I overcame a minor weakness in the past" spiel that a previous poster (808) had suggested.

Interviewer: What's your biggest weakness?

Me: I'm not self-aware. To be fair, I guess I'm aware of the fact that I'm not self-aware. So, maybe it's not as big of a weakness as I thought. It's been something I've been working on.

    • 1
Sep 27, 2012
SirTradesaLot:
Relinquis:

Seriously folks... do NOT answer this honestly. This isn't confession. This is a pitch to get them to hire you so you can get paid. Certainly don't get emotional. Give the "how I overcame a minor weakness in the past" spiel that a previous poster (808) had suggested.

Interviewer: What's your biggest weakness?

Me: I'm not self-aware. To be fair, I guess I'm aware of the fact that I'm not self-aware. So, maybe it's not as big of a weakness as I thought. It's been something I've been working on.

Nicely played.

Sep 27, 2012
SirTradesaLot:
Relinquis:

Seriously folks... do NOT answer this honestly. This isn't confession. This is a pitch to get them to hire you so you can get paid. Certainly don't get emotional. Give the "how I overcame a minor weakness in the past" spiel that a previous poster (808) had suggested.

Interviewer: What's your biggest weakness?

Me: I'm not self-aware. To be fair, I guess I'm aware of the fact that I'm not self-aware. So, maybe it's not as big of a weakness as I thought. It's been something I've been working on.

Touche ... +1SB

Sep 27, 2012

I ignore the question and redirect toward what I'm working on improving.

Sep 30, 2012

It doesnt necessarily have to be a personality weakness - you can just repeat an obvious weakness of your resume, and then give explanations for it, making this a bonus explanation question.

i.e., "I have low GPA" ---> because I was working two jobs, etc
"I have no internships" ---> I realized banking was for me late, wanted to explore other options, etc

If you can avoid making it about your personality, so much the better, because personality wise there is just no good answer...

To the starving man, beans are caviar

Sep 30, 2012

Thunder and grass

Sep 30, 2012

biggest strength: rock and water

Sep 30, 2012

Disagree. When I ask this question, I'm not asking for a resume weakness and I won't accept a resume weakness as an answer. I've got their resume right in front of me and I can be the judge of that, after all.

A pansy-ass answer like "My biggest weakness is that I have no internships" is going to 1) irritate the interviewer and 2) make them ask it a second time.

Sep 30, 2012

I actually agree w bankerella on this. Not to beat a dead horse but I've been on both sides of the interview table. I definately don't want to hear some BS about how you have a low GPA, gap in resume, lack experience, etc....that sh*t is obvious and I'm interviewing you despite those "flaws". I 1.) don't want to hear a BS answer about a minor weakness and 2.) would write the candidate off immediately if he/she turned it into a joke.

Every firm, industry has its own culture, etc. so that sh*t may fly sometimes but I want an honest answer and second the self-awareness....I want to hear a real weakness and how you work to overcome that, etc.

To OP, I don't know if you're just starting your career so you may or may not have a ton of work-related experience to relate to the interview but college students should at least be self-aware from group work, etc....more experienced professionals can answer this w work experience. I would respect a professional w 20 years experience that actually answered this Q honestly.

Then again, I work for a RE investment firm....but even as a former banker and PE guy, I just want an honest answer. If a 22 year old answered "I work too hard" or "I'm a perfectionist" I would end the interview immediately. Bottom line is, it's a legit question and you have to give a legit answer.

Feb 19, 2013

I know this will make me sound like a "total NOOB" but the answer I usually went with is "I'm a perfectionist, and that does take out a large chunk of my time because I re-read all of the models and emails several times, to make sure an error didn't somehow slip in" but judging by your post, you actually do highlight a personal weakness. Do you think I'm going the wrong way about the answer?

Feb 19, 2013

wonder if it's possible to answer the question with a completely left field response and make them laugh to break up the bullshit a little bit; then answer it a bit more serious after they cease guffawing

"Everything comes to those who hustle while they wait."
-Thomas Edison

Feb 19, 2013
WreckEmFinance:

wonder if it's possible to answer the question with a completely left field response and make them laugh to break up the bullshit a little bit; then answer it a bit more serious after they cease guffawing

See my prob with that is.. If the interviewer seems like a cool person sure, but if you get a geezer that evidently has no sense of humor that will fuck you.

Feb 19, 2013
TooBigToFail:

See my prob with that is.. If the interviewer seems like a cool person sure, but if you get a geezer that evidently has no sense of humor that will fuck you.

I've had experiences on both ends of this spectrum. Interviewed at a top BB (GS/MS) a few years back and met with two mid level guys that were a blast, having fun and laughing all around. The third guy stepped in and asked for a weakness so I hit him with a joke. He proceeded to bend me over the table and have his way with me (verbally).

I usually go with a solid answer that is a real weakness but an understandable one. For instance in that same interview with some other people (before the laughing commenced) I answered that "at my prior job, one of my biggest strengths became a weakness that I had to alter. I usually set early deadlines for tasks so I have plenty of time to go over them before they're due. Suddenly I was trying to do this with a team of 5-7 people reporting to me however I was being unrealistic and inconsiderate of their other duties by expecting early deadlines to be met. It took a while but I was able to adjust this and am still improving with new situations, it just takes some understanding of what others' responsibilities are like."

Now that I interview a lot of others candidates, I prefer asking "Describe one time that you've failed". I find that this one more directly forces a real weakness out of the candidate instead of getting some BS answer about their "willingness to die for the cause" is somehow a weakness.

Feb 19, 2013

Serious question, whatever happened to bankerella?

Feb 19, 2013
HOVA:

Serious question, whatever happened to bankerella?

She graduated from high school.

Feb 19, 2013

During 'my story', I mention how multiple shoulder surgeries from football forced my to withdraw my enlistment from the military my senior year of HS. The only interview I was every asked this question I responded with "My shoulders". It got a few laughs and we moved on. If they don't laugh I'll quickly follow up with some actual response.

Feb 19, 2013
Comment
Feb 19, 2013
Comment
Feb 19, 2013
Comment

"It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer." - Albert Einstein

Feb 20, 2013
Comment

I eat success for breakfast...with skim milk

Sep 3, 2014
Sep 4, 2014
Sep 4, 2014
Comment

"I will tell you how to become rich. Close the doors. Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful."
"If you win a gold medal in the Olympics, my bias would be you should quit swimming that day."

Sep 4, 2014
Sep 5, 2014

Pages