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How to Answer What Are Your Weaknesses Question in an MBA Interview


Use this MBA Interview Preparation video to handle an interview question on weaknesses, which a lot of applicants handle in a very poor manner. The guidelines offered by this concise video will help you in attaining a matured and sensible approach to think about your weaknesses, articulate the same, and emerge with positive takeaways.


How to Answer the What are Your Weaknesses Question on the MBA Interview


Discussing one's weaknesses is never pleasant; however, "What are your weaknesses?" is indeed one of the core questions of the MBA interview and you prepare accordingly. Answering this particular MBA interview question well can be highly tricky, as it runs counter to the fundamental goal of an MBA interviewee-to highlight one's positive qualities that make one a strong candidate for management education. Nevertheless, the "What are your weaknesses?" question is an integral part of the MBA interview and must be answered in a careful way. In this article, we will cover the mistakes that most candidates commit, in answering this question, the correct approach, and the possible follow up questions that your response might generate.

The Most Common Mistakes


The most typical mistake regarding the "What are your weaknesses?" question is a lack of preparation. As this question is one of the core questions, you should expect your interviewer to ask it and prepare accordingly; if you are not prepared to answer this question, it will suggest a lack of forethought that will negatively impact your interviewer's perspective of your candidature. While the first mistake is common for all core questions, the next one is more specific to the "What are your weaknesses?" question; many MBA interviewees make the mistake of dilly-dallying while answering this question. Trying to avoid the weaknesses question is a poor idea. It is only human to have weaknesses, and the interviewer understands this; that is why it is best to answer this question truthfully. However, it is also a mistake to go to the opposite extreme and provide too strong of an answer for example, "I am not a multitasker." or "I cannot handle high-pressure situations." Remember, this is an MBA interview, and there are certain skills that anyone seeking an MBA must posses; while you must be honest about your weaknesses, do not make yourself seem unsuitable for a management profile. Similarly, you should also avoid utilizing a tone that is too strong for answering this question; the same information can always be conveyed in a more pleasant way. The key thing to bear in mind is that your answer to the "What are your weaknesses?" question must be truthful and upfront but presented in a very positive and tactful way. Another related mistake is listing too many weaknesses; this is not a very pleasant part of the MBA interview, and you should try to keep your answer as brief as possible. One ill thought out approach to this question that many candidates, unfortunately, apply and that you should absolutely avoid is trying to trick the interviewer by using this question as a tool to avoid other uncomfortable questions. For example, an MBA interviewee might mention a lack of knowledge on current affairs as a weakness, expecting that the interviewer will not ask a follow-up question on the same. Such tricks are cheeky and will not work; remember, the interviewer is smarter than you are, and that is why he/she is conducting this MBA interview, and you are sitting for it. One of the main reasons behind asking the "What are your weaknesses?" question is testing your capacity for introspection; that is why you must avoid thinking while speaking, as it suggests that you have not given this topic any thought beforehand. You must also avoid giving cliché` answers such as "I cannot say no to people."; these answers will invariably across as inauthentic and borrowed; you must think deeply and provide the interviewer with genuine answers.

The Correct Approach


First of all, in order to answer this MBA interview question well, you must understand exactly how you will answer the question, beforehand. As this question is one of the core MBA interview questions, you should have an answer in mind even before the interview begins. In order to avoid thinking while talking, pause for a few seconds before beginning with your answer; take this time to collect your thoughts so that you can deliver a well-organized answer. As far as possible, try to state constructive weaknesses; rather than mentioning negative qualities, mention positive qualities of yours that you feel are underdeveloped and that if you can enhance will help you grow into a better version of yourself. We are deliberately refraining from providing any examples of such constructive weaknesses, so as to avoid contributing another cliché answer, like "I cannot say no to people.", to the world. As already mentioned, you must take care to avoid cliché` answers; in an MBA interview, authenticity is very important. Introspect and carefully consider which of your legitimate weak points would be best to mention and provide your MBA interviewer with a genuine answer. However, when answering the "What are your weakness?" question it would wise to limit your answer to only two examples. Furthermore, try to keep your answer as brief as possible by avoiding elaboration upon your stated weaknesses. Remember, while your answer should be genuine, this is still a less than pleasant portion of your MBA interview, and you should try to make sure that the interview moves on from this section, as soon as possible, so as to avoid conveying too many negative takeaways. Of course, when answering an MBA interview question about your weaknesses, providing some negative takeaways is inevitable; to ameliorate the impact of these, you must show your MBA interviewer that you possess enough self-awareness to recognize the impact of your weak areas and are taking steps to overcome them. In a sense, this self-awareness is what your interviewer hopes to see when asking the "What are your weaknesses?" question.

Possible Follow-Up Questions


There are a number of questions that your interviewer may follow up the "What are your weaknesses?" question with. We have prepared an exhaustive list of some of the most likely options; please go through it carefully.

-An example of any one of the suggested weaknesses.
-A situation to react on.
-A reflection on how these weaknesses have impacted you.
-Discussion on how you are trying to overcome these weaknesses.
-Discussion on what other strengths you would like to develop in the times to come.

For a more complete understanding of MBA interview preparation, please read the other articles prepared by Experts' Global.

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