“What is Your Biggest Weakness?” is perhaps the trickiest interview question. It contradicts the most basic instinct you have during an interview: showing your best self to the interviewer. It asks you to share a weakness of yours, which is even uncomfortable in an intimate setting, let alone during a product manager interview. But how do you turn this trick question into an opportunity to impress your audience? Let’s find out!
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Before we jump into how to answer this question, let’s find out why interviewers ask this question first. Interviews want to know:
- If you’re self-aware about your shortcomings. Remember, product management is all about evaluation and determining what is missing with ambiguous input and missing information. Yourself, aka the most important product, also has some weaknesses, and you must understand the areas you are missing out.
- Whether you thought about how to improve yourself. We all know that nobody is perfect, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to be better at what we do. By showing the interviewers that you have a solid game plan to improve yourself, you are proving that you are proactive and motivated.
While keeping those points in mind, let’s think of a couple of sample answers that our members used to impress their interviewers and help you market yourself as a realistic and open-minded product manager.
- I tend to stay quiet during the first few meetings when I am starting a new project/initiative, but speak up more as I get to know the work better. This answer works because while being quiet isn’t very desirable for a product manager, the person is aware of the fact that it is the best to let the experts speak more to make sure that the team has as much information as possible. Nobody wants a garrulous teammate, so the interviewers will appreciate the fact that the person knows when to let others speak. It is also open to improvement. You can complete this response by suggesting a way of improving this habit of yours. One great example is doing some research beforehand and preparing some questions to ask during the meeting.
- I tend to do a few things at once. Yes, juggling between multiple tasks isn’t the best way to do your work, but it shows a prevalent trait of product managers: multitasking. Any interviewer who meets with a natural multitasker will appreciate this instantly and will be more interested to hear more about how the person is getting things done when they have many things on their plate. Also, a great product manager should master multitasking anyways. The best way to complete this answer would be to share the importance of prioritization when it comes to juggling multiple projects.
- I am blunt with giving feedback. Being blunt might demotivate teammates and hinder their productivity; however, it also shows that you are honest, and you care about the quality of the work most (and not what people think about you). It proves that you are all about the product. You might add to this answer by telling your interviewer that you are working on ways to frame your opinions in a way that shows empathy with the challenges that the receiver of the feedback faces. Remember, empathy is a crucial aspect of product management, and you must use this concept to show the interviewer that you value its importance.
You can always find more answers to this question, but always keep in mind that you should think about how this weakness impacts the performance of your team and what you can do to improve yourself.
This is only one of the many questions that interviewers love to ask! If you want to learn more about the commonly asked interview questions and the best way to answer them, make sure you check out our complete interview guide.
Personal questions or questions targeted towards your soft skills are mostly asked during the first round of interviews. Read this guide to learn more about what to expect and what to do during the round one interviews.