Interview 101: The best way to answer ‘what do you consider a weakness you have?’

Answering this basic interview question is easier than you think

This is one of the many classic interview questions, but is also usually the least honest answer an interviewer will hear.

To the person trying to get the job, answering the question can feel like the employment version of Russian roulette.

But the truth is, the only real weakness that they are looking to reveal isn’t the one that you share. It’s the weakness of hiding weaknesses.

(FYI: That may sound Inception-dream-within-a-dream like, so you may want to read it again).

The truth is, the interviewer wants to know if you’re going to be the kind of hire that will be able to admit when you make a mistake, to have the self-awareness to realize that covering up a mistake can be even more disastrous than the mistake itself, and, lastly, that if you’re incapable of being honest and vulnerable when you’re really trying to get the job, you probably won’t suddenly acquire that skill when you’re comfortably employed by the company.

So here is a great answer to the question “What do you consider a weakness you have”

The truth.

Tell them that you could be a better presenter in sales meetings, tell them that you need to be a little more patient with new hires, or that you always screw up everyone’s coffee order when it’s your turn.

Tell them you suck at typing, that your inbox has three more zeros next to the number of unread emails than you’d like, and that you bite your nails at or around project deadlines.

Tell them the truth.

It’s you, the real you, not the LinkedIn-conscious, resume-tuning, interviewing version of you. The real you is who every interviewer is trying to meet, and if that you shows up, that you, weaknesses and all, will probably get the job.

This article first appeared at Quora.