“What’s your greatest weakness?”

This classic job interview question is on most interviewers’ lists for a reason: How you talk about your weaknesses and failures reveals a great deal about who you are, how you view the world, and what you’ll do when faced with a challenge or setback on the job, especially in the oil and gas industry which is a highly regulated field that requires on the job precision, attention to detail, and the ability to document processes. 

Choose a weakness you’ve worked to overcome.

If you’re like most professionals in the oil and gas industry, your weaknesses aren’t areas that are central to your profession. Instead, they’re things you’ve managed to compensate for, workaround, or avoid.

Therefore, when you mention your weakness during the interview, you can also discuss what you’re doing to address this trait.  For example, you might say, “I occasionally procrastinate on my paperwork because I’m more interested in the details of a problem itself. Because I know this can be tough on my team and supervisor, I make it a point to schedule two hours each Friday to finish it. This way, I’m never more than a week behind.”

Pro tip: In an Indeed.com article, the author suggests asking friends and families for a list of weaknesses and strengths. Knowing what you’re good at and your quirks from another person’s perspective is a great exercise and show the interviewer you’ve thought about the question. 

Whatever you do, avoiding the “what’s your greatest weakness” question shouldn’t be an option, as doing so could be a sign you aren’t prepared for the interview. Also, mentioning something like, “I’m not a morning person” isn’t what the interviewer wants to hear either.  As cliché as the question may seem, be prepared to address the topic in a way that makes your personality and job skills shine. 

Don’t play the blame game. 

It’s easy to blame others for our shortcomings, but a job interview isn’t the time to point fingers. Doing so communicates to the interviewer that you don’t have the inner strength to own your faults, assess them honestly, or work to overcome them.  But blaming yourself doesn’t help your case either. It indicates you’re more interested in faulting someone than you are in fixing the problem.

Pro tip: Instead of assigning blame, take responsibility in one sentence or less, then talk immediately about solutions. Avoid using words that sound judgmental, like “lazy,” “foolish,” or “terrible,” to describe your weakness. Instead, state it for what it is: “When I don’t immediately know how to answer a question, I’ll let it fall to the bottom of my priority list.” Then, talk about how you address this weakness: “Now, I put a note on my computer monitor, so I remember to look up the answer and address it by the end of the day.”

At FootBridge, our experienced recruiters specialize in helping you connect with the best job openings in the oil and gas industry and in helping you present yourself and your skills in the best possible light. Contact us today to learn more about our employment opportunities in the oil and gas sector.

Keep it Simple

According to Monster.com, the best way to deal with the “what’s your greatest weakness?” question is to not make a big deal out of it. According to the experts, it’s best to minimize the trait and emphasize the positive. 

Pro tip: As a recruiting company, we recommend candidates be genuine in who they are. The employer genuinely wants to know how you react under pressure, what kind of problem-solving skills you possess, and your willingness to learn. However, keep in mind when talking about weaknesses that it’s not a topic that’s imperative to the job.