Your Biggest Weakness: the Dreaded Interview Probe

I recently stumbled upon an article posted on Yahoo Hotjobs by Maria Hanson for LiveCareer that not only imparted valuable career search advice, but made me laugh as well. If you are preparing for a military to civilian transition or embarking on a post-military job search, chances are you could use a good laugh. So take a look at this humorous yet informative article on one of the most unavoidable and universally loathed interview questions: “What’s your biggest weakness?”

Hanson offers funny, real-life responses heard by various hiring managers from around the country, such as “brownies“ and “I am bipolar.” If your military resume is good enough to land you an interview, do yourself a favor and prepare to discuss your weaknesses well in advance to avoid on-the-spot answers like the aforementioned. Practice your response by running it by your friends and family and solicit their gut reactions.

One popular method of overcoming the “most dreaded” interview question is to flip a weakness into a strength. However, as Hanson explains, there is a tendency to over do it when using this method. “I am so well-loved around the workplace that it is hard to get honest feedback and constructive criticism from my coworkers” is likely to illicit a silent groan from a seasoned interviewer. A better approach is to pick a weakness that won’t obstruct your job performance (for example, fear of public speaking might work for an accountant but not for a teacher) and then describe the steps that you have taken to recognize and overcome your challenge. Your goal should be to demonstrate self-reflection, innovation, and problem-solving skills.

Based on my experience at, working with hundreds of transitioning military job seekers and writing a military resume for them, I’ve noticed that military job seekers are generally modest. If talking about your accomplishments makes you just as uncomfortable as discussing your weaknesses, prepare a response to the interview question: “What’s your biggest strength?” Anticipating key interview questions and preparing accordingly can go a long way in helping you to land your next job.