“What would you say was your worst quality?” It’s a nightmare interview question, and also, in the words of one training partner, a “shit” one. But it does occasionally get asked, so what’s the best way to respond?
We asked a few people for their thoughts, and take no responsibility for whether or not you heed their advice.
Regional firm training partner:
“It’s a shit question, and a shit question to answer. Do you confess honestly and truthfully? Or give a platitude that gets you on to the next question? I would want someone who gives me a cheeky grin and says, ‘Oh you rotter!’ I’d be looking for someone open enough to say, ‘Which one of the two answers would you like me to give you?’ With crap questions, you do want to see that human response.”
National firm training partner:
“As with any odd question, you mustn’t just answer the question. You have to think about the answer that’s needed. It means the interviewer is looking for you to show some insight into yourself... or they are seeing how you react when something happens which you hadn’t expected.”
Trainee at a mid-size City firm:
“Hmmm, is honesty the best policy? I think you need to identify something that you can change. Something like, ‘I’m too enthusiastic which means I can be prone to rushing.’ That’s a positive trait you can bring up and show that you recognise that it can have a negative side. And say how you can change it. It’s actually a common question in our performance reviews. It’s a bit easier to answer when you know you’ve already got the training contract!”