Consulting Lessons Learned 35: Weaknesses

Preparing for your interviews in management consulting? Well you should be prepared to talk about your strengths but also weaknesses. This is an absolute standard question in every consulting interview and actually also in most other non-consulting interviews.

While explaining your strengths will be easy for most people, talking about weaknesses is much more difficult and one of the favorite topics I discuss a lot with our coaching candidates.

When googling this topic, you will find advise like stating that your perfectionism or impatience are your strongest weaknesses. Please, don’t do that mistake – it will be an easy way to get thrown out of the interview.

Here are my top 3 tips on coming up with your weaknesses:

First, they should relate to skills you demonstrate while working. The interviewer will not care if you have a weakness for chocolate. Your weaknesses should relate to experiences you made in typical business related settings. Feedback from prior internships can be a good starting point.

Second, they should be actionable. I think weakness is actually the wrong word. Rather think about weaknesses as development needs. You should be able to improve on these development needs and ideally you want to discuss in the interview how you are already tackling these weaknesses.

Third, they should not be no-gos. Honest reflection is key to success with this question, but your weaknesses shouldn’t be too strong or blocking a potential success as a junior consultant. For example, if you have serious problems with following the 80:20 rule, this is typically nothing you want to present in a consulting interview…

All in all, this question is again a good example of the many things that can go wrong in an interview and why it is so important to prepare for your interview with experienced consultants. Interested? Check out our Elite Coaching!

Categories: Best practices