“What’s your biggest weakness?”

It’s a mainstay question of interviews everywhere, but let’s face it, it’s annoying. Your weaknesses are the last thing you want to be talking about in a job interview, so what do you do?

For starters, don’t claim that you don’t have any weaknesses. It’s an obvious lie and you’re better than that (I hope).

The widely accepted route is to turn it into a kind of #humblebrag. “I do work that’s too good,” you might say, while the interview sits there thinking “What a conceited prat.” In the end, it doesn’t do anyone any good.

But that doesn’t mean you won’t still face this question in future. So instead you need a strategy – a way to give the interviewer the insight they want while still making yourself look good. This is one of those questions where the focus is on how you answer, rather than on what you answer (Although that won’t be entirely ignored, either).

In corporate speak, weaknesses aren’t weaknesses; they are “areas for development”. Although that’s as bad as any other workplace buzzword, it’s actually pretty helpful here. Focus on the development part.

Think of something that was a weakness for you, but that you have worked on improving. Then you can talk about that improvement the next time you face this question.

Start by stating the weakness, and explain how it caused problems for you. After that, you should explain exactly how you have worked on that weakness (It’s not enough to just say that you have worked on it). Talk about the steps you have taken, the strategies you have used and, most importantly, the results you have seen.

Using this formula, you can prepare an answer that isn’t cringeworthy and that paints you in a good light.