This is such a classic of an interview question and yet it’s been used so often it’s become a bit of a joke. However, there’s a really good reason why this question still crops up in interviews and if you want to successfully answer this question, it’s important to first understand why it’s used.
Start from the assumption that no one is perfect. No matter your education, how many skills you have or your level of experience, you are constantly developing and improving yourself. But to be able to do this effectively, you need to be self-aware. What are your flaws? What skills do you need to work on? How could you become a better person?
By carrying out this constant process of self-review you’re able to identify the flaws you have and work to lessen them – in fact, you might even be able to turn them into a positive attribute. Unfortunately, some people don’t care or realise they have any flaws. They don’t see it as their problem to improve any further. And these are the type of people, this question is designed to weed out.
Put simply, this interview question is about identifying candidates who will constantly strive to improve themselves and are aware of their own pitfalls. This is even more important as cabin crew – okay, so every airline has a process of performance development but it’s difficult when you’re working with a new team every day and very rarely see your own manager.
That’s why airline recruiters are looking for candidates who will proactively go out of their way to review their performance and improve for the future.
How to answer the question…
So how should you go about answering this question? To start with, don’t say you don’t have any major flaws or you can’t think of any at the moment. Remember, this question is about identifying candidates who are self-aware – and anyway, everyone has flaws.
That being said, you don’t have to tell the recruiter your very worst flaw. Nor do you have to divulge something very personal about yourself. Instead, focus on a relatively minor flaw that you have identified and actively worked to improve. Aim to talk about the flaw in the past tense. As an example:
“I used to think I wasn’t a ‘morning person’ and struggled to get out of bed to start work really early.”
It’s not the worst flaw in the world – most people struggle to get out of bed. But of course, the recruiter is looking for candidates who can work unsocial hours. So how did you improve yourself?
“I started a job which involved early morning shifts and I realised that I needed to change my routine so that I could perform well at work. I adapted my schedule and made sure I got plenty of sleep and exercise. I ate a healthy diet and went to bed at an appropriate time.”
“As a result, I would go to work well rested and full of energy. I was never late and performed really well. Since that job, I have had several other roles which required me to work unsocial hours.”
As you can see, a good answer to this question is all about identifying the flaw and then taking action to reduce any negative effects. Focus on what you did to overcome the flaw and end with a positive result. Wherever possible, use an example from work experience rather than your home life.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.