This question can stand in for the common 'What is your greatest weakness' question. The interviewer is expecting you to be unprepared because it's an uncommon way of asking a question. You may be less scripted than other points in your interview, and the interviewer wants to see how you deal with that.
Two scenarios commonly play out: either a candidate blurts out a weakness, or they pause and respond with something thoughtful. This question gives the interviewer information about you but also a good sense of if you can think on your feet and answer a tough question. Use this as an opportunity to show how weakness can be a strength, or explain something they have not yet asked, but may be an objection to you getting the job. It is then up to you to overcome the opposition.
Remember: it is okay to pause and be thoughtful about your response rather than blurting something out or seeming too rehearsed. Be prepared, but be sincere in your replies.
"I suppose I did not want you to dig into why I applied three years ago and rescinded my application. I feel embarrassed about it because I thought I was ready to leave my current organization and decided that, to be the superstar I want to be at Netflix, I needed a bit more time and experience. I know that in these past three years I have learned everything I could need to know to shine here and I can't wait to put those last three years of learning and growth into action."
"I didn't want to discuss why it took five years to graduate college. I was working full time while attending college and double majoring. Initially, I was taking the full course load and working full time, then eventually I also switched my major, which added a semester. At that time, I hunkered down and upped the course load while working full time. So, while it may have taken me longer, I learned a lot both in and outside of the classroom, including time management and upping productivity. I know these are important skills that I bring with me to any position, and look forward to leveraging them here at Netflix."
"Philosophically, questions are what I thrive on, and finding the ones I don't want to face are in fact the ones I know I grow the most from. So I embrace the hardest or ugliest questions. However, I'd say it would likely be around hierarchy and office politics. When ideas, suggestions, or orders come into the space and they come from a place of fear or ego, I struggle to play along for the theater of it."
Good! This is a thoughtful and genuine response, showing the interviewer a lot about your personality and preferences when it comes to your workplace environment.
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