One has to be able to uncover the strengths and weaknesses of the others, in order to lead them. And without being able to uncover it and utilize in the work of the team, one can hardly lead an organization, or a department.
So, interviewers use this question, or a similar one, to find out if you can assess someone’s traits quickly.
Personal answer – do not burn the bridges
This question is as tricky as it gets in a job interview. Just think about it… Recruiter, a person who decides if you get a coveted job or not, asks you to list his own weaknesses, to speak about him negatively. So, what to do?
First of all, you should start your answer positively. Mention strengths, good things. You can say he is very skilled in interviewing people (most recruiters believe to be like that, doesn’t matter if true or not). Or you can compliment him for something else you observed, for example being detail oriented, well prepared, and so on. It is a best way to start answering this question.
Once it comes to the weaknesses (second part of your answer), try to take it lightly. You should mention at least one weakness, because that is your task. However, I would suggest you to pick something light, like being little impatient, over-friendly to job applicants, little confused, or something like that…
After all, it’s good to say that you spent only little time together, so it is difficult for you to asses his weaknesses. You can inspire yourself with the following answer:
I can see you are pretty experienced in the art of interviewing people, you can read non-verbal communication well. I have the feeling that your emotional intelligence is pretty high. Your communication skills are also outstanding and I think you are a right man on this position.
Regarding weaknesses,you could be a little more patient with the job seekers. However, we are here only for a short time and I did not have much time to analyze your personality and skills. I would need to see you leading at least three or four interviews with different people to be able to do it.