Yesterday I had to do a phone interview of an experienced hire candidate who seeks to join our firm as a senior manager (one step below "entry level" partner). The interview was going along well and I decided to as one of the easiest "tough" questions there are: What's your greatest weakness? Well, there's a first time for everything, I suppose. Yesterday was the first time I've asked that question and received an answer that by itself determined my decision about whether to give my imprimatur for hiring the candidate. The man answered by in effect saying that he's been told that he can be difficult to work with. Upon hearing that, I abruptly ended the interview, asking if he had any questions of me. He didn't and that was that. I have no idea what led the candidate to think that giving the answer he did could possibly aid and abet his assertion that he'd be a good person for us to hire, but insofar as he gave it, he must have his reasons. What I do know is that being hard to work with and lacking the judgment not to say that in an interview indicated the guy is too stupid and under seasoned for us to hire in any capacity. I was so astounded that I emailed the people who did the preliminary "phone screen" and early stage interviews on the guy to inquire how his abject inanity and unfitness for our firm did not come through when they spoke with him. I was and remain incredulous that the guy made it far enough through the interview process that he got to talk to me. (Normally, I don't any longer do interviews, but the guy specifically expressed an interest in being part of my practice unit, and I have final say on all manager-and-above experienced hires who aim to it. It was rather serendipitous that I had to be part of the interview team considering him because the unique nature of my unit's work militates for "growing" people more so than finding them from outside the firm.) The guy could have said any number of things. Hell, he could have gone with one of the standard pat answers to that question, and I'd have at least counted his answer as neither strong nor weak, but as neutral. So with that as background, how did you answer the question I posed when you have been asked it?