The job interview is one of the most nerve-wracking experiences in life. You have to be prepared for anything – from being asked about your weaknesses to being asked what your greatest weakness is. It’s hard enough to answer these questions when you know they’re coming, but it can be even more difficult if you don’t expect them and are completely blindsided by them. If you want the best chance at getting a new job, make sure you’re ready with an answer no matter what question gets thrown at you!
The following article contains advice to help you prepare for your next job interview and prepare for the question that you know is coming: What’s your greatest weakness?
Table of Contents
1. Why Do Interviewers Ask About Your Greatest Weaknesses?
You might be astonished to learn that recruiters are those who help people find jobs ask about your greatest flaws for a very good reason. It has nothing to do with ensuring they don’t pick someone who is too qualified for the position.
Interviewers are trying to assess how self-aware you are and whether or not you’re aware of what you need to work on in order to improve yourself. They want people who know their own strengths and weaknesses – because that means they will also know how best to work within the company culture, as well as any additional training they’ll need in order to excel at their role. People who can’t answer this question have either never taken the time to think about it or have identified aspects of themselves that they refuse to acknowledge as weaknesses. Either way, they won’t be able to identify what they need to do in order to work on these things or how learning about them will actually benefit them.
Interviewers know that most people like the idea of working on their weaknesses (who doesn’t want to be a better person?), but few are willing to actually put in the time and effort to do it. And a lot of people’s honest answer is that they don’t have any weaknesses they’re willing to acknowledge, which is a big red flag – if you can’t think of anything about yourself that could use some work, how do you know what kind of environment or training would suit you best?
What you’re looking for in answer to this question will determine the correct response—trying to learn from the interviewer. If they’re asking for your weaknesses in order to figure out if you’d fit into their company culture, talk about a real weakness of yours that doesn’t have anything to do with the job at hand. If they ask because they want to know how dedicated you are to self-improvement, then your answer should involve one specific thing that you’re currently working on improving.
2. How to Answer Your Greatest Weakness Question?
1. First of All, Don’t Lie or Exaggerate
It might sound like a good idea at the time to tell an interviewer that you’re a perfectionist about every little detail and place too high of a priority on doing things right. After all, wouldn’t getting an answer like that make you look like the ideal employee?
Well, probably not. Not only will most interviewers be able to see through this kind of flattery, but it also isn’t helpful for your future as a working member of the team at whichever company is interviewing you. If you’re not willing, to be honest, and realistic about your own qualities, how can they trust that you’ll be honest and realistic in working with their other employees?
So when the time comes to answer the question about weaknesses, don’t say anything that isn’t true. Instead:
2. Pick a Strength and Turn it Into a Weakness
It’s a common tactic to turn a strength into a weakness. Just be sure that you’re being honest and not just turning a small issue into a big problem for yourself.
For example, if you’re asked, “What is your biggest weakness?” and the first thing that pops into your head is ‘I have trouble saying no when people ask for my help,’ you might be tempted to say, “I’m a perfectionist who cares too much about getting everything done right.”
This isn’t an honest answer because it’s possible that you’re actually pretty good at seeing when something needs to get done and doing it without any additional assistance. In addition, it sounds like the interviewer is expecting something like “I work too hard” or “I care too much,” which isn’t helpful in showing how you might be a good fit for the particular job.
Instead, say something like:
– “I sometimes find it difficult to prioritize my work when I get behind because I want to do everything perfectly.”
This is an honest answer that might actually help you get the job. You’re showing that you have a weakness without shying away from your strengths. It’s honest, shows self-reflection, and demonstrates your willingness to improve yourself by working on the problem.
3. Answer With Your Weakness
Finally, if it really feels like the right time to give this kind of answer, go ahead and give it! You can say something like:
– “My biggest weakness is that sometimes I take on too much work and find myself overcommitted.”
This isn’t a great answer for all interviewers. If you’re not sure if the interviewer will appreciate this kind of open honesty, just stick with the above two suggestions.
Suppose it feels like the right time, though; feel free to say something like this! It’s honest, straightforward and really shows what you have to offer in terms of your strengths AND weaknesses.
There are, of course, exceptions to any rule. If you honestly believe the situation requires it, there is an opportunity, to be honest about your flaws! Just make sure you’re not attempting to get away with something and use this type of response only when you’re ready and confident in your honesty. The last thing you want to do is show up for an interview just to find out you’ve made matters worse.
3. Do’s and Don’t While Answering; What Is Your Weakness Interview?
When interviewers ask about your weaknesses, they are giving you an opportunity to discuss a flaw that you have identified and are working to improve. Here are a few dos and don’ts for answering this question:
-Be honest- Discuss a real weakness of yours that you are working to improve or have improved in the past.
-Demonstrate self-awareness – Discuss a flaw that isn’t debilitating, will not be a problem in the position you are interviewing for and is something you are actively working on improving. For example, maybe you used to be more disorganized but have learned to manage your time better.
-Be positive – Focus on a weakness that you have improved or are actively working on improving. Describe what you do to make sure this weakness doesn’t get in the way of projects you are assigned. For example, if you used to be disorganized but have since learned to manage your time better by making detailed to-do lists, tell the interviewer what your process is for completing tasks.
-Be concise – Stick to one or two weaknesses. If you have more than that, pick the most relevant ones and only discuss those that apply to positions you are interviewing for.
-Don’t be dishonest – Don’t focus on a strength that can also be viewed as a weakness, like being too competitive. Not only does this demonstrate a lack of self-awareness, but it may come across as sounding arrogant since you are describing a strength as a weakness.
-Don’t focus on a major character flaw – Discussing a real weakness of yours is fine, but don’t discuss something that would make you a poor fit for the position or an overall negative quality that can’t be changed. For example, if you are applying to be a salesperson and your biggest weakness is that you are impatient, this may not be seen as a weakness that needs to be worked on.
-Don’t go too far in the other direction – You don’t want to sound like your biggest weakness is being self-centered or hard-headed. Again, this shows a lack of self-awareness, so it likely won’t be viewed positively.
-Don’t whine – Don’t complain about something you don’t have control over. For example, if you are applying for a position that requires being able to work under pressure and one of your weaknesses is that you get nervous easily, avoid saying that this weakness makes it difficult to perform well under pressure.
Remember, as, with all questions in an interview, it is important to be prepared. Practice answering the question by considering some of your biggest weaknesses and how you have worked to improve them. Use examples from work or school that demonstrate how your weakness doesn’t affect your performance.
Here are 12 examples of what you could say when asked about your “Biggest Weakness” at a job interview:
1) I am not the most patient person in the world. Sometimes that gets me into trouble with certain types of people or at certain jobs.
2) I used to struggle with organization and time management. When you’re working as a server in the hospitality industry, those things are obviously very important. I taught myself how to stay on top of my responsibilities, and it has helped me improve immensely at work and outside of work as well!
3) Numbers aren’t necessarily my favorite thing to work with, but I’ve improved my math skills by taking online courses.
5) I’m not very good when it comes to computer programming or HTML coding – but I’d like to learn that and improve my skills.
6) When I first started working in [industry], I had a lot of trouble with [skill]. However, over the previous few years, I’ve read a lot of books on the subject and have significantly raised my competence level!
7) One thing that I need to work on is my public speaking skills. Even if I’m familiar with the material, sometimes nerves get the best of me!
8) I remember when I first started my last job. I needed to take some time away from it because I wasn’t very efficient at time management. But now, after working there for several years, I have a ton of experience in that area.
9) My biggest weakness isn’t too surprising – I’m not the best with computers! Computers just don’t come naturally to me. But, when it comes to work-related tasks, I have improved my skills over the years by taking online courses and practicing on my own.
10) My biggest weakness is that I’m not very good at staying organized. I tend to lose things! But, since I took this job, I’ve become much better at time management and prioritizing tasks.
11) Sometimes, I get so caught up working on one particular thing that I forget about other responsibilities. When my employer asks me to go on an errand, for example, I often forget until he reminds me. This is something that I definitely need to improve on!
12) I have a hard time just saying NO if someone asks for my help or opinions. It’s not that I want to be super-helpful all the time, but more that I don’t want to disappoint anyone. So, I sometimes give in when I shouldn’t. A couple of good examples are when my friends ask me for personal loans or directions on what car they should buy!
Sometimes it’s difficult to find the right weakness to answer the interview question because you don’t wanna put a bad impression. But you’ll fail the interview if you don’t answer the question honestly. So, try to find your biggest weakness or bad habits which wouldn’t make you look like the not perfect candidate for this position. If you are still stuck with the same question, again and again, try to think like an interviewer what they might be expecting from you and then answer!