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How to Talk About Your Weaknesses in a Job Interview

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How to Talk About Your Weaknesses in a Job Interview 

We have all heard the question in a job interview “What are your greatest strengths?”. We know how to answer this, sharing our skills and experiences that make you a good fit for the job, however the curveball question “What are your weaknesses?” can be trickier to respond to.  

How do you tell an interviewer about your weaknesses without sounding like you cannot do the job?  Make sure that you prepare an answer that you are comfortable with.  

Here are our top strategies for how to approach the weakness question:  

Prepare for the question, “What are your weaknesses?” 

The goal of the interviewer by asking this question is to gauge: 

  • Your self-awareness  

  • Ability to identify development areas  

  • How you think on your feet  

Spin you your weakness into a positive:  

  • Avoid negative words like failure or inept

  • Use language like room for improvement or areas for development.  

  • Always outline what you have done to address your weakness 

  • By being aware of your weaknesses, you can ensure it does not impact others around you or your outputs. 

For example, when I first started at the firm, I was overwhelmed with the array of tasks coming to me from all different departments. I needed to manage my week effectively and be as productive as possible. I focused on developing a detailed work plan that I set every Monday and ensure that I had blank times each day to address reactive tasks that came up unexpectedly. I still use this blueprint every week.   

These examples are not a good choice if the job requires specific skills in these areas:  

  • Inexperience with specific software   

  • Tendency to take on too much responsibility  

  • Dislike public speaking 

  • Hesitant about delegating tasks 

  • Control freak  

  • Do not like change  

  • Impatience with red-tape/processes 

Always avoid saying this in your answer: 
“I have no weaknesses” is a red flag to interviewers as no one is perfect and can highlight overconfidence, a lack of personal awareness and your effect on others around you, or someone that is unable to learn from mistakes.  

Also using stock standard responses such as “I’m a perfectionist,” “I’m competitive,” or “I work too hard.” These can show a lack of preparation and personality so ensure you elaborate and apply these to the job role or examples.   

The weakness question doesn’t have to be an obstacle to avoid in an interview, it’s an opportunity to show how you can learn from mistakes, how you deal with constructive criticism and how willing you are to make changes when you face challenges. An employer would count all these things as strengths.  

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