So you’re acing every interview question when suddenly a curveball is thrown your way: the interviewer asks, “What are your weaknesses?“. This dreaded question is not just difficult to answer; it can also make or break your application. Good thing there are many ways to handle weaknesses for a job interview without hurting your odds of landing the job.
In this post, we will help you navigate this tricky question in your next interview. Read on to learn helpful tips straight from our HR experts.
What are good weaknesses for a job interview?
One of the common blunders of applicants is talking about being “too much of a perfectionist” or “being too much of a hard worker”. While these are safe answers at best, they also make you sound pretentious – something recruiters can easily spot.
Instead, you should consider using the following lines to put you in a positive light:
1. Little experience/knowledge in certain areas
Admitting that you lack substantial experience in a specific job area can be an advantageous strategy. This shows that you’re aware of your weakness and willing to learn if hired.
However, this weakness is a two-edged sword. Don’t use an area essential for the role you’re interviewing for as a weakness.
For example, if you’re interviewing for a project manager position, you shouldn’t say you have difficulty delegating tasks. Instead, you can focus on non-essential skills or programs that can be easily learned.
You can also mention gaps in your technical skills as long as it won’t hurt your standing for the job.
Here are a few good ideas:
• Specific software or program (PowerPoint skills, MS Excel formulas, etc.)
• Interpreting analytics
• Providing constructive criticism
• Written communication
• Verbal communication
Again: never use a skill or area as a weakness if it’s crucial for the role you’re applying for.
2. Hesitancy in delegating or asking for help
This is a good one you can borrow from this list of weaknesses for a job interview. It imbibes honesty and room for improvement without coming across as inefficient.
Moreover, this weakness shows strong self-awareness. It’s also easy to fix with proper training and not as bad as having a skill problem.
You can frame this weakness in a way that highlights your strength as an independent worker. Aside from that, you can highlight that you enjoy working quickly and independently and are willing to work on it.
3. Trouble saying “no”
Trouble saying no as a weakness highlights your willingness to help coworkers. Also, many recruiters appreciate this answer when backed with a sincere explanation.
Moreover, this weakness shows your dedication at work. While it indicates that you don’t know your limits, it’s easy to manage with proper time management and task delegation.
Make sure that you follow this up with a solution to prove that you’re currently working on it. You can mention that you’re using a task management tool or involving more teammates to get things done.
4. Getting too attached to projects
This weakness for a job interview is somewhat similar to hesitancy to delegate tasks. It’s when you experience difficulty handing over a project to another team or moving to another one after it’s finished.
Aside from that, this weakness may indicate that you always want the best for every project. It’s possible that you also always find more ways to improve the project even after it’s finished.
5. Being frustrated with missed deadlines
This job weakness for an interview will focus on how much you want to get things done on time. It will show that you have a strong focus on time management and efficiency on your tasks or the team as a whole.
You can highlight that you always stick to deadlines and get uncomfortable when you or others fail to do so.
On the other hand, make sure you highlight how you approach missed deadlines. You wouldn’t want to come across as bossy or too impatient. You can mention that you handle this situation with a motivational approach to foster efficiency.
6. Being nervous about speaking in front of a group
This is one of the good weaknesses for a job interview if you want to play it safe.
Fear of public speaking is very common, and it’s totally normal to have butterflies when you’re about to address a group.
Unless you’re interviewing for a position that requires a lot of public speaking, this should be a safe answer. Still, you should be as honest as possible to avoid sounding pretentious.
7. Lack of confidence
Low self-esteem is one of the most common weaknesses for job interviews. It’s a typical answer among entry-level applicants or those applying for their first jobs.
You can frame this weakness as lacking confidence at times when you’re unsure if an idea could help the team.
As with other examples of weaknesses for a job interview, you should tread lightly when using this one. You wouldn’t want to look like an inefficient worker because you’re too shy to suggest ideas.
What not to answer when asked about your weakness
In our opinion, there are 3 weaknesses for a job interview that you should avoid using:
• Problem with accuracy or attention to detail
• Poor communication skills
• Problem with teamwork
These weaknesses will hurt your chances of landing the position since they are critical for almost every job.
Ask yourself this question: will this weakness stop me from succeeding in my role? If yes, then you should cross it off your list.
ANOTHER IMPORTANT TIP: Never say that you don’t have any weaknesses. No candidate is perfect, and saying that you’re free from weakness could make you appear arrogant.
Additional tips when answering the ‘weakness’ interview question
Knowing what to say for weakness in a job interview is one thing, but knowing what NOT to say is another.
Being a well-informed candidate will help you stand out from other applicants. Also, you’ll get the recruiter’s attention by avoiding canned answers.
So before you head to your next interview, you should keep these additional tips in mind:
Don’t underestimate yourself too much
When asked about your greatest weakness, it’s important to answer with confidence. This will exhibit self-awareness and willingness to improve.
You don’t have to be embarrassed about being weak in specific areas. Admit your weakness and follow it up with how you’re working on improving it.
Your application is more than just about the job. Try thinking of a weakness in your personal life that relates to the position you’re applying for.
For example, you can say that you sometimes struggle to maintain a work-life balance.
By humanizing yourself, the interviewer can connect with you better. However, avoid being too personal and make sure that the weakness is still relevant to the job.
Be honest and realistic
One common mistake candidates commit during interviews is avoiding everything negative. They may try to frame their weaknesses using the “perfectionism” remark.
It’s best to choose a real weakness instead of trying to evade the question. Feel free to use our examples above and tweak them to suit your situation.
Provide examples of how you overcome a previous weakness
Recruiters know that weaknesses aren’t solved overnight. They will appreciate it if you can provide an example of a weakness and how you worked to overcome it.
In contrast, you should be able to discuss what help you need to overcome your current weakness. This paints self-awareness and motivation to improve yourself.
Try to find a weakness that still connects with the job you’re applying for. As much as you can add a personal touch, you must know where to draw the line.
Ask yourself: does this weakness or point make sense for the position I’m interviewing for?
Answers like “I’m a perfectionist” or “I have a short attention span” don’t really highlight a real weakness. Instead, it makes you sound vague and unprepared for the interview.
Before the interview, identify your real roadblocks related to the position you’re applying for.
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