What Are Your Weaknesses? Interview Question

Unlike the “What are your strengths” question, the What are your weaknesses?” interview question is often what many of us dread hearing. The key to answering this weakness interview question is knowing the balance between sounding honest and actually being honest. You don’t want to be too honest and give away an actual weakness that pertains to the job that you’re applying for or give a weakness that could create problems during work. However, you do want to sound honest by giving a weakness that isn’t going to jeopardize your chances of getting the job, in addition to stressing how you’re improving upon your weakness. Keep in mind that any mention of weaknesses for the interview should not directly relate to your ability to perform the job itself. You want to discreetly turn that weakness into a positive by saying that you acknowledge it is your weakness, but instead of just accepting it, you are actually trying to improve upon it.

“What Are Your Weaknesses?” Examples

NO: Bad Interview Answers: Actually being honest
–    Emotional Weakness: An interviewer once told me that candidates have actually said their weakness was that they get angry too easily, or that they can be very dominating. Although that might be your actual weakness, that kind of honesty is not going to get you the job. You need to leave your emotional problems and personal issues at home because no one wants to work with an emotionally unstable person.
–    Weakness Pertaining to the Specific Job: For example, if you’re applying to an accounting job, don’t say that you don’t pay attention to details, or that you’re not good with numbers.
–    Necessary Skills: Don’t say, “I have bad time management skills.” Time management skills are essential to getting any job done efficiently. You don’t want to give your interviewer any doubt that you may not be able to perform the job by expected deadlines.

NO: Bad Interview Answers: Being cliché/fake
–    “I’m a perfectionist” or “I work too much” are cliché answers that might have worked years ago. However, everyone has heard of this answer by now and it doesn’t impress or show recruiters anything. In fact, this answer could actually hurt you because some interviewers may think you’re insincere.
–    “I have no weaknesses!” We are human, no one is perfect, and we all have weaknesses. Not only will you appear egotistic, but saying this may cause your interviewer to doubt your honesty as well.

YES: Good Interview Answers: Sounding honest
–    There’s no “right” or “perfect” answer. But an example of what I mean by sounding honest is that if you’re applying for a job that you know doesn’t require you to speak in front of public crowds, you can say,

I’m not very good at public speaking. However, I acknowledge that this is an area where I can improve upon so I’ve taken some action by attending a communication class/workshop and reading books on how to improve on my public speaking. I’ve actually put what I’ve learned into practice and I’m starting off slowly by speaking in front of strangers, something that I was never able to do before.

For many jobs, it’s rare that you would have to present in front of large audiences so this answer may suffice. However, this is an answer that you would avoid if you’re applying to certain sales or executive positions. Keep in mind that your answer should still have a similar ideaprovide a weakness that doesn’t directly relate to you performing the job, but stress the fact that you are aware of it and taking the necessary action to improve upon the weakness.

Many times, the interviewer isn’t interested in your actual weakness but is testing your ability to answer this type of question. Practicing your responses will help you from dreading the, “What Are Your Weaknesses?” interview question!