How to Talk About Weaknesses in a Job Interview

  • On March 25, 2021

During a job interview, applicants can easily talk about their strengths and how those abilities make them an ideal candidate for the job. But, the dreaded statement or question many try to avoid is, “What are or tell me about your greatest weakness(es).” It makes applicants uncomfortable, worrying if their answer will risk not receiving a job offer. However, there is a way to talk about your weakness without feeling like it will decrease your chances of landing the job.

The best approach to discussing your weakness in an interview is to utilize it in a manner that helps you gain knowledge and confidence rather than discouraging them of your abilities. The most common reason interviewers ask this question is to make sure you can handle difficult situations on the job. 

Think about the limitations and challenges you’ve experienced at work. If you are unsure, ask previous employers and supervisors if they can provide feedback. Reviewing the job description can also give you insight into specifications they find essential, notifying you that if your weakness is something they require, you shouldn’t mention it during the interview. This also gives you the opportunity to assess if the job is right for you. The hard and preferred experiences shouldn’t be on your list of weaknesses, so the position may not be an ideal fit for you.

Common weaknesses brought up in interviews can range from tending to take on more responsibilities than you can handle, to impatience, to inexperience with a specific skill or technology requirement. Once you’ve identified a weakness to discuss, be aware to add details besides stating it to show you’ve put thought into your answer. From there, you should be able to create a response that addresses your weakness while shifting it from a negative to a positive answer. Let the interviewer know how you took that weakness to become a strength or let them know you need to improve and have a course of action for doing so. If you already know that the plan to better your weakness(es) works, let them know too! Tips to improve your weaknesses include participating in additional training opportunities, discovering tools or advice on how to combat it, working with a mentor periodically to assess and improve, or joining professional development groups to enhance your knowledge.

“What are your weaknesses?” can be a question no one really wants to answer, but it is important to know. While many view it as an obstacle or something to sweep under the rug, knowing an answer and addressing it can show the potential employer your ability to learn from constructive criticism, the ability to adapt and change when presented with a challenge, and how you can keep going during times of struggle. 

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