Answering the question, "What is your biggest weakness?" might be difficult, especially if you intend to be talking about your qualifications, talents, and abilities that make you the best candidate for the job.
It might be difficult to frame your weaknesses in a positive light, but when you combine self-awareness with a game plan, you can rapidly set yourself apart from other job candidates.
Identifying shortcomings that nonetheless express strength is the key to prepare for this question. This will demonstrate to the interviewer that you are self-aware enough to see your areas of opportunity.
Why is the weakness question important?
"What are your weaknesses?" like other popular job interview questions, it can be challenging to answer. However, it's not only a stumbling block or a hazard to avoid. It's a time to demonstrate to the employer that you can learn from constructive criticism, that you're prepared to make changes when faced with difficulties, and get back up and brush yourself off when you fall short. Those are qualities that any employer would value.
Examples of Job Interview Weakness
There are methods to respond effectively and techniques to best answer the issue, so the flaws you describe will have no bearing on your chances of receiving the job.
I focus too much on details
Being detail-oriented is usually a positive trait, but if you spend too much time on the details of a project, it could be viewed as a weakness. By admitting that you obsess over details, you're demonstrating to your interviewer that you're capable of assisting the company in avoiding even tiny errors.
Make sure to show how you're improving in this area by looking at the big picture. While having an employee-focused on the finer things may not appeal to employers, a candidate who ensures quality and works for balance can be valuable.
Example: "My main weakness is that I occasionally focus too much on the specifics of a project and spend too much time analyzing the finer points," for example. I've been trying to get better at this by checking in with myself at regular intervals and allowing myself to refocus on the broader picture. In that way, I can maintain quality without jeopardizing my productivity or the team's ability to fulfill the deadline."
I have a hard time saying "no."
It is a delicate balancing act to assist coworkers on projects while managing your responsibilities. Someone who accepts all demands appears dedicated and eager to an employer, but can also be someone who doesn't recognize their boundaries and needs support or deadline extensions to do their work.
If you can't seem to say "no" to new initiatives, talk about how you're trying to better self-manage by organizing your tasks and having more reasonable goals for yourself and others.
Example: "My key weakness is that I have a hard time saying no to requests and end up taking on more than I can handle," says one example. This has made me feel worried or burned out in the past. I use a project management tool to help me better in this area since it allows me to see how much work I have at any given time and whether I have the capacity to take on more."
I could use more experience in…
Each candidate has areas in which they can increase their knowledge. Perhaps it's something more particular, such as creating pivot tables in Excel. It could be a skill such as accounting, writing, or public speaking. In any case, mentioning anything you'd like to improve on shows the interviewer that you're self-aware and like a good challenge. However, make sure you don't respond with a weakness that is critical to the role.
The following are some of the most common areas where people require experience:
- Written Communication
- Verbal Communication
- Team Leadership
- Analytical interpretation
- Task delegation
- Giving constructive feedback
- Programs in particular (e.g., "I'd like to improve my PowerPoint presentation skills.")
I sometimes lack confidence
Lack of confidence is a prevalent weakness, particularly among entry-level employees. In some cases, a lack of confidence might lead to inefficiencies in your work. For example, you may feel unqualified to speak up at a crucial meeting when your suggestion could aid the team in achieving a common goal.
While being humble when working with others might be beneficial, you must also keep a certain confidence level to perform at your best.
If this is the flaw you want to highlight in your interview, talk about why you value confidence, how you recognize the value you provide, and how you've practised expressing confidence in the workplace (even when you might not always feel it.)
Example: "In the past, I have struggled with confidence. To better understand why I should be confident in the skills and unique skills I bring to the table, I've kept a running record of the influence I've had on my team and at my business.
I have also made it a point to speak up during meetings when I believe my ideas and opinions are relevant and will bring value to the discussion. As a result, my concept for a new financing approach was adopted by our team, resulting in a 10% reduction in the time it took to plan our yearly budget."
I have a hard time asking for help.
When you lack experience in a particular field and when you are burned out or unable to handle your job, asking for assistance is a critical ability. Knowing when and how to ask for help demonstrates high self-awareness and assists the organization by preventing inefficiency. While a strong work ethic and independence are desirable attributes, the company should know when to seek assistance.
Explain why you know it is useful and how you have worked to improve this skill if you know it has been difficult in the past.
Example: "It has been difficult for me to ask for help when I need it because I am independent and enjoy working quickly. When I don't understand anything or feel burned out by my workload, I've discovered that reaching out is much more helpful for the company and me.
I also recognize that many professionals in my direct proximity possess specific knowledge and abilities that can help me improve my work. While I'm still working on it, I've been able to generate higher-quality work as a result of the assistance I've received."
Working with certain personalities has been challenging for me.
Even the most flexible individuals may find it challenging to work with others who have particular qualities or personality traits. Good cooperation abilities also imply a thorough understanding of collaborating with others and improving your approach to serving the organization better.
If this has previously been a weakness of yours, explain the personality types you have had difficulty working with and swiftly identify why. Then talk about how you've changed your communication or work approach to better collaborate on a common goal.
Example: "In the past, I've found it difficult to work with people who have aggressive personalities." While I recognize that a diverse workforce is beneficial to a company's success, I find myself suppressing my thoughts and opinions when working with louder coworkers.
To address this, I've made it a point to spend more time with coworkers with whom I don't feel comfortable. I am better able to collaborate with these personality types by understanding more about them, their communication style, and their goals so that we can both share our strengths and skills equally."
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance sometimes be challenging for me.
It's critical to maintain a work-life balance if you want to stay motivated in your career. While it is admirable and demonstrates a strong work ethic to devote your time and energy to your job, you must also prioritize resting, vacationing, spending time with your family, and engaging in hobbies. This can help you feel more energized at work and enhance motivation, creativity, and support a positive attitude.
Explain how you have learned to balance life and work and how your work has improved if this is the shortcoming you choose to highlight during the interview. You might also mention that you value work-life balance in the position you're seeking for.
You should undertake considerable research into the company culture before using it as an example. You might not want to declare you turn your phone off at night to achieve work/life balance if you're interviewing for a position where having your phone on and available at all times is a requirement.
Example: "It can be hard for me to maintain a healthy balance between work and my personal life because I truly enjoy my profession and have ambitious career goals." When I overlook my own needs, it has a detrimental impact on my motivation and focus.
As a result, I've made it a point to prioritize volunteering and spending time with my family in my schedule. Small actions, such as turning off my phone during meals, are beneficial. I've discovered that when I maintain a solid work/life balance, my production is more qualitative, I can get more work done, and I look forward to going to work in the morning."
Put your weakness in a positive light
Once you've identified your weakness, develop a response that highlights it in the best possible light. How do you go about doing that? Here are three ideas to consider:
- Avoid using negative adjectives like failure or incompetence, and instead, focus on the positive.
- Discuss how you have turned a weakness into a strength.
- Demonstrate how you see areas where you need to improve and take actions to do so.
What are some ways you may better yourself to overcome a weakness?
- Attend a class or receive training.
- Learn about time management tools, such as applications that can help you keep track of your time, schedule breaks, and cooperate more effectively.
- Collaborate with a mentor.
- Volunteering is a great way to learn new skills.
- Join professional organizations or trade associations.
As you prepare for your next interview, you may be considering which questions the employer is going to ask you. Click here to view more on popular interview questions.
View Kelin Zvomuya's full profile