How to Answer: What are your Weaknesses?

Jan 28, 2016 | Blog

strengths and weaknesses interview question and answers list

In the next of our ‘How to Answer’ series, we tackle that difficult question that requires you to sort of bad-mouth yourself. This is usually why so many struggle with this particular part of an interview.You’re there to make yourself appear as perfect as possible, so explaining to your interviewer why you are not tends to feel somewhat wrong.

It’s all about the right perspective and adopting that of your interviewer (which is good practice in any interview prep). No one actually is perfect. You know this. Your interviewer knows this. The HR department knows this. Your future boss knows this. They’re not looking for a robot. They’re looking for a human being, and just because you have weaknesses, like everyone does, it does not mean that you are not great for the role. You have to give your interviewer more credit than to think you could put them off by showing that you are human and fallible. In fact, it is often believed that if you don’t know your weaknesses then you don’t really know your strengths. That said, there are better ways than others to go about answering this question. Here’s some advice on what to consider.

Work weaknesses only

Oversharing or talking about personal stuff in an interview is a big no-no in general. This question is absolutely no exception. Further to this, don’t talk about every single work weakness you possess. You may have many, but stick to one or two.

Avoid the ‘humble brag’

If you’ve not heard the term used before, a humble brag would be something like “I work too hard”, or “I’m too much of a perfectionist”. These are total cop-out answers that will not impress your interviewer when they ask about your weaknesses. They will have heard these answers over and over and you will simply come across as arrogant and disingenuous.

Talk about a previous weakness that you overcame

It’s perfectly OK to mention a previous weakness that you overcame. This shows that you recognise your weaknesses and do something about them at the same time.

Be honest

This is the most important piece of advice we can give. You have to consider that you may well get this job and if you’ve not been honest then you’ll find it tricky to keep the illusion going when start your work. If you’ve revealed honestly what you are weaker at, you will have provided yourself with the opportunity to ask for help from others. Not only will this give you an easier time, but it will show that you are actively working on removing that weakness from your professional life.

Talking about your weaknesses can feel very uncomfortable. By understanding that you are not perfect and that your interviewer does not expect you to be, you can make this part of the interview go as smoothly as any other parts of it.


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