If you’re not prepared when the question about your weaknesses comes up in an interview, it can feel like your progress toward getting hired has come to a screeching halt. However, this question doesn’t have to be a roadblock on your way to getting the job.
In this article, we’ll discuss the weaknesses for a job interview that you can include in your answer and explain how you can approach this tricky but fundamental question.
Why Hiring Managers Ask About Candidates’ Weaknesses
The question about a candidate’s greatest weaknesses is common in job interviews. This question is often followed or preceded by a question about your strengths, allowing you to tout yourself as the perfect match for the role. But why would a recruiter ask you to talk about your flaws when you’re trying to present yourself in a positive light and land the job?
Interviewers ask this question for several reasons. For one, they want to see if you possess self-awareness. If you can identify your weaknesses, it shows that you have a good understanding of your skills and limitations. Additionally, they want to see how you handle difficult questions.
Lastly, the interviewer wants to see if you’re able to learn and grow from your mistakes. If you can discuss a weakness you’ve been working on improving, it will show you’re resilient and capable of growth.
How To Answer “What Are Your Weaknesses?”
You should know a couple of things before you answer the dreaded “What is your greatest weakness?” question.
First, don’t try to hide your weaknesses or pretend they don’t exist. We all have them, and the interviewer knows it. This is your opportunity to show that you can handle tough questions, that you’re self-aware, and that you plan on improving.
Second, you should be honest when talking about your weaknesses. Don’t just talk about shortcomings you read about online - tackle those you can relate to.
Third, don’t dwell on your weaknesses. Show that you plan on improving. Acknowledge that you need to improve in some areas, but emphasize that you’re aware of the problem and are taking steps to correct it.
Fourth, include weaknesses that are relevant to the job. Listing weaknesses that only affect your personal life, such as “I can’t make myself go to the gym,” won’t give the interviewer any useful information about your ability to do the job and may give off the impression that you’re evading the question.
Finally, make sure that you possess the key skills listed in the job description. If not, it’s better to apply for another job or at least be adamant that you’re willing to actively work on developing that skill.
Examples of Weaknesses for a Job Interview
Now that you understand the main principles of answering the interview question regarding your weaknesses, here is a list of five drawbacks you can mention in your job interview if you find them relevant.
1. Lack of Organization
Being disorganized can be one of the acceptable weaknesses for a job interview, especially when applying for a remote job. If your desktop is filled with files and your desk is covered in documents, you can mention it to the hiring manager. This issue is easily fixed, which makes it an ideal weakness example; just make sure that you bring up the fact that you’re working on the problem.
Example: “I know I can be a bit disorganized at times, as my computer files aren’t always neatly arranged in folders. However, I’ve decided to set aside time to organize everything regularly. That way, I’ll be able to find what I need more quickly, which will increase my efficiency.”
2. Getting Overwhelmed With Workload
If you tend to get frazzled when you have a lot on your plate, you should know that this is another common weakness, and you can use it as an example in your job interview. Again, the key is to show that you’re aware of the problem and are taking steps to address it.
Example: “I know I tend to get overwhelmed when I have a lot to take care of. To combat this, I’ve started using project management software. Furthermore, I’m working on learning to prioritize my tasks and delegate better when necessary.”
3. Being Indecisive
Having a hard time making a decision is another example of a weakness for a job interview. If this describes you, you can use it in the interview, but be sure to share a specific example of when you made a decision and what the outcome was.
Example: “I used to have a hard time making decisions, but I’ve been working on it. Recently, I had to decide whether to accept a new project at work or not. I weighed the pros and cons and consulted with my team, and we decided that taking on the project would be the best course of action.”
4. Lack of Confidence
While we all strive to appear confident in a job interview, admitting that you’re insecure and shy can put you in a positive light in the eyes of hiring managers. Many people struggle with confidence, so discussing how you’re working to improve shows maturity.
Example: “I used to have a lot of trouble speaking up in meetings. I’ve been working on being more assertive, and it’s something I’m definitely getting better at.”
5. Struggling With Saying “No”
Having trouble saying “no” is the greatest weakness for many. This can lead to taking on too many projects and, subsequently, overworking. Thus, if you find that you have this problem, it’s best to be honest about it in your job interview and show that you’re working to overcome it.
Example: “I sometimes struggle with saying ‘no’ when people ask me for favors or help with projects. As a result, I often take on more than I can handle, so I sometimes feel burned out. I’m working on learning to manage my time better and set boundaries so I don’t overcommit.”
Regardless of your weaknesses, remember that the key is to be honest, show that you’re aware of the problem, and emphasize what you’re doing to improve. That way, the interviewer will see that you’re serious about self-improvement and have the potential to be a great asset to their team.