You’re in the middle of a job interview, and the hiring manager is asking you about your weaknesses. What do you say? If you’re like most people, you probably cringe at this question and try to avoid it altogether. But that’s not a good strategy for getting hired. Instead, I recommend being honest about what your weaknesses are and how you plan to improve them—but also showing how those weaknesses make you stronger professionally.
The most common “weakness” answers include things like “I’m a perfectionist”, or “I work too hard.”
You want to come across as a candidate who is self-aware, but you also don’t want to use a word like “weakness”.
When you’re asked about your weaknesses in an interview, it’s common to hear someone answer with something like “I’m too hard on myself” or “I’m a perfectionist.” These responses are not bad answers—and they’re certainly better than saying nothing. But if those words start flowing out of your mouth when the topic comes up, they could be hurting your chances at success.
Tell interviewers about your weaknesses, but try to present them as adaptive strengths – in other words, take a negative and try to spin it into a positive.
It’s important to be honest when discussing your weaknesses, but you should also try to present them as adaptive strengths—in other words, take a negative and try to spin it into a positive. For example, if you have trouble committing to long-term projects or have difficulty following instructions precisely, then you may want to tell the interviewer that you thrive in environments where there is plenty of opportunity for flexibility.
Another thing you can do is discuss what steps you’ve taken in the past that helped improve on those weaknesses or addressed them directly (for example: taking classes at various levels of education). This shows initiative and readiness for growth; just make sure not to brag about yourself too much!
Be honest but not too honest.
Be honest but not too honest.
The point of the interview is to get the job, so if you’re going to use your personal strengths and weaknesses as an example, make sure they are relevant to the position you’re applying for. For example, saying that you love to travel is great when talking about a sales position because it shows that you have good work-life balance. However, don’t use this example if what they really need is someone with attention-to-detail in their roles as a warehouse manager or corporate secretary.
Instead of using personal traits as weaknesses (for example: “I get bored easily”), try using examples of things that aren’t directly related to yourself (for example: “Sometimes I find myself checking my phone at inappropriate times”). This way it’s clear that while there may be certain ways in which some aspects of your personality could be seen as weaknesses by others (such as being disorganized), they won’t negatively impact how well-suited for success at this job would be for anyone else who has similar traits themselves.”
Be willing to admit that you have weaknesses.
You should be willing to admit that you have weaknesses. This is a great opportunity to talk about how you’re working on being better at those things, and show your interviewer that you’re committed to learning new skills and growing within the organization.
Talk about how you’re working on being better at those things.
If you’re not working on any of these things, great! You can skip this section entirely. But if there are some that you want to improve, be specific about what you’re doing to do so. For example:
- I’ve been reading up on how to better manage my time and I’ve found a few strategies that have helped me get more done each day.
- I know that communicating with coworkers is one of my biggest weaknesses, so I’m making a point to have more face-to-face conversations with my team members every week.
- Instead of spending all weekend watching Netflix shows, I’m going to spend it studying for the certification exam next month—I want to show my boss that I’m committed to learning new skills and growing within her company!
Show that you’re committed to learning new skills and growing within your new job.
When it comes to demonstrating commitment, it’s helpful to think of your new job as a learning experience. Asking questions and showing curiosity about what you don’t know will show how eager you are to learn about the new position. This is especially important if your previous work experience doesn’t align with the job description. For instance, if you have years of marketing experience but they’re looking for someone with coding skills, they’ll want to know that you understand what this role requires and that you’re ready to put in hard work on the job.
Avoid using personal traits and characteristics as weaknesses.
- Don’t say that you’re bad at math.
- Don’t say that you’re a perfectionist.
- Don’t say that you’re too hardworking.
- Don’t say that you’re a people person.
- Don’t say that you’re a workaholic
You should be honest with your interviewer, but not so honest that you lose their interest and respect.
When you’re asked to discuss your strengths and weaknesses, it’s important that you are honest with your interviewer. It’s also important that you not tell them too much. As a rule of thumb, if your weaknesses are not directly relevant to the job at hand or if they show that you’re not committed to making an effort when it comes to learning new skills or growing within the position, don’t use them as a weakness in your interview.
For example, being late or leaving work early might be something you struggle with every once in awhile but wouldn’t impact how well someone can do their job as a receptionist; therefore this should probably not be on your list of weaknesses during an interview for that position. However if being organized isn’t something that comes naturally for you and causes problems professionally (like missing deadlines), this could definitely be considered a professional weakness worth discussing—just make sure it’s presented in the right manner so as not to come across as negative!
You’ve gotten this far, and you deserve a job! You have the skills, experience and personality to do great work for your new employer. But now you need to show that in your interview. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses, and be willing to demonstrate those qualities through examples from previous jobs or school projects. Remember: employers want someone who will be able to come in on day one and make an impact on their company’s bottom line – so don’t focus solely on what they want them
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