When you are asked the question, 'What's your greatest weakness?' it is absolutely okay to have one. It shows that you're being honest and genuine about yourself, which will win some points with the job interviewer. Yet, if not handled correctly, this can be a challenging question for any job seeker - especially if there are no specific examples to draw from or you are feeling unprepared. We have all been there - you are asked this question, and your mind goes blank! You panic because you think that the only way to answer is to come up with a fake weakness or say something that you think the interviewer wants to hear (e.g., 'I care too much', 'I am always working', etc.).
This question is a chance for you to show the interviewer how you assess your own abilities and your confidence to share details about your skills that need further development, providing an excellent opportunity for the interviewer to see how honest and open-minded you are. Knowing your weaknesses already shows that you're aware of them and want to work towards improving upon them - something any employer would look favourably upon.
Perhaps it's time management, communication skills or your ability to focus on tasks that need attention immediately rather than later - whatever it may be, make sure that you have specifics at hand!
Use some positive traits. If you're not sure what to say, try using these common issues as examples of how you can improve:
Being disorganised or a bit lazy can be quite a popular way for people to describe themselves when asked about their weaknesses at a job interview. General forgetfulness can indicate that you are more likely to focus on projects than be distracted by smaller tasks, which could be a great trait in an employee. You can also how you've improved your organisational skills through classes and training - just make sure to cite specific examples instead of saying, 'I'm better now.'
Another common weakness is for people to speak negatively about themselves during a job interview: they're too serious, don't work well in groups, or get nervous when talking to other people. But if you can show that your demeanour has improved through concrete examples - like how you've developed better social skills after joining a club or undertaken a training course - it shows hiring managers that you are dedicated enough to self-improvement to get the job done.
Stay in control of the interview
Avoid clichés like 'I'm a perfectionist.' You're avoiding the question.
Don't be negative: 'I'm not good at dealing with numbers.' is a poor answer and one the hiring manager won't want to hear either. Think of something positive instead, like 'My biggest weakness is that I care too much about my work!'
Talk about a past mistake
Acknowledge that you've made mistakes in the past and talk about what you learned from it. It's okay to be imperfect as long as you're willing to learn and improve on your weaknesses. This shows self-awareness, which is crucial for employers.
An answer such as, 'I'm not always the best at staying organised' is an excellent way to show your self-awareness.
Talk about what you do well
While it's essential to know and admit your weaknesses, don't forget to talk about your strengths as well. It may help if you can find some interesting anecdotes that demonstrate these qualities--so make sure you do your research beforehand.
For example, if you know the company offers free gym memberships as a benefit, and one of their core values is 'health,' talking about your own enjoyment when exercising shows that you share those same values. Talk about what makes YOU stand out from other candidates.
Mentioning something specific shows that not only have you taken the time to research this company but that you're invested in them and their mission.
Talking about a professional accomplishment gives an employer insight into your work ethic and skillset. This lets them see how well rounded you are as a candidate and can be a real point of differentiation for you compared to other candidates.
This is probably one of the most important things to remember when answering this question. Not only does it show that you're capable of seeing your own weaknesses clearly, but if they're relevant enough, hiring managers will be impressed by how you've used a weakness to improve your skillset and for career advantage.
For example, if you don't know how to use a particular software program or how to undertake a specific behaviour management strategy but have taken the initiative and taught yourself in your own time, this demonstrates a good work ethic and self-awareness. Finally, you can mention what you hope to learn in this position, which will show that you're eager and committed.
Don't say anything negative about your current or previous jobs
A job interview is not the place for bashing anyone but yourself. Even if your former employer was terrible, it's best not to talk negatively about them during an interview.
Keep the answers short
You don't need to go into detail about your weaknesses. A simple one-liner will suffice, like 'I'm not the best at staying organised but it's a skill that I'm working on by undertaking some relevant online training' or 'Even though I've worked here for three years now, there are still some things that I don't know how to do yet.'
This is a great way to show the interviewer that you're willing and eager to learn new things.
Do not be negative
Even if one of your weaknesses is being too introverted to deal with people, it's best to focus on what you're good at instead. This shows employers the considerable strengths that you can bring to the table.
For example, if you're introverted, but that's something that makes you excellent at listening and understanding your co-workers' needs, then say so! Even though it might be a little awkward to talk about such things during an interview, employers really appreciate candidates who are honest and transparent.
Remember you're not perfect
Lastly, it's important to remember that no one is perfect. Even if your CV makes you look like you are the ideal candidate for this job, a successful placement is often about ensuring a strong fit into the existing team and company culture.
We hope you found these interview strategies helpful. If so, please share this article with your friends and family on social media! It's always great to get the word out about new insights into job interviews. Good luck in all of your future endeavours--and don't forget that we're here for you any time if you need help finding a new job or preparing for an interview.
Check our top 10 interview tips that will help you get hired blog to help you ace your job interview!