"What is your biggest weakness?" is one of the mostgeneral interview questionsasked by employers. But if you're unprepared, this question can feel like a trap - after all, what's the real weakness?
Luckily, with practice, you can take this tough interview question and turn it into an opportunity to show your interviewer that you're confident and actively working on your weaknesses.
Why do interviewers ask, "What are your weaknesses?"
Similar to the prompt "Tell me about a time when you failed' ask interviewers, 'What are your weaknesses?' to see if you are honest, confident and willing to improve in areas where you are struggling.
Like his more positive cousin "what are your greatest strengths?', this interview question asks you to think about what skills and qualities you have to offer companies. However, when asked about weaknesses in an interview, many freeze.
This is understandable because you don't want to admit weaknesses that make you look bad in an interview (just as you don't want to talk about them).a time when you had a conflict at work). However, answering this question isn't as hard as you might think, and what matters most is how you present your answer.
Here are a few tips for addressing your weaknesses in a job interview:
How do you answer "What are your weaknesses?"
The following steps will help you find a good answer to the question "What are your weaknesses?" this shows your worth as a candidate:
1. Choose a weakness that doesn't affect your ability to do the job
The key to answering this question effectively is to choose a weakness that you can acknowledge and explain, but that is not critical to your ability to get the job done. To ensure that the weaknesses you are addressing are not critical to the job, review the job posting and determine what skills are being sought.
Once you determine what skills and qualities the company is looking for, you should ask yourself questions to identify your own weaknesses, such as: B. the following:
- How have I failed in the past, and what have I done to improve on those failures since then?
- Did my previous managers criticize some of my work in my previous roles?
- Are there aspects of a job that I generally dislike?
if you are onenew graduateor you are still studying and applying for an internship, then you can imagine the following:
- What did I struggle with during my studies?
- Did my professors criticize anything in particular about my work?
2. Choose real weaknesses for your interview
Don't lie about your weaknesses or use evasive maneuvers like "I'm too much of a perfectionist." Not only will this show that you haven't given the question a thought, but it will also come off as disingenuous.
Instead, you should be open about an area that you want to improve. Ideally, talk about a soft skill that you would like to improve.Soft Skillsare the attributes and personality traits that passively influence your work, like yoursorganizational skillsorteamwork.
Soft skills are harder to measure and don't directly affect your ability to perform your job, making them a great answer to the question, "What are your weaknesses?"
Here are a few examples of good weaknesses to talk about that focus on your soft skills:
- i'm too impatient
- I become competitive in relation to my work
- I think I'm too critical of others
- I'm too honest when communicating with colleagues
- I have trouble delegating tasks
- I struggle with procrastination
- I have trouble multitasking
- My time management skills are not very strong
- I lack organizational skills
- I struggle with public speaking
- I try too hard to please everyone, even when it's not possible
3. Show how you are working to overcome your weaknesses
Once you have identified your weaknesses, you should explain how you are working to overcome them.
For example, you could tell the interviewer that you:
- have obtained feedback from your previous managers and are consciously working on your weaknesses
- completed or enrolled in a course to gain more knowledge
- Practice improvement techniques regularly
Give a specific example of how you have struggled with your weakness in the past and how you have overcome it. If the interviewer phrases this question as aInterview behavior questionlike "tell me about a time when you overcame a weakness", use theSTAR Methodto help you craft a strong answer.
The STAR method gives employers additional context on:
- Situationyou confronted
- Taskin which you were involved
- actionThey took to complete the task
- Result from your action
The outcome of the actions you take should be positive as it shows that you have proactively overcome your weakness. However, if the story you are telling ends less well, that's okay too - just explain what you learned from the experience.
Here's an example of using the STAR Method to explain how you worked to overcome a weakness:
Situation– Thanks to a lot of commitment and commitment, I was promoted to Marketing Manager last year. As we were a small team the learning curve wasn't too steep and I felt like I was progressing well in my new role.
Task– However, as a manager, I suddenly had to lead presentations to our directors and approach new clients. While our small team meetings weren't that bad, I was a nervous wreck whenever I had to get up to speak in front of supervisors. To be honest, my first month was a complete disaster and we barely got any new clients.
action- To resolve this issue I decided to delegate client pitching to one of the best speakers on my team for a period of 2 months and in the meantime I have started attending weekly Toastmasters meetings to do this practice public speaking. I also hired a trainer for intensive sessions to get rid of my stage fright and improve my body language and pronunciation.
Result– Thanks to these different exercises and a lot of practice, after the 2 months had passed I had become much more confident in my public speaking and was able to get through important presentations without sweating. I still get nervous in front of a very large group of people, but since then I've been able to attract some big clients to my business.
Good example answers for "What are your weaknesses?"
Here are some great example answers to get inspiration from if you're ever asked, "What are your weaknesses?":
“Ever since my studies, I have always been a bit strict with myself at work. I always want to do my best and sometimes that can result in taking in more than I can handle. This often resulted in me taking on more work than I could realistically do without staying up all night.
After seeing the quality of my work declining and falling behind on some important projects during my internship, I decided to take fewer courses and focus on just a few things at a time instead of trying to do everything. Switching to more realistic expectations has allowed me to improve the quality of my work and focus more on improving my workinterpersonal skillsand task delegation.”
“Impatience was often something I struggled with. Since I tend to finish my work quickly, I would quickly get annoyed if colleagues lag behind on a team project. At my last job, this affected my relationships with my colleagues, leading me to first ask my manager to assign me projects that I could complete on my own.
However, I knew I needed to work on my interpersonal skills, so I enrolled in a course to promote patience in the workplace. I've also started taking stress management classes, both of which help me manage my impatience and learn to focus on other tasks to fill the time."
“Sometimes I get so lost in the details that I lose sight of the big picture. I've learned over the years to stay organized and focus on my priorities, but I still have a hard time letting go of small details that don't really matter in the long run.
To counter this weakness, I regularly use checklists and prioritize tasks so I can always focus on the most important things first. Additionally, I work closely with my team to ensure we are on the same page to effectively communicate our goals on a given timeline. With these methods, I rarely lose myself in details and have also improved my time management.”
“I think I have two weaknesses when it comes to work: I often struggle with minetime management skillsand I'm not very tech savvy either. I sometimes struggle to adapt to new software programs and it took me a while to get the hang of it. At my current job, we recently switched CMS software, which slowed me down considerably. However, I knew that my slowness was having a negative impact on my work and decided to do intensive training to get up to speed.
Now, when upper management tells us they're going to add new software for us, I immediately sign up for an online course to get up and running quickly. While I'm not perfect, I've seen improvements in how quickly I can organize and get my work done now. I also try to keep up to date with new technological developments so I can adapt to new software programs more easily.”
"Honestly, I have to say that multitasking and a sense of humor are my weaknesses. I love cracking jokes and interacting with my co-workers. In my previous job everything was usually fine until we started getting big projects at the same time and I found that not only was my productivity decreasing due to lack of focus, but I was also distracting my colleagues from their work.
The first time we failed to hit our KPIs, I knew I needed to be more focused. Instead of tackling 3 or 4 tasks in different projects at once, I now prioritize them by importance to be able to do in-depth work. By focusing more on my own work, my teammates were also more productive. Now I try to reserve my best jokes for our breaks and happy hour.”
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