It’s a classic question that interviewers pose time and time again: ‘What are your weaknesses?’ Yet it seems to also be the toughest to answer.
What kind of response should this question elicit? We have the scoop on some of the top ways to answer, ‘What are your weaknesses?’ When it comes to delivering a thoughtful answer, we have some excellent tips for you.
How To Respond To ‘What Are Your Weaknesses?’
Think about times you have dealt with traits you wouldn’t consider strengths of yours. Then, ask yourself a few questions.
- Did you learn anything from those experiences? How have you grown from them?
- Has anyone told you that you have a shortcoming or personality flaw?
- Perhaps you’re impatient or shy at times?
- Do you find it hard to move past negative situations?
- Are you hesitant when faced with change or the unknown?
- Do you have a hard time hearing any sort of criticism?
Now, after recognizing the answer to “What are your weaknesses?”, describe how you are fixing those things. How have you made changes to adopt more positive traits?
Now, examine how those weaknesses you recognize within yourself can apply to the position you are interviewing for. How would you conquer those faults moving forward?
Play The “Used To” Card
Express how you have changed your ways after recognizing your weakness. Some sample answers may include:
- “Sometimes, I can be too blunt and honest. I tend to say the first thing that comes to my mind, and it can come across as cold and perhaps slightly mean — which is not my intention. Once I realized I was doing this, I started constantly working on ensuring that my criticisms are constructive. Also, I am working on leaving coworkers with solutions or suggestions instead of simply shutting them down, like I used to.”
- “I have a difficult time letting go of a project or sharing it with others. It usually stems from me being convinced I can do it all on my own. Also, I somehow have it in my mind that asking for help may be seen as a sign of weakness. This has led to me taking on projects that have overwhelmed me and subsequently frustrated me. Little by little, I have been working on entrusting others with work and projects. Since that epiphany, I have been able to accomplish some wonderful things and interacted better with my coworkers.”
- “I used to be pretty bad at public speaking. In college, it terrified me. So I decided to make a pact with myself that I would speak up in front of small groups, such as in class. Then, I enrolled myself in a public speaking class, which made a major difference. Now, while I still get nervous, I feel like it does not totally hinder me, and I recently gave a speech to more than 200 people at a conference. My hands were shaking, but I got some great feedback afterward. My weakness in public speaking was really a matter of me having the courage to push through it and do my best.”
It’s important in the interview to transform your “weakness” into evidence of progress.
When answering this question, it’s important to be honest. Avoid cliches such as, “I’m a perfectionist.” Employers can smell from a mile away that this is a glossed-over response.
Thinking through your response to this question ahead of time will better prepare you to effortlessly respond when the question is asked – since it most often is. Doing so will help alleviate some of the stress you may experience during your next job interview.