5+ Great Ways to Answer “What Is Your Greatest Weakness?”
What exactly is the right way to answer “what is your greatest weakness?”
For such a popular interview question, the answer was never really clear!
Are you supposed to deny that you have one? Or go all confession time on recruiters and share your most genuine weakness?
The answer is neither. What you do is turn the situation to your advantage by framing your weaknesses positively.
And no - we don’t mean saying “I’m a perfectionist” or some similar nonsense.
So, wanna know how not to miss a beat when recruiters ask you “what is your greatest weakness?”
This article will show you just that!
Why Do Interviewers Ask “What Is Your Greatest Weakness?”
How to answer “what is your greatest weakness”, 5+ “what is your greatest weakness” answer samples.
- 49+ Skills You Can Mention as Weaknesses in An Interview
- Tips to Identify (and Address) Your Weaknesses
The first step to answering “what is your greatest weakness” correctly is to understand why recruiters ask the question in the first place.
When recruiters ask you to identify your greatest weaknesses, they are looking for the following three things:
- Honesty. They want to know if you're honest enough to give a real weakness. Keep in mind that if you get hired, your professional weaknesses will come up in one way or another, so being open about them in advance is the best option.
- Self-awareness , or the ability to analyze yourself and recognize the areas where you need to work on.
- Willingness to improve. Everyone has weaknesses - even recruiters themselves. That’s why they don’t expect you to lie about it. What recruiters do expect, however, is that you’re willing (and trying) to improve.
When you know just what the recruiters are expecting from you, the interview question doesn’t seem as hard, does it?
Now, let’s move on to the next important step:
Let’s first state the obvious.
No matter what, your answer should never be “Weakness? I don’t have a weakness.”
Everybody has weaknesses. Denying yours only shows you’re not self-aware, which is, as we mentioned before, a red flag for recruiters.
Instead, you should frame your weaknesses positively.
And no, that’s not the same as disguising a strength as a weakness (“I’m just TOO detail-oriented”).
What we mean by “frame your weaknesses positively” is the following:
- Don’t lie about your weakness, but choose one that’s not super relevant to the position you’re applying for. You can’t say “my weakness is that I’m bad at writing” if you’re applying for a job as a creative writer, right?
- Talk about the steps you’re taking to improve yourself.
Here’s a concrete example.
Say you’re applying for a job as a copy editor. This is part of the job description:
For starters, you wouldn’t want to answer “what’s your greatest weakness?” with any of the following: effective communication, accuracy, attention to detail, or teamwork.
All these skills are essential to the job and mentioning them as weaknesses would do more harm than good.
Rather, you want to identify a real weakness that you have, discuss it genuinely, and highlight how you are addressing it (or planning to).
Here’s how you can do that:
My greatest weakness is time management. I have always been very detail-oriented, so it sometimes takes me longer to finish a project than I initially think it will. This is why I started using time-tracking software in my last job. It made me more conscious of the time a task takes me and helped me never miss a deadline again.
This is a good answer because:
- It answers with a real weakness, but one that’s not essential to the position.
- It highlights exactly what you’ve done to improve yourself.
Moreover, this answer effectively mentions a strength that is essential to the job: being detail-oriented. If you can also fit one organically into your answer, that’s a huge plus.
Want to know what other questions might come up during a job interview? Our guide has 35+ interview questions (and answers) that recruiters love to ask.
#1. Lack of experience
This one’s usually a very good answer if you’re a recent university graduate or if you’re switching careers.
For example, let’s say you’re a recent college graduate applying for a job as a graphic designer.
You can say that you lack experience with a certain software because you’ve practiced on a different one.
In such a case, if you’re asked “what is your greatest weakness?” you can answer like this:
- “I’m not experienced with the latest version of Adobe Illustrator, because I’ve practiced my skills using CorelDRAW. However, considering they are both design software, I think I could learn how to use Adobe in no time. ”
Or, like this:
- “I’m not experienced in analyzing large amounts of financial data because I have yet to properly practice the financial literacy skills I acquired at University. I’m confident I will get the hang of it as soon as I get first-hand work experience.”
Teamwork (or lack thereof) is a completely valid weakness, especially if your job doesn’t involve working with many people.
Just make sure not to mix up teamwork skills with effective communication skills , even though the two are connected.
See, there are hardly any jobs out there that don’t require communication skills, so straight-on mentioning communication as your weakness might not be the best idea.
Teamwork, on the other hand, involves close collaboration with a team to achieve a common goal, which is not necessarily required in every field.
Here’s how you can tell the recruiter about this weakness:
- “I’m not a team player, honestly. I’ve always been less productive working with a group of people, while I do my best when I’m alone. This is one of the reasons I chose to become a writer.”
You’d be surprised how many people struggle with procrastination. It’s a (bad) habit that’s been around for so long, there’s even a Goodreads quote page dedicated to it.
As a weakness, procrastination can be a two-edged sword. If you don’t frame it properly, recruiters might assume you’re likely to miss deadlines or submit low-quality work.
The key here is to mention exactly how you’ve improved or are planning to improve this weakness.
Here’s how to frame your answer:
- “Since I was in university, I have struggled with procrastination. Before I worked my first job, I didn’t think it was a weakness, because I never missed a deadline. I just had to pull an all-nighter here and there. But after I saw how my procrastination on a task affects the productivity of the entire team and the quality of a project’s result, I realized it’s a weakness I should improve. I changed my work ethic, how I tackle tasks, and how I motivate myself to work and have seen considerable improvement. I no longer rely on last-minute panic to complete my work.”
Struggling to remain patient is one of those weaknesses that is almost justifiable to have.
Think about it. It’s almost impossible not to lose your patience at some point or another when you’re working. It might happen because of a difficult task you can’t complete, or a colleague missing a deadline. The point is how you react to your impatience and whether you let it impact your relations with your coworkers or customers.
So, unless you’re working a job where it’s essential to be patient (such as being a teacher), you can use impatience as a weakness as long as you frame it positively.
Here’s how to do that:
- “At times, impatience gets the best of me. If I’m working on a team project and I think that we’re not handling the task at hand in the best way, I tend to get fidgety and annoyed. In my last job, this weakness impacted my relationship with coworkers, so I’ve now enrolled in a training course to cultivate patience in the workplace. I’m also actively practicing patience outside of work to make it a habit in my daily life.”
Many people grapple with self-criticism.
At one point or another, we feel like we could have done more, or that we didn’t give our all towards a certain task.
For this reason, self-criticism is a weakness that you can use in most situations when recruiters ask you what your greatest weakness is.
Here’s how you’d go about it:
- “My greatest weakness is that I’m too critical of myself and often feel like I’m not giving my best, or like I disappoint the people I work with. This often led me to overwork myself, burn out, or feel inferior to my colleagues, although my supervisors hadn’t complained about my performance. During the past year, I have been working on myself actively, trying to be fairer with myself.”
Multitasking might not be as great as you think.
Yes, our increasingly busy lifestyles can sometimes trick us into thinking multitasking is amazing, but recent studies show multitasking can seriously harm work performance.
Multitasking makes you more likely to make mistakes at work, be less efficient with your tasks, and overall really hurts your productivity.
Hence, you can easily use multitasking as an answer to “what is your greatest weakness?”
Here’s how you’d reply to the interviewers:
- “My weakness? I multitask too much. I first noticed it was an issue in my last job - I was too distracted and tackling two or three tasks at once ruined my productivity. I’ve been minding how I work ever since and I make sure to always define and prioritize all my tasks. Then, instead of juggling 3 at the same time, I try to go through them one by one.”
Looking for more examples? Head over to our guide on 22+ strengths and weaknesses for job interviews .
Skills You Can Mention as Weaknesses in An Interview
By now, you should understand that it’s not really about the weakness, but about the way you present the weakness and the steps you’re taking to improve on it.
If you are truthful and proactive about your weakness, it shows that you’re the type of person who shows drive and initiative - both must-have skills for a lot of employers.
Having said this, you can take a look at the list below of soft skills that you can mention as weaknesses to get you thinking on what your weakness is:
- Task delegation
- Taking on risks
- Creative writing
- Financial literacy
- Foreign languages (or a particular foreign language)
- A particular software
- Being too honest
- Public speaking/Presenting
- Time management
- Sharing responsibility
- Taking on too much responsibility
- Taking on too many projects at once
As we mentioned before, you can mention any of these weaknesses as long as they’re not directly related to the job you’re applying for.
If you’re applying for a position as a TV reporter, your weakness shouldn’t be public speaking, shyness, or teamwork - lacking these skills will negatively impact your ability to do the job (and will lead to you not getting hired).
Instead, you could say the following:
- “Some of my weaknesses? Let’s see...First, I’d say I’m not a very spontaneous person. I prefer to work prepared and according to a well-defined plan. This sometimes works to my disadvantage, because it’s impossible to always be prepared. Another weakness is that I sometimes take on too many projects at once. This can sometimes hinder the quality of my work. This is why I’ve made it a practice to set realistic goals every time I take on a project and share more responsibilities with my colleagues.”
Tips to Identify (and Address) Your Weakness
Now, in case we didn’t stress this enough, it’s important to be as genuine as possible when recruiters ask “what is your greatest weakness?”
This means that your weakness should be authentic, not just a skill that you picked out of a list because you think it’s harmless to the position you’re applying to.
The more authentic the weakness you mention (and the steps you’re taking to address it), the easier you’ll come across as a self-aware and self-improving candidate.
In this section, we’ll teach you just how you can do this.
Identifying Your Weakness
Struggling to pinpoint your weak points? Ask yourself the following:
- Did my past supervisors criticize me on a particular aspect of my work?
- Was I ever asked to improve something and how did I approach it?
- How have I failed to complete work tasks and what have I done to improve?
- What is something I’m really not fond of doing in terms of work?
- What were some of my weaknesses back when I was a student?
- Was there something specific that professors criticized me about during my academic studies?
The answers that come up more frequently will be your main weaknesses.
Addressing Your Weaknesses
Now, identifying your weaknesses doesn’t mean much unless you go the extra mile and improve on them.
And sure, you can take a shortcut and say you’re doing something to address your weaknesses just for the sake of replying to the interview question correctly, but sooner or later that could harm your work performance.
That’s why, instead of just mentioning it during the job interview, we advise you to try out one of the following ways to address your weakness:
- Use tools that can help you improve your weaknesses
- Enroll in a class
- Ask for feedback
- Consult an advisor
- Practice the skill/s outside of work
- Join a workshop
- Get training
- Get advice from someone whose strength is your weakness
Well, that was a lot to take in!
Hopefully, now you’re more than prepared to answer “what is your greatest weakness?”
Just in case, let’s go over some of the main points we covered in the article:
- When recruiters ask “what is your greatest weakness,” they are looking to see if you are honest, self-aware, and willing to improve.
- Answer “what is your greatest weakness” by choosing a skill that is not essential to the job you’re applying to and by stressing exactly how you’re practically addressing your weakness.
- Some skills that you can use as weaknesses include impatience, multitasking, self-criticism, and procrastination.
- An authentic answer goes a long way. That’s why the best solution is to identify your real weaknesses and take proactive measures to address them.
- Questions to Ask an Interviewer [+15 Examples]
- Video Interview - Tips on How to Ace It in 2023
- Phone Interview Questions & Tips - How to Ace It In 2023
Tricky Interview Questions: Your Greatest Weakness?
- By Visium Resources
- September 10, 2020
- No Comments
Caring too much? Loving too hard?
When it comes to interview questions, perhaps none is as dreaded as “Tell me about your greatest weaknesses.” We’ve seen it trip up even the most prepared of candidates, and it is no wonder why. How do you talk to an interviewer about your shortcomings without coming off as a hopelessly unqualified person for the job? It’s a tricky interview question, but it can be done!
Preparing ahead of the interview is important for any question, but especially when talking about your strengths and weaknesses. Even if you aren’t asked specifically about your strengths and weaknesses at the interview, knowing how you would respond to this will give you a great idea of how to answer many related questions about what you can offer to the organization and how you wish to grow and develop in the future.
In an interview, you may be asked about your strengths and weaknesses in two separate questions. Often, however, you are asked about them in one combined question. In the event of one question, make sure you first focus on your weaknesses, so you can end on a positive note with the strengths.
When discussing your weaknesses, you will want to guide the discussion in a way that helps move you closer to the job offer. Remember, hiring managers really want to know how you handle adversity on the job.
When beginning to prepare, think about things that have challenged you at work in the past. It is a great exercise to make a list of your known weaknesses. Think back on performance evaluations and notes from supervisors about areas for improvement and use these for the basis of your list.
Of course, you will also want to research the employer and the job requirements. By thoroughly reviewing the job posting before the interview you can be sure you won’t mention a weakness that’s critical to the job. Reread the job description multiple times so you know what attributes and abilities are essential to the job. Those hard or soft skills shouldn’t be on your weakness list. Everything else is fair game.
The formula for your answer is quite easy to fill in after you prepare: First, state your weakness. Second, add additional context and a specific example or story of how this trait has emerged in your professional life. That context will give potential employers insight into your level of self-awareness and commitment to professional growth. Third, talk about how you have taken steps to mitigate or improve the weakness in your professional development.
Now, since we all have weaknesses but rarely want to admit to them, it’s best to begin with a truthful answer and build your script from there. Select an answer that a hiring manager would not consider to be essential qualities or skills for the position as well as qualities that you are actively improving.
Some examples of weaknesses might include:
- Perfectionism (note: this can be a strength in many roles, so be sure you have an example of how perfectionism can be a problem to demonstrate that you’ve thought deeply about this trait)
- Shy/Not adept at public speaking
- Competitive (note: like perfectionism, this can be a strength)
- Limited experience in a nonessential skill (especially if obvious on your resume)
- Not skilled at delegating tasks
- Take on too much responsibility
- Not detail-oriented/too detail-oriented
- Not comfortable taking risks
- Too focused/lack of focus
Here are some examples that could guide you on your way to interview perfection:
Example weakness 1: Self-critical
“I can be too critical of myself. A pattern I’ve noticed throughout my career is that I often feel I could have done more, even if objectively, I’ve done well. Earlier in my career, this led to burnout and negative self-talk. One solution I’ve implemented over the last three years is to actively pause and celebrate my achievements. Not only has this helped my own self-esteem, but it has also helped me genuinely appreciate and recognize my team and other support systems.”
Example weakness 2: Difficulty asking questions
“I default to believing that I can solve any problem on my own. This works well in some situations, but in many cases, I need the help of others to overcome factors beyond my control. In one instance last year, I was spearheading a client event that had a lot of moving parts. It wasn’t until after the event that I realized how narrowly I had pulled it off. I was trying to manage everything from the strategic plan down to the tiniest details, like table settings. I did a lot of self-reflection afterward. Since then, I’ve been training myself to take a step back before diving into problem-solving mode and identify people or groups that can be resources to me.”
Example weakness 3: Perfectionism
“I tend to be a perfectionist and can linger on the details of a project which can threaten deadlines. Early on in my career, when I worked for ABC Inc., that very thing happened. I was laboring over the details and in turn, caused my manager to be stressed when I almost missed the deadline on my deliverables. I learned the hard way back then, but I did learn. Today I’m always aware of how what I’m doing affects my team and management. I’ve learned how to find the balance between perfect and excellent and being timely.”
Of course, you will need to personalize the above examples according to your personal weakness and the ways that you’re adapting and improving yourself.
Though often one of the most dreaded interview questions, when you take the time to prepare a thoughtful response, you can use this question to create a unique story about who you are and where you want to go. As you prepare your answers, remember to turn weaknesses into challenges that you’ve overcome and show you are a great fit for the job.
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Strengths and Weaknesses Interview Questions and Answers with Examples
As a job seeker, one of the most common (and difficult) interview questions that you’ll inevitably encounter is: what are your strengths and weaknesses?
To some candidates, this question can strike fear immediately and leave them stumped. Other candidates may have a rough strategy for answers, but they’re not 100% sure how to answer this question clearly and in a way that lets you stand out from the other interviewed candidates.
To ace your interview, you’ll need to deploy communication skills and use this question to your advantage. Showcase your unique skills, personality, and experience, while also demonstrating how you’re a great fit for the role.
HackerTrail has compiled a detailed list of “strengths and weaknesses interview questions and answers" that will help you answer confidently.
Why Interviewers Ask About Your Strengths and Weaknesses at a Job Interview
Tips on talking about your strengths in a job interview, examples of strengths to mention in a job interview, sample answers to talk about your strengths at an interview.
- Being Proactive
- Time Management
- Relevant Skills
- Technical knowledge
Tips for Talking About Your Weaknesses in a Job Interview
Examples of weaknesses to mention in a job interview, sample answers to talk about your weaknesses at an interview.
- Self Criticism Weakness
- Skill Proficiency
- Conflict Resolution
Conclusion: Strengths and Weaknesses Interview Questions.
Interviewers and hiring managers ask this tough question for multiple reasons:
- How well you can evaluate yourself and your level of self-awareness
- Your awareness of your strengths and how you use them in the workplace
- Your awareness of your weaknesses , how you address them, and how you’ve worked on them
- How relevant your qualities are for the applied role
- To understand how you handle pressure when asked a tough question
If you’re struggling to plan your answer to this question, it can help to think of this question from the point of view of the hirer. What do you think the hiring manager or recruiter might be looking out for in a top candidate who is answering this question?
As a rule of thumb, it is important to be clear in your answer. It is good practice to link your strengths to how they can help you in this new role, and how it can help you contribute to the company’s success.
Whatever you list as strengths, it is crucial to be able to back up your statements with some proof or evidence. Reflect on your work experience and think of clear examples that you can share to demonstrate the strengths that you have just mentioned.
Remember not to exaggerate or bend the truth so as not to run into issues of integrity further down the hiring process. At the same time, avoid a boastful tone of voice when talking about your strengths: aim for confident humility in your answers.
When interviewers ask candidates about their strengths, they want to hear how the candidate had applied them at their previous workplace, as well as in this new role. Hence, you will need to think of responses that align with the job description in addition to your previous professional experience.
To start, make a list of your top strengths and see which ones match the job description and its requirements. After you have created a list of strengths, pick 1-3 and dig deeper. Ask yourself “why do you have this strength and how can you prove it based on your work experience?" and “How has this strength helped you in your previous roles or help you succeed in this new role?”
This ensures that your answers are impactful, authentic, and remain relevant and closely linked to the job that you are interviewing for.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are some strengths that you can think about in your interview preparation:
- Problem solver
- Continuous learner
- Team player
Here is a basic structure for talking about your strengths:
“My biggest strength is [Strength] and I’ve demonstrated this at [work experience where you made use of it], which allowed me to [the goal, impact, or outcome].”
There is no hard and fast rule about how to answer this, so here are some more examples to give you inspiration. The key thing to remember is to be clear and confident when sharing your strengths, but not be too egoistic or exaggerating.
1. Being Proactive
“I am often praised by my superiors and subordinates for being proactive and being able to problem solve under pressure.
Once, our project ran into issues nearing the deadline. Instead of getting overwhelmed in such a stressful situation, I rallied everyone together, brought in experts from other teams and quickly figured out the issue. I then laid out clear and bite-sized steps for everyone and ensured that the project was delivered on time."
“One of my greatest strengths is my ability to be empathetic towards others. I can easily relate to people and understand their wants and needs.
This gives me an advantage in client meetings as I can deeply empathise with and understand what our clients want, allowing my team to better serve them. Not only has this trait helped me strengthen my client relationships, but it has also improved my work relationships too as I try to see things from their point of view in brainstorming sessions."
“My greatest strength is that I’m collaborative and work well in a team. In my previous workplace as a team leader, almost all our project deliverables and tight deadlines were made because of our strong team collaboration. This included weekly brainstorming sessions, and meeting two to three times a week to update each other on the statuses of our work.
I am confident that I can bring my collaborative nature to this role and work seamlessly with the various departments (tech, product, design) to continue developing and improving upon the team’s product.”
"Employers often look for candidates who are natural problem solvers. So, when you identify problem-solving as one of your strengths, the interviewers may give you some complex hypothetical problems to solve.
In order to handle such questions, you need to develop a clear and logical thought process, and preferably some creative solutions that are out of the box. Solving problems successfully would boost your confidence and help you accomplish more within the organization."
5. Time Management
"If you are great at managing your time, do highlight it in your resume as one of your strengths. It indicates that you can prioritise tasks, meet deadlines and stay productive during work hours.
Effective time management lets you get more work done in less time. While it helps you to reduce workplace-related stress, the organization identifies you as a reliable and efficient employee when you showcase your time management skills consistently."
"A positive attitude toward things can help you significantly in the workplace. Employers love to recruit people who always approach challenges with a can-do attitude. Optimists are usually great team players and tend to develop stronger relationships with colleagues and clients.
Also, having an optimist in the team helps create a more pleasant and productive work environment. In other words, your positive attitude can benefit the organisation as well as yourself."
7. Relevant Skills
"Having a particular set of skills that are most relevant to the job you are applying for is certainly a strength worth highlighting. Before you apply for a job, go through the job description, and try to identify what skills are required for the job.
If you have additional skills that may make you more valuable for the job, do mention them in your resume. Employers prefer candidates who already have relevant skills for the job, rather than conducting on-job training for the employees."
8. Technical Knowledge
"Even if the job doesn’t require any advanced technical knowledge, you should highlight your technical expertise as a strength during the job interview.
While most jobs today require a certain level of technical skills, your advanced knowledge will add more value to your profile. The organisation may not require your technical skills right away, but having such skills could come in handy in the long run."
"Strong leadership skills are valued everywhere. Even if the position you are applying for is meant for an entry-level job, you should still highlight your leadership skills as a strength during the interview.
If you can inspire and motivate others, you can be an asset to the organisation. Also, your ability to make tough decisions would help you climb the management ladder very quickly."
"Most candidates do not highlight this skill, but the ability to communicate in more than just one language can actually be a great strength for a candidate.
Even if your proficiency in the second (or third) language is not as great as native speakers, your foundational knowledge of those languages may be useful to the company in handling a certain group of clients and customers. Time to brush up on your languages and add it as one of your strengths."
Sharing your strengths is just half the question answered. Now comes the more challenging part: talking about your weaknesses. The key tip is to share about your weakness in a genuine way without putting yourself in a bad light and worsening the chances of landing the job.
Firstly, think about the kind of weaknesses you should share about. Avoid sharing personal or deal-breaking weaknesses (e.g., “I often get into heated arguments with my colleagues.”). Instead, you should share about weaknesses that are common and fairly acceptable in the workplace.
After which - and this is even more important - you need to explain the action steps you have taken to overcome this weakness. Don’t just share your weaknesses and stop the conversation there. You need to show how you are working on yourself in spite of those weaknesses.
It also helps to balance out your weakness by mentioning a strength that compensates for it. For example, if you are not so detail-oriented, share that you are good at seeing connections between seemingly disparate ideas. Again, you must provide an example from your work that showcases that.
You can end off by sharing that you are always open to feedback and advice, and showing how you are willing to learn and improve.
Keep in mind that these tips are easier said than done, especially since sharing about your weaknesses is a potentially vulnerable area for some candidates.
However, if you are struggling to identify your weaknesses, you can turn to your closest friends or coworkers for feedback on areas that need improvement.
To help you get started, here is a list of weaknesses (that will not ruin your chance of getting hired) you can choose from:
- Too detail-oriented
- Writing ability
- Speaking ability/public speaking/presentation skills
- Limited proficiency in a specific skill or software
While it may be uncomfortable sharing your weaknesses with a hiring manager and people whom you’ve only just met, you can alleviate most of your nerves by preparing your answers in advance.
A simple but effective way of structuring your answer can be this: “My weakness is [weakness], which can lead to [potential negative outcome]. However, over the years I have [steps you have taken to manage this weakness], which has helped me [share a positive outcome].”
Here are some more examples that you can draw inspiration from for your interview preparation:
1. self criticism weakness.
“Self-criticism is one of my weaknesses. From the beginning of my career, instead of appreciating the good work I did, I would often start criticising myself for the mistakes or things that I am not good at. For instance, even after successful completion of a project, I would always feel that I did not give my best, or that I should have taken a different approach.
However, I have learned to manage this by consciously taking note of my goals, achievements, and milestones, whether they are big or small, and taking time to celebrate these. This has helped me become more aware of how my work impacts my team and organisation, as well as helped me become better at prioritising my most impactful work."
"I have always been an introvert. At work, I often shied away from discussing my ideas in team meetings and avoided speaking up in a group setting. I had good intentions, but not sharing ideas wasn’t helping me or the team. Once, my team didn’t meet expectations, and I realised that if I had shared my idea, I could have helped them. That’s when I decided to push myself and challenge my fears.
Firstly, I started sharing ideas with close friends so that I could get comfortable putting my point forward. Then I also joined my local toastmasters’ club and became more comfortable and confident expressing myself in front of an audience. Due to my experience, I also started helping my own team build their own presentation and public speaking skills."
3. Skill Proficiency
“I don’t have as much experience with C++ as I would like. However, when I made a career switch into development, I knew I needed to become proficient in this language to be effective. Hence, I signed up for a 6-month C++ bootcamp, learned the fundamentals, and found that I really enjoyed it and want to continue learning more about it. I am excited to apply myself and the techniques I have learned to this role.”
"If you often get frustrated when things don’t happen quickly enough, you should mention it as one of your weaknesses during the job interview. You can tell the interviewer that you are practicing mindfulness in order to become more patient during stressful situations. Another effective way to improve is to identify the elements that trigger your impatience and avoid them."
"While being a perfectionist is seen as a strength in most cases, you can mention it as one of your weaknesses during a job interview. Perfectionism can hold you back from completing a task on time. It can also lead to self-criticism and is harmful for long term mental health.
While explaining how you are trying to overcome this weakness, mention that you are learning to prioritise tasks more effectively and managing your perfectionism by setting realistic goals."
"While showing initiative to take on a new task is appreciated in the professional field, taking on too much work can put you in a tight spot. This can be a good point to highlight while explaining your weaknesses during a job interview.
You should mention that you are working to improve, which may include reading self-help books or attending relevant workshops. Also, you may highlight the fact that you are working on building better relationships at work, which may allow you to trust others with tasks instead of taking on them all by yourself."
7. Conflict Resolution
"If you struggle to resolve conflicts or collaborate with others, you need to highlight it as a weakness during your job interview. Acknowledging this problem is in itself quite commendable, but you do need to explain what steps you are taking to improve.
You can talk about the strategies that would allow you to improve your communication skills, leading to conflict resolution. The practice of meditation and active listening may also help in improving this."
"Not everyone is comfortable making new connections in a brand new environment. If you are one of those, you can highlight your lack of networking skills as a weakness. In order to improve, you should opt for certain strategies, such as attending networking events, creating a proper LinkedIn profile and reaching out to colleagues for informational interviews. Even connecting with people on the internet counts in today’s digital world."
"If you are poor at managing your schedule, you should highlight it as one of your major weaknesses. Instead of presenting this trait negatively, you can highlight that you always find smarter ways to get things done faster, instead of working in disjointed periods to get the job done.
While procrastination is still a big issue, explain that you are trying on different time management strategies, such as using Pomodoro technique timers , taking on deadline-oriented tasks, etc."
"If you lack the ability to assert yourself in the workplace, it is better to mention it during the interview. Some people tend to avoid conflict as they find it difficult to engage in such difficult situations with others.
However, if you want your potential employer to hire you, you need to show them that you are willing to work on your assertiveness. Share with the interviewers that you are practicing assertive communication and/or seeking mentorship to do so."
Conclusion: Strengths and Weaknesses Interview Questions and Answers.
We hope this guide gives you ample support in your preparation for this tough question that all candidates find difficult to answer. Always remember to be clear and confident in your response, and also to back up your statements with relevant examples.
Lastly, remember to tie your responses back to the job description to demonstrate that you are well-suited for the role. With enough preparation, you’ll be sure to ace this question the next time it comes your way at the interview. Good luck!
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What's Your Greatest Weakness?
“What’s your greatest weakness?” is the question that no one ever quite knows how to prepare to answer . This single question has the power to determine in one swift blow whether you are a potential asset or a liability to a prospective employer .
Luckily, there is a solution – prepare in advance for this dreaded question and you will tame the monster!
Answering the Question
Let’s take a look at what we don’t ever want to say first, and why.
- “Spelling” should never be the greatest weakness of a secretary.
- “Dealing with difficult people” is not a good answer for a customer service or team-oriented position.
- "Bad with math" is the wrong weakness for accounting or analyst jobs.
You get the idea...
- You want to position yourself effectively within the interview and need to match positive answers with a positive tone of voice and body language .
- Look to address the real concern behind the question “Can we count on you to do this job properly?”
When you recognize that "real" question, you can create an answer fine-tuned to selling the position. For example, if you are looking for a job as a secretary, but are not a good speller, you would answer something like this:
“I believe that in any position requiring clerical skills, it is important to produce quality error-free work. Because of this, I always proofread my work and use the spell check as a back-up. For uncommon words, I have always kept a dictionary close at hand.”
Picking the Best Weakness
When you prepare for this question, you will want to pick a weakness that does one of two things:
- Does not hinder your ability to do the job or fit in with the company by pointing out something negative about you.
- Is a strength in disguise or represents an irrelevant weakness.
The "Strength in Disguise" Weakness
What do I mean by a "weakness that is really a strength in disguise"? Let me give you examples of such "weaknesses":
A. People Pleaser:
“It’s important to me that everyone gets along in the workplace. In the past I have always gone the extra mile to help out whenever it is necessary in trying not to disappoint or let anyone down. I’m not saying I no longer help others out. However, I’ve learned to be more assertive, to better recognize and prioritize projects, to know whether I can bail others out without jeopardizing my existing work.”
“I knew on the first day in my last job that I was officially a workaholic when I came out of my office to discover everyone else had left and locked the door, leaving me with no key to get out! That pretty much classifies my career. However, in taking things to extremes, I have found that it is easy to get burned out by not balancing my time very well. I have worked with a success coach and implemented a Franklin Day Planner to better organize and schedule my time, making sure I achieve a balance so that I can still be a valuable player.”
C. Self Critic:
“I feel that my greatest weakness is that I am very critical of my own work. I have always prided myself on producing excellent and error-free work. While this is beneficial to my job performance, it is possible to go to extremes. I have also found that I can easily waste time checking and rechecking. Now I am aware of what to look for in being such a stickler, so I am always making a conscious effort to trust myself and my quality focus more and not be so incredibly critical of my work. I know that there is a limit to proofreading.”
D. New Graduate or Entry-Level without any experience:
“Some people would consider the fact that I have never worked in this field before as a weakness. However, being highly trainable and open minded, I have no pre-conceived notions on how to perform my job. Working with your organization will give me the opportunity to learn the job the way you want it done, not the way I believe it is done. In addition, although I have no former on-the-job experience, I do bring with me extensive hands-on training and experience which can only enhance my ability to learn extremely quickly.”
The "Harmless" Weakness
Perhaps you would prefer to use the harmless weakness strategy. Here is an example of how one of those might look, assuming the position being sought was not one requiring frequently speaking to large groups:
“I once read in a survey that most people ranked public speaking above snakes and death as their worst fears. I’d have to say that my greatest fear is speaking in front of a large group. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not afraid of speaking in front of others even to small groups. It’s just the idea of having to address a large group that makes me nervous. I know that right now this isn’t a critical issue to my career growth. However, I think it would be an important skill to have. I recently heard of a group called Toastmasters that assists its members in learning to gain professional speaking skills. I’m considering joining one, unless your company actually has a chapter that I could get involved in.”
Regardless of what strategy you use, your ultimate goal is to present a real weakness that does not damage your potential for the position but also does not come across as unrealistic or staged. If you are not sure if you are picking a negative weakness, review the criteria for the position and put yourself in the shoes of the employer to consider what you would like to hear and what you would think was negative. Take time to practice difficult answers like this with a partner until you feel comfortable so that you will sound natural and confident in the interview.
Laura DeCarlo is recognized as the career industry’s ‘career hero,’ making a difference to both job seekers and career professionals as the founder of Career Directors International . She possesses 11 top-level certifications in resume writing, career coaching, and career management; seven first place resume and job placement awards; and has written three books on interviewing and job search including Interview Pocket RX , Interviewing: The Gold Standard, and Job Search Bloopers . Follow Laura on Twitter @careerhero. This article is reprinted by permission from Job-Hunt.org .
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“What Is Your Greatest Weakness?” – 10 Best Sample Answers
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While sitting for interviews, you study the company, and the job role you are applying for, and prepare your answers well in advance to make a long-lasting impression on the interviewer. During a series of questions about your skills, strengths, and qualities, hiring managers also want to know - What is your greatest weakness ?
You wouldn’t want to respond with anything that would prevent you from being the right fit for the role. Fortunately, we have gathered some answers to this question to help you value as a good candidate. Here is list of greatest weakness sample answer to ace the interview question “What is your greatest weakness?”
In this blog
1 why do interviewers ask “ what is your greatest weakness’’.
1.1 To Check Your Honesty
When hiring managers ask "What is your greatest weakness?'' this is to often check if you are open about your professional weaknesses. This shows your vulnerability and honesty which is important in your career.
1.2 To Ensure You Are Self-Aware About Yourself
With a probing question like "What is your greatest weakness?" Interviewers want to ensure you have the ability to analyze yourself and that you recognize the areas that you need to improve upon. This will help you upskill yourself in your field and in the long term.
1.3 To Analyze Your Emotional Quotient
This is an essential quality that managers look for in candidates, as it shows your ability to manage your emotions and identify your motivations. It will help you assess things in situations and also help in decision-making.
1.4 To Evaluate Your Willingness For Self-Improvement
This is a good quality in candidates as it is important to have room for improvement, willingness to learn, and constructive criticism from seniors and managers.
Read our article on 5 Ways to Answer "What Can You Contribute to This Company?” here .
2 How To Answer “ What Is Your Greatest Weakness?”
2.1 analyze yourself first.
Take time to self-reflect and identify certain things about yourself.
- What are the challenges you encounter regularly?
- What are your personal goals?
- What feedback have you received in the past?
This gives you clarity about what areas you need to improve on.
2.2 Prepare A Structure For The Answer
To tackle the question “What is your greatest weakness?”, ensure that your answer is structured in complete relevance to the role you are applying to. A goal-oriented response with the skills and qualities that are needed will stand out.
2.3 Ensure To Convey Your Weakness In A Positive Manner
Share your weaknesses in a positive manner when you respond to a classic question like "What is your greatest weakness?". It should be displayed as an opportunity for you to learn in your field. Share an example of a time when you asked someone for help in an area you’ve identified as a weakness. This shows you’ll work with the team to balance out the weakness. For instance, if you want to say micromanaging as a weakness, you should convey it in a structured and positive manner.
2.4 Be Honest
Being perfect leads to burnout. Be open about the areas you’re weak in and how you want to improve on them as a smart answer to the classic "What is your greatest weakness?". Mention the tools and software you would like to learn to enhance your skills in your problem areas.
Read our article on 7 Simple Ways to Answer “What Makes You Unique?” in Your Job here .
3 What is Your Greatest Weakness answer Examples?
3.1 example 1: talkative.
Mentioning this as a weakness shows you’re self-aware of how being talkative can create distractions for others in the workplace. It also shows you are mature enough to build healthy relationships with coworkers but not hamper their productivity.
“I like to bond with my coworkers over conversations. It is a great way to break the ice. However, I do have a tendency to carry on the conversation beyond a point which results in distracting my colleagues. Since then, I have understood that I can use other methods and appropriate times to interact with my coworkers, and I should keep inquiries about their days brief and return to my work.”
3.2 Example 2: Shyness
It can be quite natural to feel shy in a new workplace, meet new people, and get adjusted to your role. By mentioning this to your managers, it could be helpful for them to conduct team-building activities for you to get comfortable. This is a common answer to the question “What is your greatest weakness?”.
“I am a reserved and shy person, and I take time to get comfortable and be a part of the group. This has made it quite challenging to make new friends. Looking forward to the new job where I can introduce myself to others, and feel confident about myself. I’m hoping to be a part of many productive group interactions so I can evolve as a person too”
Read our article on 5 Ways to Answer “Tell Me About Yourself” in Your Interview here .
3.3 Example 3: Procrastination
A lot of people struggle with procrastination, and you should adopt ways to tackle it. Recruiters shouldn’t feel that you might miss deadlines due to this habit. Plan on methods to manage it like using a productivity tool or software to track your time.
“Since college, procrastination has been quite the struggle for me. I used to work all night and never miss a deadline at my first job, due to which I never considered this a weakness. However, I noticed how it impacted my team’s productivity and the outcome of a project , and I decided to work on it. I changed my approach to projects and motivated myself more and it has resulted positively in my work . I no longer rely on last-minute stress.”
3.4 Example 4: Self-Criticism
Times, when you feel like you, could have done more, or you could have done better, or couldn’t give you all, hampers your self-confidence and motivation. Self-criticism as a weakness should be tackled with a positive outlook towards yourself. Your managers can give you positive feedback from time to time. Below is a self-criticism weakness example.
“One of the aspects about myself that I consider a weakness is that I’m too hard on myself, and I often feel that I am not giving my all. This has caused me to overwork myself, burn out, and feel inferior to my coworkers even though I did not have any issues with my performance by my managers. Last year, I worked on myself in an effort to be fairer to myself”
Read our article on 10 Ways to Answer "Why Are You the Best Person for This Job? ” here .
3.5 Example 5: Fear Of Public Speaking
Even though public speaking may not be a part of your role, this shows you’re willing to step out and learn something outside of your business needs. It demonstrates ambition and setting goals for yourself. This is a common answer to the question “What is your greatest weakness?”.
"I find myself nervous when I speak in front of a crowd. Although I didn’t need to do much public speaking in my role as a web designer, I still believe it is a valuable skill, especially when I want to present my views at a meeting. To address this, my manager suggested that I speak in every meeting and discuss the project timeline, deadlines, and goals while creating a website for a client. Because of this, I can now speak with ease and support my team when needed.
Read our article on 20 Top Remote Job Interview Questions and Answers here .
3.6 Example 6: Over-Working
It is important to maintain a healthy work-life balance , and not burn yourself out. You need to manage your time between your personal and professional life. Prioritize tasks and give yourself time. This is a common aspect when answering the question “What is your greatest weakness and how do you overcome it?”
“I overestimated my capacity, both physically and mentally. I was always busy and constantly trying to catch up in my previous stint. I have decided to prioritize my duties in an effort to help myself. Due to this, I can work on my assignments with ease, one thing at a time. When I feel like I have enough time, I work better. I am making an effort to make the most of my time outside of work so that I return to the office feeling renewed.“
Read our article on 5 Ways to Write a Follow-Up Email After your Interview here .
3.7 Example 7: Impatience
Managing your patience in time-bound situations or dealing with colleagues who are slacking can be challenging. It is a skill to be learned to not let your emotions get the best of you in a workplace. This is a common answer to the question “What is your greatest weakness?”.
Oftentimes, my impatience wins. I have a tendency to get irritated when I’m working on a team project and we’re not doing the task at hand in the best way possible. This has impacted my interactions with coworkers at my previous job. So, I’ve decided to join a course to learn to be more patient in the workplace. I am also practicing it outside of work as a daily exercise.”
3.8 Example 8: Timidity
Many times, timidity can be seen as a flaw in workplaces, particularly if a role requires giving feedback to others. Being timid could be seen as being soft. Structure the answer positively and use it as a strength. This is a common aspect when answering the question “What is your greatest weakness and how do you overcome it?”
"I admit that I sometimes hesitate to offer constructive criticism to coworkers as I can be timid or soft while doing so, out of concern for their feelings. Although, in my previous stint, a colleague asked me to review his work and offer suggestions for improvement. I learned that through interaction with him when given in the appropriate circumstances, criticism can be both constructive and compassionate. Since then, I have improved my feedback-giving skills and utilized empathy to give thoughtful suggestions.”
Read our article on How to Answer “Why Do You Want to Work Remotely” here .
3.9 Example 9: Micromanaging
If you are applying to a leadership role or a managerial role, this is an important aspect to convey to a question like "What is your greatest weakness". You are willing to admit your methods aren’t the best and most effective, but you are flexible to learn, improve and grow.
“I used to work in places that required me to develop a strong work ethic among my team members . I’ve become accustomed to this method that I’m not able to tell who might benefit from the coaching and who does not. To address this, I have been reading about productive delegation and team building . Assuring myself that my team will follow if I set clear expectations is one strategy that works for me. I am learning to trust my team.”
3.10 Example 10: Disorganized
Being organized helps keep a clear mind to focus on work. Addressing this weakness shows that you want to perform your best in the role, and you are willing to put in the steps to be more organized. This also shows that you are self-aware. This is a typical answer to the question “What is your greatest weakness?”.
"I have trouble staying organized, be it my desk, my desktop files, and other things. Although it hasn’t impacted my performance, I find that a disorganized desk still bothers my efficiency. I have realized that setting aside time to organize my physical and digital space has helped me improve my productivity throughout the week.”
Read our article on Best Possible Answers and Tips to the Interview Question "Describe your Work Ethic" here .
4.1 What should a "greatest weakness sample answer include?
The greatest weakness sample answer can include - lack of patience, lack of organizational skills, timidity, fear of public speaking, and indecisiveness.
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How to Answer: "What are your weaknesses?" in an Interview
"What are your weaknesses?" is a common question asked by employers during an interview to determine if the interviewee has self-awareness and the ability to identify and overcome their weaknesses. In our guide, we advise you on how to prepare for this question, and provide examples to use in your next job interview.
List of Answers to "What are your weaknesses?"
Download a free list of answers to "What are your weaknesses?" in MS Word format.
List of Example Weaknesses:
- Too critical of other people's work.
- Difficulty delegating tasks.
- Too detail-oriented.
- Need more experience in X.
Impatient with others.
Unfamiliar with X.
Quick to please others.
Struggle to give feedback.
Struggle with presenting or public speaking.
Difficulty maintaining work/life balance.
Take too many risks.
Lack of experience (for entry-level job).
Not creative enough.
Struggle to ask for help.
Lack of confidence.
Unable to multi-task / Multi-tasking too much.
Taking criticism too personally.
Poor writing skills.
Lack of computer skills.
Taking on too many projects at once.
How to Answer "What are Your Weaknesses?"
A step-by-step guide to answering the question "what are your weaknesses?"
Prepare yourself for the interview.
Make a list of weaknesses..
While preparing for your interview, make a list of your skills or qualities that are most important for the role you are interviewing for. These are the strengths that you want to convey to the interviewer. Secondly, think of one or two weaknesses that could be seen in a positive light.
Remember, that by asking the weakness question, the interviewer is trying to gain a deeper understanding of you as a person and whether you would make a good addition to the company.
State your weakness.
In your answer to "What are your weaknesses?", it's important not to mention a real weakness . In other words, you want to mention a skill or trait that is not critical to the position you are interviewing for.
For example, if you're applying for a job in customer service, you do not want to mention that you "don't have great people skills." Furthermore, you should not select a random weakness, e.g., "I'm a perfectionist," which could come off as too scripted.
Give an example of how you have used this weakness to grow professionally.
Your "weakness" should be an example or story of how you have struggled with an aspect of work, and how you corrected or overcame that weakness in your professional life. This tells your employer that you're a good fit for the role by emphasizing your ability to find solutions to problems.
If you are actively working on overcoming a particular weakness, be sure to explain your plan-of-action during the interview.
Best Answers to Why Should We Hire You?
What are some examples of "What are your weaknesses?"
- Too self-critical .
How do you answer what is your greatest weakness?
- Prepare yourself for the interview .
- State your weakness .
- Give an example of how you have used this weakness to grow professionally .
What are good weaknesses?
A good weakness refers to a weakness that can be seen in a positive light. For example, being too critical could mean that you pick up on mistakes that your colleagues would otherwise miss in a project.
How to answer: what are your strengths and weaknesses, hard skills vs. soft skills, how to answer: where do you see yourself in 5 years, how to write a follow-up email after an interview, how to answer: "why do you want to work here".
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How to Stop Self-Criticism and Constructively Work on Your Weaknesses
We’ve all had it: that sinking feeling when you just know you’ve bombed at a meeting or presentation.
It stinks — and, frankly, it hurts our ego. We all want to be good — scratch that — great at our jobs, so a misstep can leave us feeling vulnerable. In our heads, we start launching harsh internal criticisms, ruminating on our incompetence or how we’re otherwise not up to snuff at the workplace. Cue pity party!
But is beating yourself up doing you any good? Is there such thing as being too hard on yourself? According to the research , absolutely. Overly harsh self-criticism has been showed to undermine motivation, impede progress toward goals, and increase procrastination.
So, how can you deal with your stumbling blocks in ways that are both constructive and helpful? Try these tips to learn from your strengths and weaknesses — without beating yourself up.
After a bad meeting or presentation, it’s easy to slide down the slippery slope of self-bashing. When your head is spinning with “I should have done this or that” scenarios, you’re in no position to be making rational judgments about your performance.
So, your best bet is to step away from the situation physically and mentally to gain perspective. Taking a walk outside is a great way to physically detach from the office. Try to give yourself at least 24 hours before revisiting the situation. It’s critical to come to the table with a level-headed, emotionally neutral state to kick your motivation into high gear.
Say it with me now: “Hello, I’m human, and I make mistakes.” That’s reality.
As much as we would all love to be the perfect employee who bags every employee achievement award that ever existed, it’s simply not realistic. In fact, aiming for an impossibly high standard will only lead to disappointment.
To keep your perfectionism in check, take note of how you describe your slipups. Do you catch yourself saying things like “I always forget people’s names” or “I’ll never figure out how to run a report that pleases my boss”? If so, you’re slipping into what’s known as a negative explanatory style — that is, blaming bad events on permanent, all-encompassing aspects of yourself (think: “I’m just not that smart” or “I’ll never have the confidence to be good at public speaking”).
Instead, try to turn those thoughts into specific, changeable behaviors that you can improve (e.g., “I felt unprepared for the meeting, so next time I’ll spend 15 minutes reading over my notes instead of five minutes”). Zeroing in on specific actions you can take helps shift your mindset from “I have to be perfect” to “I’m a work in progress, and that’s OK.”
Also remember to not let minor, insignificant details distract you from the bigger picture. Putting the company’s outdated logo on your PowerPoint slides isn’t going to make or break your career.
When we’re in a self-critical mode, we often turn inward. So, to constructively address your shortcomings, it can help to shift your focus outward and engage with others .
Finding a mentor is an especially constructive approach. Find someone who has the skills and traits you’d like to emulate, and start spending more time with him or her. Not only will you learn through observation, your mentor can be a great source of positive reinforcement and guidance. When you’re facing a challenge or dealing with a stumbling block, your mentor can provide feedback that’s helpful, constructive, and honest, which can help you move forward in a positive way (not to mention, remember that others have been there before, too!).
After disarming negative self-talk and putting your weaknesses into perspective, it’s time to take action on your personal critique. Using triggers is a great way to stay on track with making improvement, without relying on willpower (which comes in limited quantities!) or beating yourself up.
For example, if you want to stop saying “like” after, like, every word in a meeting, like, all the time, you might have a coworker at the back of the room hold up a count of how many times you’ve said it, which helps raise your awareness. Or, if you have trouble motivating yourself to prepare for meetings, you could try leaving the files you need to review on your keyboard so you can’t ignore them the next morning.
Well-crafted, effective triggers can make all the difference in creating positive habits that stick. By finding external cues outside yourself that stir you in to action, you move away from getting caught up in a blame game of overcriticizing yourself and toward a healthy, productive way of improving your performance.
Remember, an eye toward the future should characterize any self-critique. The true aim is to be proactive about creating success.
Last medically reviewed on July 15, 2015
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