‘What is your weakness?’. This is perhaps the most dreaded of all interview questions and one where many candidates stumble. It’s not an easy question to answer because it’s essentially admitting you’re not perfect, and drawing attention to your… well, weaknesses! And when you’re trying to impress an interviewer, this can feel very counter-intuitive.
But the reality is that this is a common job interview question and you’ll likely face it at some point in your job search. So let’s take a look at some original examples of how to answer this interview question.
- Lacking confidence
- Asking for help
How to talk about weaknesses in an interview
1. Avoid cliches
Avoid using cliches like ‘I’m a perfectionist’ when answering this question. Cliches are a bit of a copout, and interviewers hear these answers time and time again.
2. Be honest
Really take time to reflect on your weaknesses so you can give an honest answer in the interview. You want to ensure your answer is original. But try not to pick a weakness that will severely impact your ability to do the role.
3. Have a solution
The most important part of this answer is explaining how you rectify the problem. Everyone has weaknesses, but not everyone finds a solution for them. Close your answer off by listing the practical ways you overcome your weakness.
3 answers to ‘What is your weakness?’ interview question
Example 1: I’ve struggled with time-keeping
Time-keeping is an essential part of any role, but it doesn’t come naturally to everyone – and that’s okay so long as you have solutions in place.
“My biggest challenge has been time-keeping. I know this is an essential part of the job, but growing up I was always the person who struggled to be on time. Professionally, I’ve had to address this to get to where I am today. I’ve trained myself to always leave well in advance, I use calendars and reminders religiously so nothing slips through the net. I’ve created a bulletproof system for myself to correct the problem, and that’s the most important thing.”
Example 2: I’ve been known to lack confidence
Lacking confidence in a role is a weakness, but it’s something that can be corrected. It also shows you’re a humble person who maybe just needs a little more encouragement to realise your full potential. Include some positive feedback you’ve had from your managers in your answer.
“In my career, I’ve had to really work on my confidence. I’ll sometimes hesitate to put an idea forward or second guess myself, and this has held me back at times. But thankfully I’ve become more aware of this weakness and I’ve made a conscious decision to step more out of my comfort zone and recognise all the positive feedback I get from my managers.”
Example 3: I sometimes hesitate to ask for help
This is a good weakness to talk about because it shows you like to use your own initiative to solve problems by yourself. In one sense, this can be an admirable quality. But if you let too much pile up on top of you, it can be to your own detriment.
“I’ve always struggled with asking others for help. I feel a sense of responsibility to resolve problems myself but sometimes it can end up causing more problems. So, I’ve learnt the hard way that it’s okay to ask for help. I’ve learnt to identify boundaries for myself. If I feel myself becoming overwhelmed with a task, I now know it’s better to ask for help.”
Come out stronger
It’s important to remember everyone has weaknesses and the interviewer knows this. They just want to see you’ve got a good level of self-awareness and that you have the ability to recognise and address your own areas for growth. Just remember to always talk about how you correct your weaknesses!
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