The question "what are your weaknesses?" is still getting asked in job interviews. It can be asked in a couple of different ways post-pandemic, but it is still a common question in most job interviews. Here is what you need to know to answer this the right way.

Why this Question Gets Asked

The question "What are your weaknesses?" is a perennial favorite of HR and interviewers alike. This question gets asked for a couple of different reasons and they can depend on the person that is asking the question. Sometimes, the interviewer wants to know if you have taken an honest and hard look at yourself. They want to see if you are humble and can identify your own shortcomings. Other times, interviewers want to know if you have any areas of growth potential. They may be looking for someone that they can develop and help grow in their career.

How you answer this tough job interview question can make or break your chances of landing the job. Keep in mind who is asking this question and what they want to know when building your answer to this common job interview question.

Tips

Preparing your answer for the question "What are your weaknesses?" is an essential part of your job interview prep. Keep the following in mind when you are preparing your answer to this challenging job interview question.

Answer the Question

First, make sure that you are actually answering the question that is being asked. As noted above, the question about your weaknesses can be asked in a couple of different ways (i.e. tell me about a time you made a mistake, what do you wish you had known, what do you find most challenging, etc.). So, make sure that whatever answer you give, that it actually answers the question as it is being asked in your interview.

Providing weaknesses about you is tough because you want to always put your best foot forward in a job interview. But, you are human! People have strengths and weaknesses and owning what those are can help you to stand out in the job interview process. So, make sure you identify those and that you are ready to articulate them clearly in your next job interview.

Avoid Cliches

The worst thing you can do in answering this question is to stick with a cliche. Do not pick things that are actually a strength to answer this question. Recruiters and hiring managers alike hate the answer "I work too hard, I care too much, I am too perfect, etc" Whatever it is, make sure that the weaknesses that you are prepared to provide in your answer to this tough interview question are actually weaknesses. Avoid the cliches and provide a real answer. The person interviewing you will actually appreciate the honesty and the opportunity to learn a bit more about you as a person.

Be Honest

Make sure that you are honest with what your weaknesses are when answering the question. People interviewing you want to know more about you as a person. They also want to understand if you are a good fit for the job and their culture. You will also appreciate the opportunity to better assess your fit for the company based on your honest answers to the tough interview questions. So, stick with real answers about your weaknesses when asked in your next job interview.

Stay Positive

At the same time, be careful in being too honest about your weaknesses. Make sure that you are selecting weaknesses that are appropriate for a job interview and that they don't create red flags about you as a candidate for the job. You can do this by staying positive about what the weaknesses are and how they fit into your overall professional mindset. And, make sure that you are clear about what these weaknesses are when you answer the question. But, don't dwell on the negative. Instead, say what the weakness is and provide an example or move on.

Use Strategy

You can also be strategic about selecting your weaknesses for a particular interview.  For example, if you are switching careers, it could be that you don't have industry experience. Or, it could be that you have a non-compete and that you have to work around it if you are interviewing with a competitor. Thus, you can think and use weaknesses that are more pointed to a particular job or company instead of things that are overly personal. This strategy can also be a great way to address the objections to you as a candidate without putting the person interviewing you on the spot. Instead, you can proactively identify them and address them in your answers to a commonly asked interview question. This will help you to ease their potential concerns and to move through the interviewing process more effectively.

Talk About How You are Working on The Weaknesses

This is the most important part of your answer to the question "What are your weaknesses?" in any job interview. Saying what you are doing or what you plan to do to address your weaknesses is the way to complete your answer to this job interview question. This part of the answer may require some examples or discussion about what you would do if you get the job.

But, this part of your answer will go a long way to landing the offer for the job that you are interviewing for. This is because, as explained above, the person interviewing you will appreciate the honesty in identifying your weaknesses. They will also see your ability to articulate how you are working on the weaknesses as an insight to what it would be like to work with you and how you could fit in their culture.

More importantly, providing this extra information will also enable you to turn the tables back to what is positive. You will be coming from a stronger position in this answer if you say what the weakness is and what you are doing or plan to do to overcome the weakness. As a result, the complete answer will always stand out as more effective to the person interviewing you for the job than the one that merely says what your weaknesses are.


Want help preparing for your next job interview? Work with our team of job interview experts to do your best. Get help now.

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