Preparing for job interviews can be a stressful process. But you can prepare the answers for the most asked job interview questions. This can make the actual interview less daunting. It’s crucial to be ready for the tricky ones especially, for those are the ones that make or break your job search! One of the common interview questions that the hiring managers ask a potential candidate is your list of weaknesses.
This question is tricky because while your list may be lengthy, it’s not a good idea to be completely candid about it. Let’s understand why!
Why Does the Interviewer Want to Know Your Weaknesses in Job Interview?
An interviewer is usually interested in their potential hire’s lists of strengths and weaknesses. Because asking the right questions gives them a better understanding of your personality traits. As they cannot figure this out from your resume. This exercise also helps your interviewer to understand how self-aware you are. And how you approach your negative aspects and shortcomings.
They need to understand this to gauge how you may handle future work situations if they were to hire you. They understand that no candidate is perfect. But they are on the lookout to hire someone who doesn’t have weaknesses that affect the role directly.
What Should You Consider while Answering?
You don’t have to be completely transparent about your weaknesses. Reveal only the ones that don’t cause a roadblock on your way to securing the job.
While it’s good, to be honest, it is vital that you do not give away too much in an interview. A hiring manager is not your therapist, and his job is to judge whether you’re ideal for the job.
So while revealing your biggest weaknesses, make sure that your weakness is not crucial to the job description. Therefore, ensure that it is not directly related to the main skill needed for the role. Because you don’t want to set off red flags when you are competing with other potential candidates.
Most importantly, once you have told them your greatest weakness, immediately back it up by how you plan to overcome the same. Because interviewers appreciate your willingness to work on your weaknesses. As it shows them your approach towards similar occurrences on the job!
How to handle Weaknesses Job Interview Question?
Choose a weakness that does not hamper the main skill requirements of your job. Have a detailed plan on how you are looking to work on your weaknesses. And balance it out by mentioning a complementing strength.
Now you understand the idea behind your hiring manager wanting to know your list of weaknesses. So here are a few tips to keep handy when it’s time to choose a weakness –
1. Pick a weakness that’s not a deal-breaker
When the hiring manager asks you for your list of weaknesses. Do not mention the ones that are essential to your job role. Choose to mention the ones that are more personal, which you can work upon in time. Or mention weaknesses in skills that are remotely related to the job.
For instance, if you are applying for a job as an accountant, don’t reveal that your mathematics is weak. Rather tell them you do not enjoy public speaking!
2. Speak positively about your weakness
Try to put a positive spin around your weaknesses. This ensures that you do share your weakness, but also impress the interviewer with your work ethic.
For instance, if you are applying to be a content writer, don’t say you are bad at spellings! Instead, you can mention your love for words. That probably makes your articles lengthier than required. And back it up by how you plan to ensure your word count is within the limit.
3. Share your plan of action to overcome the weakness
Once you have shared your list of weaknesses with the interviewer, it is very important to have a backup plan. Share a detailed version of how you plan to overcome your shortcomings. It also helps to share a weakness that you are already working on. And share the progress you have made so far. This shows your hiring manager how you can achieve something you set your mind to.
4. Don’t fabricate your weakness
While being completely honest about your weaknesses in your interview is not recommended. That does not mean you must lie. Don’t pick out weaknesses that you don’t actually have to get the job. Remember that your hiring manager would be reporting to his colleagues. Who you may end up working with in the future! You don’t want to come across as a liar or as someone who can cheat to achieve their goals. This will make it difficult for your team members to trust you and may hamper your progress in your career.
5. Share your greatest strengths that balance out the weaknesses
It’s always a good idea to identify your strengths and pick a few that directly balance out your weaknesses. While you may have many unrelated strengths, mentioning these can help to even out your weaknesses. And grow your chances of getting the job! It shows the interviewer that your weakness is not a deal-breaker.
For example, you told the interviewer that you struggle with detailed oriented tasks. You can follow it up by mentioning how you make up for it by ensuring that your project meets deadlines.
List of Weaknesses for Job Interview
Here is a list of some common weaknesses shared by people in their job interviews. If you relate to any of these, maybe they will work for you too. That is if you keep the above points in mind before choosing!
- Lack of creativity
- Unable to see the big picture
- Weak project management skills
- Poor time management
- Lack of problem-solving abilities
- Low on confidence
- Cannot handle conflict
- Unable to multi-task
- Poor public speaking skills
Categories of Weaknesses
The 3 main categories of weaknesses are job-specific, personal, and academic weaknesses. You can choose which of these categories you are more comfortable to talk about. And then choose a weakness under it to share with your hiring manager. If you are unable to choose from the go-to list above. Then understanding the different categories of weaknesses will be helpful for you. Here you go!
These are weaknesses that include skills acquired through school or other courses. These skills are primary for the job you’re applying for. So if you wish to choose a weakness from this category. Then it’s best that you choose the skill that is not very important for the job you’re applying.
For example, if you are applying to be a computer programmer. Then don’t mention your weakness to be your inability to code. This will destroy your chances of getting the job. Rather you can mention your weakness in financial literacy.
When you choose to say a weakness from the job-specific category, also talk about how you plan to strengthen this aspect. It could be taking up an online course or a training session. Talking about your willingness to upskill yourself can score you extra points in the eyes of your hiring manager.
Examples of job-specific weaknesses could be –
- Foreign languages
- Coding languages
- Creative writing
- Advanced mathematics
- Psychology, etc.
Personal weaknesses are those which involve your personality. While they are important for the job, they cannot be quantified or have any definitive learning curriculum. So if you decide to pick a weakness from this category for your interview. Again, ensure that it is not a primary need for your job role.
For example, if you are applying for a role as a sales manager. Then don’t mention a lack of socializing abilities as your weakness. As this skill would be essential for you to succeed in your role. Instead, choose something like your difficulty in delegating tasks.
When you choose to say a personal weakness in the interview. Make sure that you show your hiring manager how you are trying to improve the same. Not all soft skills have a training or course you can take up. So you will have to tell them your detailed plan on how to better yourself.
Some other examples of personal weaknesses are –
- Being too honest
- Lack of creativity
- Not very humorous
- Taking many risks, etc.
These are weaknesses that relate to your school or college life. Stating academic weaknesses can come in handy if you were not great at school. But have since progressed and learned new skills on the job. Hence, using a weakness from this category can compel your hiring manager to focus more on your work experience than your academic record.
Some examples of academic weaknesses are –
- Spending more time on home assignments
- Not enjoying essay writing
- Being more involved in extra-curricular activities
- Disliking some subjects in school, and so on.
Having weaknesses is natural for every human. But when it comes to job interviews, it’s all about choosing the right set of weaknesses for the job. So be smart, be mindful, and use your biggest weaknesses as stepping stones to a successful career.
Weaknesses in a Job Interview – FAQs
The interviewer is interested in your weakness in the interview because they want to know whether you lack qualities that are crucial for the role. And if it is not a deal-breaker, they assess how you approach your weakness.
A good set of weaknesses to say in an interview is usually personal traits like lack of public speaking ability, attention to detail or socializing skills. If not, you can mention technical skills that are not directly related to your job role.
A weakness for fresher in the interview could be your inability to say ‘No’, or your inability to stay organized. You could also mention being self-critical or struggling to speak up in meetings.
A list of weaknesses in job interviews that can be spun off as strengths are being a stickler for perfection, taking up more work than needed, multi-tasking often, and focusing more on details.
Some common weaknesses in a job interview are lack of confidence, impatience, difficulty in public speaking, lack of socializing skills, and maintaining a work-life balance. Having problems in asking for help and time management are other common weaknesses.
Pranita loves words! She has spent most of her childhood and adult life reading and writing. So it wasn’t a surprise when she quit her corporate IT job within a year to pursue her career as a writer. In her 7+ years into the field of content writing, she has worked on various niches. Psychology, mental health, spirituality, health & wellness, fashion, and food are her favorite ones. Pranita says that it’s every writer’s hope that their words survive longer than they do. So she hopes her words continue to light up other readers' path like so many writings have lit her’s. At The Mindfool, she is happy to be contributing to articles that have the power to make a positive difference in people's lives.