Some of the most common questions asked during job interviews are about weaknesses. What is your biggest weakness at the office? What would you say are your worst qualities? Name a few of your weak points and why? What is the best answer to “what is your weakness?” and questions of this sort. It’s tough. Answering these questions is like walking a tightrope. It’s important to be truthful and honest, but at the same time you don’t want to tank your chances of landing a job by revealing a deal-breaking weakness.
The first step to answering this question is understanding why your potential employer is asking this question. More than wanting to know your weaknesses, the question is a way of measuring a job applicant’s self-awareness and willingness to improve. No candidate is perfect, but some candidates are more eager to grow, learn and perform well than others.
With that in mind, the art to answering this question is finding ways to spin your weakness to actually say something positive about who you are in the workforce and how you overcome your own challenges and personal struggles. It’s best to be truthful about the weakness, but then also explain how you’re making improvements. It’s also vital that you are highlighting a weakness that is fixable and doesn’t completely disqualify you from the open position. Simply blurting out that your time management is abysmal is not going to win you points, for example.
Here are some examples of how to answer these questions:
- “To be honest, I face some challenges with public speaking. In general, I don’t feel comfortable giving presentations in large groups, even though I understand it’s an important skill to have. I feel very comfortable speaking in small groups and with my colleagues, but giving big presentations is always a challenge. To work on this, at my last job I made sure to practice my presentations ahead of time and I’ve done public speaking workshops to try and improve these skills.”
- “Sometimes I can be too talkative at the office. That said, I am working on being more aware of being conscious of when it’s appropriate to make conversation and when it’s actually a distraction. Even though I am known for being talkative, I consistently meet deadlines and I get along well with my coworkers and build strong relationships through my personal skills.”
How to NOT answer the question:
- “I don’t have any weaknesses”
- “My weakness is that I’m a perfectionist.”
- “I am a workaholic. I like working TOO much.”
These answers make you look like a phony or lacking self-awareness. The hiring manager will perceive you as dishonest or not in tune with who you are as a professional. It can be uncomfortable to bring up a personal weakness, but being able to do so in an honest and positive way will show a hiring manager that you’re the kind of person they want on the team.
Now you know how to create the best answer to what is your weakness, learn more about how to boost your career abroad.
Sources: https://biginterview.com/blog/2014/02/what-is-your-greatest-weakness.html, https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-your-greatest-weakness-2061288, https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/greatest-strengths-and-weaknesses
2. based on Rania Anderson, a global speaker and expert on the career advancement of businesswomen in developing and emerging economies, Kyiv, America House, February 10, 2017, by U.S. Embassy Kyiv Ukraine, CC-by-ND 2.0