This is always a tricky situation as during an interview we want to make the best possible impression and not talk about weaknesses. Our natural instinct is to say: I don’t have any weaknesses. We all know that is far from true. So how do you handle this question, because unless you are prepared, this is the question that can trip up even the most experienced interviewee?
Firstly you have to understand that the reason why some interviewers like to ask about weaknesses is to get an insight about how self-aware you are.
Now bearing this in mind, remember that there is no single best answer to this question because it must be “true” to you. By taking a good hard look inwards and identifying specific, non-essential, and not incriminatory areas of development, you can come across as a self-aware and thoughtful professional.
The best advice offered is to stay away from cliché answers like “I am a perfectionist” or “I work too hard”.
Below is a list of strategies that can help you prepare for this question:
- Know your weaknesses and be honest. If you are not clear on your weaknesses then you are not clear on your strengths
- A weakness is just an area that isn’t a strength. It doesn’t mean it has to be terrible. Think of things that don’t come naturally to you that require extra preparation.
- Don’t confess to a general skill set as a weakness, such as communication skills, but rather mention something very specific.
- Don’t prepare an exact response. Your answer might change slightly according to the rest of the conversation and you don’t want it to come across as unauthentic or rehearsed.
- Avoid the answer by focusing on the skills needed for the job. Before we applying for a job consider the skills needed. Use this question as an opportunity to show that you have made such as assessment.
- Talk about minor weaknesses that don’t really matter to the position you are interviewing for. It acknowledges that you are self-aware and have weaknesses, like all of us, but none that are any real concern because they don’t really matter for the particular position.
- Instead of making general statements, rather explain the weakness by relating it to specific situations. This way you show that it is not a weakness you have all the time but one that you are aware of in specific situation.
- Another option is to discuss skills that you have improved upon. This will illustrate to employers your that you are self-aware and willing to work and improve on your weaknesses
- Another option is try to turn a negative into a positive. If you are someone that is meticulous and doubled check your work, it might take a bit longer but will be perfect every time.