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The best way to answer ‘What are your weaknesses?’ interview question

The best way to answer ‘What are your weaknesses?’ interview question


When it comes to interviews, most people dread one interview question most of all. And this question is: ‘what are your weaknesses?’. This question is different from the others. It can leave you feeling exposed. It’s not exactly an opportunity to brag about your achievements. And there’s the fear that whatever you say will actually ruin your chances of getting hired.


But there’s a reason hiring managers ask this question. And it isn’t to find a reason NOT to hire you…


Why do interviewers ask this question?

The weaknesses interview question isn’t really about your weaknesses. It’s really testing your level of self-awareness and problem-solving ability. If interviewers think you can’t admit to having a weakness, they’ll think you have a low level of self-awareness. But everyone’s flawed. Although not everyone admits it. But even if you admit you’re flawed, they want to know you’ve found a solution to overcome your weakness.


7 tips for answering ‘what are your weaknesses?’


1.   Prepare your answer in advance

First things first, don’t try to wing it. It’s always best to prepare your answer in advance. You don’t want to draw a blank when the hiring manager asks this question. So practise answering this at home to deliver your answer in the best possible way.


2.   Have multiple examples

Always have a few different examples to choose from. Sometimes the interviewer only wants to hear about one weakness. But other times they could ask for three! So it’s better to be over-prepared than underprepared!


3.   Be honest

Don’t pick answers just because they worked for someone else. Only ever list weaknesses that actually apply to you. Interviewers will soon tell if you’re just telling them porkies.


4.   Don’t pick weaknesses that are essential to the role

As much as you want to be honest, think carefully about which weaknesses you talk about. Some of your weaknesses may be absolutely essential to the role. And this may ring alarm bells. Let’s say you’re applying for a job in customer service. It’s not a good idea to say your main weakness is communication because this is an essential skill to a customer service role.


5.   Show a solution-based attitude

The key to acing this interview question is to talk about how you rectify your weakness. Everyone has a weakness. But the most important thing is that you’ve been able to find solutions to overcome them.


6.   Avoid cliches

Interviewers don’t want to hear a cliche. This is a huge red flag. A common example of a cliche answer would be ‘I’m a perfectionist’. It suggests you can’t actually admit your flaws and you’re not being honest.


7.   Be enthusiastic

When asked this question, don’t cringe or show you’re struggling to answer. It’s best to show appreciation for the question. This tells the hiring manager you have a good level of emotional maturity. You want them to see you’re comfortable talking about your weaknesses.


Examples of weaknesses for your interview

  • Getting bogged down in the detail
  • Not asking for help
  • Taking control too much
  • Being too direct
  • Being inexperienced in a certain skill
  • Not maintaining a healthy work-life balance
  • Lack of organisation
  • Public speaking
  • Lacking confidence in your own ability
  • Too talkative
  • Forgetfulness
  • Overly self-critical


Sample answer

I’m really glad you asked this question because I’m big on self-improvement. My biggest weakness has been forgetfulness. I don’t have the best memory. And in the past, it’s affected my work when I’ve forgotten to do things or have forgotten the details of important conversations. But thankfully I realised this about myself. And once I realised this was an issue, I started to use checklists religiously and take notes in every meeting. Since making this simple change, I’ve seen a huge improvement in my ability to do my job properly. It’s been like night and day.


Time for a career move?

Are you planning your next career move? Make sure you check in with the team here Fixed-Fee Placements. Read more of our interview tips or contact us and a member of our time will be in touch if we have any suitable opportunities.


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Vanessa Ramkissoon

Vanessa Ramkissoon | Recruitment Content Expert