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How to Address Weaknesses in a Job Interview

Job Seekers / 16 Sep, 2020

Our team of Executive Recruiters conducts dozens of interviews every day and know first-hand the challenges that arise in addressing weaknesses in a job interview. Of course, no candidate will candidly confess their biggest flaws over an interview. Despite this, interviews continue to ask this question, knowing they will not receive a 100% honest response from the candidate. Why do they do this?

When asked “what are some of your weaknesses?” candidates must use the opportunity to show their resilience and ability to overcome workplace challenges. Take these steps to ace this interview question and put your best foot forward with the hiring manager or recruiter.

Be Honest About Your Weaknesses in a Job Interview

Hiring managers are looking for examples of the challenges you’ve faced and the steps you took to overcome them. They aren’t looking for cliche answers that highlight your soft skills, like sharing that you’re too detail-oriented. Instead, be honest about a weakness you’ve identified in your work and share the steps you’ve taken to improve. For example, you could share:

  • Difficulty using a particular software program: You can share that you are not fully trained on a program, but are taking online courses or working on the program in your free time to learn more about it.
  • Difficulty asking questions or asking for help: Perhaps you like to figure things out on your own even though asking a colleague for help could save time. Explain the steps you’ve taken to collaborate more closely to solve problems.
  • Difficulty delegating: You may have trouble letting go of projects and trusting others to execute. This shows a deep level of accountability in your work. You can explain how you are working on your leadership style to better delegate to coworkers.
  • Difficulty with spontaneity: You may struggle in an environment that lacks structure. You can share this weakness and highlight the ways you create structure for yourself. This shows the hiring manager that you will not need hand-holding to thrive in the role.

Do Your Research About the Job

Before the interview, thoroughly read through the job description. If the key responsibilities of the job include a weakness of yours, you may hurt your chances of getting the job if you share that weakness with the hiring manager. Though your tale of overcoming the weakness may be compelling, you may ignite a red flag in the mind of the interviewer who might not think you have what it takes to get the job done. Instead, share a weakness that isn’t critical to the role, but still shows your problem-solving abilities.

Stick to Business

Interviews often include personal conversations that help establish camaraderie between you and the interviewer and allow the hiring manager to see how you’ll fit within the company’s culture. But when it comes to discussing your weaknesses, keep the conversation focused on the workplace. Hiring managers are looking to understand how you’ll adapt to difficult situations in the workplace. They want to know how you’ll help resolve conflicts when they arise. Don’t waste your answer to the question by sharing a personal weakness. Instead, use this opportunity to demonstrate your agility, conflict resolution skills, and critical thinking.

Don’t Over-prepare Your Answer

Lastly, when preparing to answer this interview question, don’t over prepare your answer. Hiring managers can tell when you’ve scripted your response. They prefer to have a more genuine, authentic conversation with you.

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