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How to Answer the Weakness Question in an Interview

By the SpyGlass Partners Blog

When you’re interviewing, there are a slew of questions you’ll be asked that have become a standard practice of the hiring process. “Can you tell me about yourself?”, “Why are you interested in this job?”, and “What is one word a friend of yours would use to describe you?” are a few that come to mind. You might have rehearsed some answers to those questions, but what would you say if the hiring manager asks you, “What is your biggest weakness?” Well… we’re here to help you find the perfect answer!

Why is the weakness question important?

The head-scratching nature of this interview question can reveal a lot about a candidate to an interviewer. For example, if the candidate makes the mistake of saying, “I don’t have any weaknesses,” this might show the interviewer that this candidate is not very self-aware and therefore may not be a good fit at their organization. On the flipside, this is a great opportunity for the candidate to show they ARE self-aware and have worked to identify areas of improvement in their professional life. Use it as an opportunity to showcase your personal growth!

Reminder: It’s important to remember to tailor your answer to your audience as well as the position you’re interviewing for. For example, if you’re interviewing for a technical writer position, saying your weakness is that you’re a horrible speller might not go over well.

What are some good answers for the weakness question?

“I have high expectations for myself that I sometimes project onto my peers.” – This answer shows that while you may have high expectations for yourself, you recognize and understand that not everyone functions like you do and are working through this issue. It also showcases your high sense of urgency, which can be an asset in certain positions.

“I have a habit of thinking what I’m working on is more important.” – Like the first example, this shows that you are self-aware and have found a way to work through your weakness when issues arise related to it. This answer opens up an opportunity to talk about how you are actively trying to change this mentality and give examples of your improvement
over time.

“I have a tough time saying no.” – This answer shows that while you are ambitious and eager to take on new work, you also recognize that you are working at managing yourself better. Take the opportunity to explain how you are internally holding yourself accountable in making sure you are staying productive at work, while not overwhelming yourself.

“I can get caught up in the details of a project sometimes.” – This shows that while you have this weakness, you are also detail oriented. Use this answer as an opportunity to showcase how it has helped you in your career, as well as how you are keeping it in check. No matter which weakness you choose to showcase in your interview, be sure to come prepared with examples of how you realized it and how overcoming it has made you better. The key is to be honest but keep your weakness work-related and be direct/specific when the time comes
to answer the question. Remember – the interviewer will ask you to elaborate if it is needed!

Once you have identified your weakness and are ready to interview, check out our job board for all of our openings across the nation. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn for more great career tips!

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