Answering the question, “What is your biggest weakness?” in a job interview can be challenging, especially when you're expecting to discuss the skills, abilities and talents that make you the ideal candidate for the job. Being able to talk about your weaknesses shows self-awareness and tells employers that you are willing to work on yourself. Your answer to this common interview question can set you apart from other candidates and bring you closer to the next stage in the hiring process.
To prepare for this interview question, you need to make a list of your weaknesses that also communicate strength. Sharing such weaknesses with an interviewer communicates that you are a perceptive person who can turn a challenge into an opportunity.
In this article, we look at the best weaknesses to share with recruiters and share examples on how to answer this common interview question.
Examples of weaknesses to discuss in an interview
The following are the top seven things to say when asked about your weaknesses during a job interview:
1. I pay too much attention to details.
Attention to detail is generally regarded as a positive trait. However, it can also become a weakness if you spend too much time working out minute details of a project.
When you structure your answer, it's important to explain how you intend to work on this weakness. Employers want candidates that can reduce errors and produce high-quality work, while managing their time efficiently. Speaking about how you achieve this balance can be a valuable asset.
“My biggest weakness is that I may occasionally spend too much time evaluating the finer points of a task or project. However, I've been making a conscious effort to strike a better balance between the details and the big picture. By checking my progress at regular intervals and making sure I won't miss the deadline, I've improved in my ability to deliver quality work without compromising productivity and efficiency.”
2. It's hard for me to let go of a project.
Wrapping up a long-term project is a huge accomplishment. You deserve to revel in the effort your team made to deliver outstanding results. Knowing when to move on to the next challenge is a skill that will help you continue to meet deadlines and boost profitability.
If you find it hard to part with a project, you should let the hiring manager know what measures you plan to take to overcome this weakness. Give practical solutions such as setting deadlines for work revisions and being proactive with your time management skills.
Example: “My biggest weakness is that I sometimes feel reluctant to let go of a project. I have a tendency to be overly critical of my own work. It seems that I'm always able to find something in a project that needs to be changed or improved. As a way to deal with this weakness, I've made it a point to give myself deadlines for work revisions. This ensures that I won't be making changes at the last minute.”
3. I have a hard time saying “no.”
In the workplace, it's essential to maintain the right balance between managing your workload and helping your colleagues. Accepting requests for assistance shows that you are enthusiastic about your job and dedicated to the mission of the organisation. However, it is also important to prioritise your duties too.
If you're eager to help others or take on new projects that you can't seem to say “no,” you should tell the interviewer how you intend to work on this weakness. Examples of things you can do to self-manage more effectively include organising your tasks properly and setting realistic expectations for yourself and your colleagues.
Example: “My biggest weakness is that I sometimes find it hard to say “no” to my colleagues' requests for help and end up with a larger workload than I can handle. Now, I'm trying to improve in this area by using a project management app that allows me to keep track of my workload at any given moment and determine whether I have enough free time to help my colleagues out.”
4. I become impatient when I miss a project deadline.
Employers admire candidates that understand the importance of managing emotions in the workplace. They seek to hire candidates that value meeting deadlines and take accountability for their work.
When you discuss this weakness during your job interview, talk about how you appreciate work that is completed on time. Then, explain the effort you are making to tackle this weakness, such as remaining calm and focused when a project is running late.
Example: “My biggest weakness is that I often become impatient and frustrated when my team misses a project deadline. I'm a stickler for meeting deadlines and tend to feel uncomfortable when a project isn't finished on time. As a way to address this weakness, I'm trying to keep my emotions in check when I miss a due date so that I can continue to motivate my team members and help foster efficiency.”
5. I hope I can be more proficient in…
Every job candidate has certain areas in their expertise that they want to improve upon. It can be something specific such as creating pivot tables in Microsoft Excel or a more general skill such as writing, public speaking or math.
Discussing an ability that you want to improve shows your self-awareness and willingness to develop your skills.
Some of the common skills and abilities that people need to improve include:
- Written communication
- Verbal communication
- Team leadership
- Task delegation
- Constructive criticism
- Analytics interpretation
- Specific skills such as Excel or PowerPoint skills
Example: “In the past, I sometimes lacked confidence in my abilities and talents. Then, I started keeping an ongoing document to record the impact I've made in the workplace so that I can better understand why I need to be more confident in the abilities I bring to my organisation. Additionally, I've made it a point to share my opinions and ideas during meetings when I feel they're beneficial to the discussion.”
6. I find it difficult to ask for help.
It's important to be able to ask for help when your workload is larger than usual or when you need a second opinion from a more experienced colleague. While the ability to work independently is a desirable trait, knowing when to ask for help ensures that work flows smoothly.
If you aren't comfortable asking other people for help, explain to the interviewer that you understand the importance of overcoming this weakness. Talk about some of the things you intend to do to reach out more to your colleagues.
Example: “Since I'm independent and prefer to work quickly, I've been finding it hard to ask my colleagues for assistance when I need it. I've come to realise that it can greatly benefit me and my employer if I seek help when I feel burnt out or don't understand something. I'm aware that there are many experts in my workplace who have specialised knowledge and skills that I can learn from. While there's still room for improvement, I've been able to produce higher-quality work after I began reaching out to those around me.”
7. I have trouble working with certain personalities.
A good team-player can work with different people and different personality types. If you are seeking to improve your interpersonal skills, speaking about how you intend to go outside of your comfort zone can be impressive to hiring managers. . Paying attention to how you interact with colleagues and how you can adjust your approach is of great value to their organisation.
If this is a weakness you are working on, feel free to discuss this in a interview, such as in the example below.
Example: “Previously, I've found it hard to work with aggressive personalities. I understand that great diversity in personalities can make an organisation stronger, but I tend to be hesitant in voicing my ideas around louder people. To improve on this weakness, I'm trying to spend more time communicating with colleagues whom I don't feel comfortable working with. After learning more about them and their communication style, I'm now better at collaborating with these personality types."
Use this list of weaknesses to help you identify your own areas for improvement. Remember to explain to your interviewer how you intend to overcome your shortcomings with clear examples. Being able to present both the problem and solution is the key to turning a weakness into a strength.