How to answer, “What are your greatest Weaknesses?” in a job interview.

The dreaded interview question, “What are your greatest weaknesses?” It’s enough to make even the most confident job seeker break into a cold sweat. Fear not! We are here to tell you how to answer this question.

When you’re asked this question in an interview, they want to know how honest and self-aware you are. The best way to tackle this question is to honestly explain a weakness and provide an example of how you are actively working on being better.

We’ve all been given the advice of, ‘just answer the question with an example that’s really a strength.’ Interviewers hate that!

Here’s our advice on how to answer, “What are your greatest weaknesses?”

1. Choose a weakness that will not prevent you from succeeding in the role

If you’re an accountant, you don’t want to talk about being bad at analysing data. But if you’re applying for a copywriter position, not being mathematically gifted is ok.

“A weakness of mine is that when I feel overwhelmed with too many tasks I become less productive. How I’ve learnt to manage it better is making sure I write to-do lists and each morning I review what I need to do and which items are the most important and I prioritise those.”


2. Be honest and choose a real weakness

The answer “perfectionism” won’t cut it when talking about your biggest weakness because it’s not a real weakness. Perfectionism can never be attained – it’s a fear-based pattern that leads to short-term rewards like getting the job done early and exceeding expectations. However, in the long term, trying to attain perfectionism leads to burnout, low-quality work and missed deadlines. Burnout is one of the biggest contributors to decreased productivity, turnover, and low employee engagement – all of which cost a company money, time and talent.

“I tend to burn the candle at both ends and get burnt out and my attention to detail reduces. I’m working on learning which tasks can wait until tomorrow to ensure I don’t reduce the quality of my work and make silly mistakes that are easily avoidable.”


3. Provide an example of how you’ve worked to improve upon your weakness or learn a new skill to combat the issue

Hiring managers understand that overcoming weaknesses takes time and effort. Just like maintaining physical fitness, personal development requires ongoing dedication. It’s important to demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement and growth.

“English is my second language. To help me combat this, I have implemented a checklist that I run through before I send off a document to my manager. My checklist includes common mistakes to look out for and ensuring I run the document through Grammarly.”


4. Demonstrate self-awareness and an ability to look to others to provide you with the resources necessary for growth

Sometimes our perceived weaknesses are merely hidden strengths waiting to be discovered. Consider traits like being too detail-oriented, which can occasionally slow down progress. Flip the script and highlight how your meticulousness ensures error-free work, avoiding costly mistakes and saving valuable time in the long run. This unique perspective shows that you’re self-aware, adaptable, and able to see the bigger picture.

“I have excellent attention to detail, which is a strength, but it’s also a weakness as I can be slow at certain tasks. I have learnt that there are certain things which don’t have to be perfect, such as an estimated budget as it’s just an estimate.”


5. Don’t be arrogant and don’t underestimate yourself

Confidence is indeed key when responding to the question about your greatest weakness. Even if a lack of confidence is your weakness, it is important to be honest and self-assured in your answer. Embrace your self-awareness and demonstrate your commitment to personal growth. To prepare, familiarise yourself with examples of answers that showcase your strengths and willingness to improve. Practice reciting them aloud to ensure a natural delivery during the interview.

“I lack self-confidence. I appreciate it when I have a manager who gives praise and positive feedback as it helps me with my confidence.”


By reframing the dreaded “What are your greatest weaknesses?” question into an opportunity for self-expression and authenticity, we’ve turned a potential nerve wrecking situation into a delightful adventure. Nobody is perfect! The key is to showcase our uniqueness, highlight your growth mindset and demonstrate your ability to find strengths even in the face of weaknesses. Embrace your quirks and conquer that interview with confidence!

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