As important as it is to prepare answers about your selling points and strengths, preparing to answer questions about your weaknesses is equally important.
If you don’t practice what you’re going to talk about when interviewers ask you about your weakness, you will be startled and will probably blurt out something that can potentially kill your chances of getting hired.
Or you might say something like, “I don’t have a weakness” which is the last thing the recruiters want to hear from a candidate.
With this question, recruiters want to see how well the candidate knows themselves, their honesty, and their willingness to improve.
You can answer this question effectively by following these three guidelines:
Number 1: Picking a real yet harmless weakness
You don’t want to pick a cliche line like “My biggest weakness is that I’m a perfectionist.”
Employers can see through such answers easily and will take for an average candidate.
Instead, you want to talk about a real weakness that you have but one that doesn’t hamper your ability to excel in the given role.
For instance, if you are applying for a sales position, your interpersonal skills can not be your weakness. Instead, you can choose a weakness like organization skill that is not essential for a salesperson.
Number 2: Be open about it but avoid going into details
As stated before, the last thing you want to say is that you don’t have a weakness.
Everybody has a weakness, and the recruiters know that. When you deny having any weakness, it will put you in a position where you can seem dishonest, shady, and even fake.
You don’t want to make it seem like you are hiding something from the recruiters.
However, on the contrary, you also don’t want to answer this question at great length as that is not what the recruiters are looking for.
Your answer should be concise while providing the recruiters with enough information.
Number 3: Show willingness to improve
Now, after you talk about your weakness, wrap up your answer by talking about the steps you’re taking to work on your weakness.
Take the opportunity to show your willingness to improve and learn more.
As much as the recruiters understand that all candidates will have a weakness, it’s the willingness to grow and improve that recruiters want to see in a candidate.
Let’s take a look at a sample answer that can help you create an outline of your own:
“I think my biggest weakness is that I can become extremely self-critical and often feel burdened with thoughts like I’m not giving my best and disappointing the people I work with. Even though my supervisors have never complained about my performance, my self-critical attitude has often led me to overwork myself, which can cause burnout. However, in the past year, I have been working on it, and I try to give myself enough credit for the work I do.”
Do you see why this answer works well?
Because self-criticism is a real weakness that recruiters can acknowledge, and yet it is not exactly a trait that can hamper your ability to perform well for, let’s say, a marketing position.
And the important part of the answer is that you are taking steps to actively work on your weakness.
Similarly, now you can frame your answer about your weakness while considering the job’s requirements.