It is the all-time dreaded interview question, “What are your biggest weaknesses?” This isn’t something you want to boast about during your interview. You want to talk about everything that is good about you, and avoid any of the yucky stuff. It’s like dating for the first few months. You want to show your best self, and hide anything you might see as ugly…like weaknesses.
However, you have to learn how to talk about weaknesses for your job interviews, and you have to be honest. If you’re not prepared you can get thrown off and you start flopping around. You’ve aced the interview thus far, and with one question your entire job interview is out the window.
Job interviewers are looking for your preparedness on this difficult question because they want to know how self-aware you are.
10 Fresh Tips on How to Talk About Your Weaknesses:
- Be Prepared: You must be prepared for this question, and to do that you have to get to know yourself. That includes what you aren’t good at or in which areas you blunder. Take an online personality test to see where your weaknesses are. You will be one step ahead of other interviewees when you know what your weaknesses are. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Get to know yours.
- Not Job-Related: Talk about weaknesses that don’t necessarily relate to the job you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a job doing data entry you could talk about your weakness as a public speaker. It’s not going to affect your job as a data entry person, but it is a weakness.
- Be Specific: Avoid general statements such as “I’m bossy”. This goes back to knowing yourself. The job interviewer will want to know how you’re bossy and why, but that person shouldn’t have to ask those questions. Be prepared with a specific statement about your weakness or weaknesses.
- Avoid it: This might conflict with the other advice in this article about how to talk about weaknesses, but you can talk about any past weaknesses that you have improved upon. This not only shows that you are self-aware, but also that you have the drive to overcome those weaknesses and work on them. Maybe your biggest weakness was public speaking, so you decided to join Toastmasters, an organization that helps people afraid of public speaking ease into it and become excellent public speakers. When you tell an interviewer about working on your weaknesses you are showing an amazing strength.
- Never Say This: There are some weaknesses that you should never say during a job interview. This includes the following: “I don’t do well accepting feedback”, “I don’t work well in groups”, “I am not reliable”, and “I cannot be trusted”. When you say any one of these statements you’ve lost the job opportunity. Look for a different way to talk about your weaknesses or choose a different one to talk about.
- Don’t be a Robot: While you do want to prepare for this dreadful interview question, you should not have a word-for-word response prepared. Prepare it to the point where you can talk about it without just rehearsing a line. This should be part of the entire job interview conversation. You want to be genuine.
- Avoid Personal Weaknesses: No job interviewer wants to know about your personal life drama. Stick with weaknesses that would be related to working, even if it’s not related to the specific job you are applying for.
- I’m a Perfectionist: Avoid phrases like this (like “I work too hard”) that will only annoy your interviewer who will have to ask you for another example of a weakness, or move on to the next question. You will have lost at that question.
- Know the Question: The purpose of this question during a job interview is to throw you off, ask something you’re not prepared for, and see how you react to it. That’s why you want to prepare for it, but not regurgitate a rehearsed line. The interviewer just wants to see how you handle a difficult and unexpected situation.
- Be Honest: Don’t lie about your weaknesses. Everyone wants to know the tricks on how to talk about weaknesses, but there really aren’t any. You just have to be honest about them, get to know them, improve your weaknesses, and just be conversational during the interview. Be honest.
Now that you know how to talk about weaknesses during a job interview, get out there and blow them away. Take the personality test so you know where your weaknesses are and start working on them so they are no longer weaknesses. During your next job interview you can talk about how you overcame your biggest weakness.