How to Talk about Weaknesses in a Job Interview

What are your weaknesses? Who hasn’t heard of this question in an interview? And it leaves us flabbergasted every time? Most people struggle with this question, in fact people often list this is one of the most difficult question to answer in an interview. So, what should you do? How should you answer this question?

  • Don’t answer with a Hidden Strength

Well, traditional wisdom tells us that we should answer this question with a hidden strength, like “I’m a perfectionist” or “I can’t stand people who are late.” While on the surface these kinds of responses sound like a weakness, they are in fact often considered to be strengths, i.e. the perfectionist will ensure that the work or project is without a flaw, while the other people will never be late.

This is the trick that we have also been though. However, would you believe that this trick is in fact wrong? In actuality, this trick has been used and abuse so much that hiring managers see through it right away. So, now it never flies; the rules of the game have changed. Nowadays, people need to honesty; they value honestly. What does that mean? Basically, you need to actually talk about your weaknesses in the job interview.

  • Know Your Weaknesses

In order to effectively do this, you first need to be self-aware enough to actually know your weaknesses. Secondly, you need to be able to talk about them in such a manner so as to ensure that it does not come across as a total negative and make you lose your job.

  • Talk about a Real Weakness, but need not be your greatest weakness

While they are asking about your greatest weakness or a major weakness (we all have them), know that you don’t have to talk about your greatest weakness or a major weakness, you can talk about any weakness you choose. However, don’t talk about something that negates the question, talk about a real weakness. In addition to talking about the weakness, also relate how you got over the weakness, or the steps you are currently taking to overcome your weakness.

  • Talk about how you overcame your weakness

Just know that your weakness is not enough, you should also be actively trying to overcome that weakness. Talk about an instance when this weakness actually hampered your work. This may sound counterproductive, but just having an adversity is not enough, you need to also be able to overcome that adversity.

Talk about how you learned about this weakness, what you have done since you found out about it, and how it is affecting your work now. However, you have to make it seem that while you struggle with this regularly, emphasis (with an example if possible) how you do not let it affect your work.

  • Make this your underdog story

Everyone loves an underdog story, where one has to overcome adversity to finally get what they want. You have to make your answer to this question your underdog story. It does not have to be Oscar worthy but it should serve to humanize you. It should show that you are a regular human with weaknesses and that you are aware of it and have tried to overcome this. This shows that you are willing to accept your weaknesses and errors and that you are not that arrogant to think that you have no weaknesses. This would show your humility and you would come across as a better candidate, especially for a managerial or upper management position.

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