Nobody wants to talk about their weaknesses at a job interview! It makes you vulnerable, and if you say the wrong thing, they might doubt your abilities! So when you’re asked about your weaknesses, it tends to be a very nerve-wracking experience. But there are great ways to handle the question, especially when you realize what the interviewer is trying to learn about you. Here’s how to answer the questions, “What’s your greatest weakness?”
Remember their motivation
When they ask you about your weaknesses, they’re not necessarily interested in learning which of your skills you need to practice. More likely, they’re trying to investigate your level of self-awareness. How humble are you? If you say that you don’t have any weaknesses, your interviewer probably won’t believe you, and they’ll write you off as arrogant. Instead, they want to hear you talk about something that you’re actively working to improve. Or they want to hear about a skill you’ve already worked to turn around. Regardless, your answer should always be framed around the positive aspects of your skills and abilities as an employee. They want to hear that you have an upbeat attitude and that you’re striving to get better.
Bring up your non-essential skills
One approach to this question is to discuss a skill that isn’t a requirement for the position you’re applying for. If you’re applying for a lifeguarding position, for example, then maybe you mention that you’re working to improve your typing speed. That way, you’re honestly confessing your shortcomings, but it’s not necessarily a skill that will prevent you from getting hired. Or if you’re applying for a call center job, you might bring up that although you’re pretty adept at communicating one-on-one with customers, you’re not great at giving presentations to large groups. This time, you focus on the skill that you’re good at.
Mention your areas of improvement
Another approach is to explain the skill that you improved in your last job. Instead of admitting a weakness, highlight the fact that you worked hard to develop a new skill, and turn a weakness into a strength. Or bring up a skill that you’re currently working to improve. Demonstrate that you can take initiative and are committed to self-improvement. Just make sure the skill you bring up isn’t a skill that’s required for the job you’re applying for. You don’t want them to question your qualification or doubt your readiness.
Show off the positive side
You could also frame your “weakness” as a positive. If you tend to rush through projects instead of carefully taking your time, you might describe it as always completing projects on time. Show that you’re aware of the traits, but you don’t think it inhibits your level of competency. Regardless of what you say, it’s important that you answer the question honestly, authentically, and best-suited for your set of circumstances.