Asking about your weaknesses is a common interviewing tool. When a hiring manager asks what someone else would say your weaknesses are, it gets a bit trickier to answer. The reason hiring managers ask this question and others like it is to see if you are motivated to advance professionally. In order to advance in your career, you have to be honest with yourself when identifying strengths and weaknesses. The only way to advance is through improvement, so you have to know what needs improvement. Your answer shows interviewers that you see your weakness and are working to turn it into a strength.
Points to Emphasize
When answering a question about what someone else thinks of you, there are a few points you want to be sure to emphasize.
- When you talk about your weaknesses always talk about how you are trying to improve.
- Answer with something that your manager would actually want you to improve on. Be honest.
- Discuss non-essential skills, so the interviewer won’t see it as a negative.
- Try to turn negatives into positives. This can be harder when talking about what your manager saw as a negative.
The biggest point to emphasize is the truth. The hiring manager doesn’t want to hear a story you made up.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
Make sure to avoid these pitfalls when answering this type of question.
- Don’t say negative things about your former boss.
- Beware of saying you need to improve an essential skill for the position you are interviewing for.
- Try not to make something up. Think back to reviews you had to give yourself ideas of what your boss might want you to improve on.
- Do not be embarrassed about needing improvement. That just shows that you’re trying to get better.
Remember that the interviewer is trying to see if you would fit in at the company. Don’t take any of the questions too personally.
Here is a sample answer:
My previous manager would like me to improve on sharing my ideas during meetings, keeping my expectations realistic and becoming more organized. I have been working on becoming more vocal during meetings. I tend to just think to myself and share later, but I know it is more beneficial for the group to share when everyone is there. I have to keep my expectations realistic because I always want to finish everything way ahead of schedule, and that’s not always possible. When I started out I wasn’t that organized, but I’ve really come a long way there. I’ve implemented a new organization system recently.
Stay honest and positive.