Being asked, “What are three positive character traits you don’t have” is on par with being asked “What are your greatest weaknesses”
On the surface, it seems as though this question is trying to get you to admit to some major character flaws. Naturally, you do not want to give a big confession about how you lack any essential skills. Instead, this question is meant to see if you are taking steps to improve upon yourself. You should not just list your weaknesses without spinning them into a positive.
Points to Emphasize
It is easy to leave out crucial information when giving your answer to this question, so make sure to emphasize certain key points.
- Talk about weaknesses that are not that big of a deal
- Discuss what you are doing to improve yourself
- Spin a negative trait into a positive trait
- Show that you are capable of assessing skills and qualities in others
No one is perfect, so it is okay to mention traits you perhaps lack, but do not be honest to the extent where you completely disqualify yourself.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
The wrong response could make a prospective employer skeptical about hiring you, so look out for these common pitfalls.
- Don’t say there is nothing positive you lack
- Don’t state a weakness without saying what you are doing to improve it
- Avoid being too honest
- Avoid saying you lack something that is crucial for the job you are applying for
Although most hiring managers would say they appreciate honesty, being too honest with this question can eliminate you entirely regardless of what you answered for the rest of the interview questions.
To keep yourself in the running for the job, frame your response like this:
The first trait I feel I lack is being a people-pleaser. Although I work quite efficiently in groups, I don’t feel the need to always ensure everyone is happy if there’s a more pressing matter at hand. I’m not the best at managing deadlines, but I have no problem working with project managers to ensure everything is progressing as planned, and I have never turned in an assignment late because of it. Finally, I have not had many opportunities to travel and see the world, so the last trait I would say is being worldly.
Being self-critical is important for self-improvement, but the traits you talk about should not be deal-breakers when considering the new position. Any seemingly negative question can have a positive spin placed on it so that you are actually talking about all the good qualities you have.