What Are Your Weaknesses?

Published on: May 30, 2017

Most people prepare to talk about what makes them great during an interview, but you should also be prepared to answer, "What are your weaknesses"

A hiring manager is not looking for someone who does not have any weaknesses because no one like that exists. An employer is trying to figure out if you are aware of what skills you need to improve upon and see if you would ultimately be a liability to the organization as a whole. Employers are also trying to see if you had a weakness in the past but took the necessary actions to improve upon it, and now, it is ultimately a benefit.

Points to Emphasize

Although you should mention some weaknesses, there are ways to talk about them that do not come across as negative

  • Talk about how you overcame a weakness you had in the past
  • Mention a weakness that is not detrimental to you doing a good job
  • Discuss a weakness that is actually a strength in disguise
  • Spin a question about your weaknesses into talking about your strengths

A question about your weaknesses should be viewed as an opportunity to talk about what you have done to improve your skillset.

Mistakes You Should Avoid

For some interviewees, a question about weaknesses is a make-or-break situation. You could automatically lose a job if you answer this question incorrectly, so look out for these common mistakes.

  • Avoid saying that you don't have any weaknesses
  • Do not talk about weaknesses that would prevent you from doing your job
  • Don't skip over talking about your weaknesses entirely
  • Don't be too honest

All employers value honesty, but a job interview is not the place to get into all the things you could improve upon in your life. You need to use this time to sell yourself, which is why you need to work this question to play to your advantage.

Sample Answer

Prepare a response before your interview so that you are thoroughly prepared. It should look something like this:

Sometimes I can be overly critical of my own work. In the past, I have spent a good amount of time proofreading everything to ensure that it was perfect. Now I have learned to trust my instincts and not spend so much time obsessing over the little things.

The exact response you give should be customized based on what would not be that big of a deal for the job you are trying to get. One small mistake could mean you have lost the job before you really had a chance.

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LiveCareer Staff Writer

LiveCareer Staff Writer

At LiveCareer, we live and breathe the belief that we can help people transform their work lives, and so do our contributors. Our experts come from a variety of backgrounds but have one thing in common: they are authorities on the job market. From journalists with years of experience covering…

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