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The Dreaded "What Are Your Weaknesses?" Question

The Dreaded "What Are Your Weaknesses?" Question
18 November 2020
Est. Reading: 2 minutes

During a job interview, you will want to sell yourself to the employer. Because of this, you won’t want to say anything that may reflect badly on you. However, being honest with your answers may open more doors for you than close them. An example of questions like this is “What are your weaknesses?” 

While there is technically no correct way to answer this question, there is a wrong way. In fact, there are many wrong ways to answer this question. The most common wrong answer is simply not being genuine. Pretending that your weaknesses are not relevant is also not the right way to go about answering this question. 

The first thing to remember is that you’ve been called to an interview based on your CV. This means that the interviewer has read about you and your skillset. They may already have an idea of where your weaknesses lie. Use this time to contextualise them. 

What your CV says could actually help you to answer this question. Focus your weakness on previous experience or gaps in your CV rather than to you as a person. You want to be honest with the employer without putting them off you as a viable candidate. For example, avoid saying that you are stubborn. 

The second thing to consider is the job description. Using one of the key points they’ve listed will show that you’re genuine, as well as showing them that you understand the role. However, be careful not to pick one of the points that could be a dealbreaker. 

However, use step two as a way to move into step three which is to show them that you’re working on them. This will show them that you’re committed to growing as an employee and a person. Lifelong learners are much more attractive to employers than someone who will never aim to do better.

Be confident and honest with your answer. Do not apologies for it as it’s not a confession to the employer. Showing them that improvements are underway will ultimately look better for you. Where possible, finish up your answer with a question. This tactic will steer the conversation back to what you can do. 

Don't let the question intimidate you. No one is perfect, but you can still be the perfect person for the job. 

Certain answers may add a red flag to your interview.

Phrases like this will make you sound insincere. Do not use the “perfectionist” line or tell them that you work “too hard”. Avoid lines that may make you seem hard to work with such as getting frustrated with others who don’t pull their weight or that you sweat the small stuff. Don’t say that you don’t have any and definitely don’t say anything that has no relevance to the job.

Got any more advice? Let us know down in the comments. Next, check out our list of questions you might be asked in your interview here!

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