If you are like most job seekers, you’ve probably been asked about your weaknesses at some point in your career. It’s a common interview question, and it’s also one of the toughest you’ll face as a candidate.
You might think that your weaknesses are a bad thing – that they are something to be ashamed of or something you should keep secret. But what if we told you that addressing them could actually help get you hired?
Now, you don’t want to be too honest about any major issues that could have a negative impact on your ability to do the job well. At the same time, you don’t want to lie. That would be a red flag to potential employers!
So, how should you respond?
In this article, we’ve compiled a list of good answers to the “What’s your biggest weakness?” question. These responses will help you come across as thoughtful, honest, and poised, all while making sure the interviewer gets a sense of who you are as an employee.
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The first thing you need to realize is that employers are not looking for people who have no flaws at all.
With this question, what they want is to find out if you are aware of your shortcomings and are actively working to improve them, or if you are a lazy person who doesn’t care about making any progress.
In short, your answer will give them insight into your work ethic and show the interviewer that you can be proactive about addressing issues instead of just waiting for someone else to point them out.
Here are some general tips for answering this question the right way:
- Don’t make excuses. You don’t need to explain why something happened or make excuses for yourself. Just own it!
- Be honest and positive. This is not an opportunity to list every single flaw or deficiency you have. You’re trying to show that you have self-awareness and can recognize when you need to improve.
- Show how you’ve learned from it and grown from it. This shows that you have good judgment and take responsibility for your actions – two huge qualities that employers look for when hiring new employees!
- Don’t use a list of weaknesses. Instead, pick one or two to focus on – for example, “I’m not much of an organizer” and “I tend to be more cautious than I need to be.”
- Use specific examples. For instance, “Being more decisive has helped me feel more confident in meetings and less hesitant when answering questions.”
- Keep it brief. The interviewer will likely ask you this question because he is interested in learning more about you, but doesn’t want to spend too much time on it.
So make sure that whatever examples you give are brief and concise.
To sum up, the trick is to be honest, but also show that you’ve overcome your weaknesses and highlight the steps you’ve taken to turn them into strengths.
Below, you will find some great examples of what that might sound like:
Weakness Questions in a Job Interview – 36 Good Answers
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1. I’m not the best communicator. Sometimes I can come across as too blunt or straightforward, but I’ve learned to overcome this challenge by being open to my teammates’ feedback and constantly striving to improve myself.
2. I have a tendency to work really hard and then burn out. I’ve learned that it’s important to pace myself and take breaks, especially if I’m working on something particularly challenging.
3. I tend to spend too much time considering every possible solution before making a decision, which isn’t always good for business! But lately, I’ve been working on trusting myself and making decisions quickly, which has made me more efficient than ever before.
4. I don’t have a lot of experience with [skill] because I haven’t had the opportunity to work on it much in the past, but I’m willing to put in the time and effort needed to get there.
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5. I’m terrible at multitasking. When I’m working on one thing, it’s hard for me to switch gears and focus on something else without losing track of what I was doing before.
6. That’s why I’ve spent the last year working hard to learn how to better manage my time and attention so that when something new comes up it doesn’t throw off everything else going on around me at work!
7. I struggle with communication in groups. I tend to be quiet or shy in large groups, and it’s hard for me to speak up when needed.
To work on this weakness, I’ve joined Toastmasters and I’m working on speaking more confidently in public settings.
8. One of my weaknesses is that I’m not as comfortable with [software] as I would like to be. However, I’ve realized that if I want to excel as a [job position], then I need to get comfortable with it, so I’ve been taking online courses and reading books on how to use [software].
9. I can be a bit too uptight when it comes to making changes. I’m doing my best to be more flexible, especially when it comes to new ideas and innovations.
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10. I work too hard and I’m not very good at delegating. I’ve been working on this by making sure that I have a clear vision of what needs to be done, then enlisting the help of my team members.
It’s been a lot of trial and error, but I’ve really started making progress in my ability to get things done more efficiently as a result.
11. I would say that my biggest weakness is probably time management. I am good at multitasking, but it’s always been hard to estimate how much time I needed to complete a task.
That’s why I started using [project management software]. It makes it easy to set realistic goals for myself and make sure everything gets done.
12. I’m a very impatient person. I think it’s because I have high standards, so it’s hard for me to accept that my work won’t be done perfectly the first time.
But I’ve been working on this problem by creating checklists for what needs to be done and when. This way, if something goes wrong or takes longer than expected, I can look at the checklist instead of getting upset or frustrated, which has been especially helpful to improve my performance when working in teams.
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13. One of my weaknesses is that I’m not very experienced in [industry]. I feel like I haven’t had a lot of time to jump into the working world and learn from my mistakes.
That’s why I’ve been trying to find ways to gain experience outside of the classroom, like volunteering and interning. These opportunities have given me great insight into what it’s like working in an office environment, which has helped me better prepare for this next step in my career.
14. I’m not a great self-starter. I tend to procrastinate until the last minute, which can make me feel like I’m always under pressure.
But over time, I’ve learned that taking some of the steps earlier in the process helps me feel more prepared and less stressed. Now, as soon as I get a new project or task, I set some time aside to plan out what it will look like and what needs to be done in order for it to be finished on time.
This way, when it comes time to start working on the project itself, there are no surprises.
15. The truth is I’m not great with numbers. I don’t mind them, but I’m not super good at calculating things and making quick decisions about them.
However, I’ve learned how to delegate those tasks to others or use other tools like [software] to assist me in understanding what’s going on.
16. I would say that my biggest weakness is that I am not always a team player. I have a hard time working with others.
But I’ve learned to work on this in the past few years and have made a conscious effort to be more open-minded about my coworkers’ ideas and suggestions.
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17. I think I’m a little too risk-averse. That’s why I’ve been working on taking on new challenges and trying things that might be outside my comfort zone.
18. I’m not the most tech-savvy person. I’ve always been more of a people person than a numbers person, so I’ve had to work hard to overcome that.
I’ve done it by learning to embrace new technology and learning how to use it in ways that have helped me grow my career. For example, when I was working at [company name], I took a few courses and was able to get an entire department on board with using [software].
19. I would say my biggest weakness is multitasking. I’m really good at focusing on one thing, but when it comes to doing multiple things at once, I tend to get distracted and lose track of what’s going on.
Recently I’ve been working on this by trying to focus on just one thing at a time and making sure that everything has its place so that if something distracts me, it’s easy for me to go back and pick up where I left off.
20. I’m the first to admit that I have a bit of trouble staying on top of things. In my previous job, I would get excited about new projects and dive in headfirst, but then I’d lose track of them and have trouble finishing them.
That’s why I started using Trello as a way to keep myself organized. It helps me see all my projects at once, and it also helps me know what’s going on in each one so I can keep track of what needs to be finished and what can wait.
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21. I’d say my weakness is taking on too much. I can’t help but want to take the lead on projects and make sure they’re done right, but sometimes it’s just not feasible for me to do everything myself.
I’ve learned to delegate more and ask for help when needed, which has really improved my productivity.
22. I have a hard time with [specific foreign language], which I know it’s important for this role. I’ve been able to overcome this problem by both practicing on my own and signing up for a few online courses, so now I’d say I have a conversational level of [specific foreign language].
I think learning how to overcome this challenge has made me stronger as both an employee and as a person overall because it taught me that even if something seems impossible at first glance (such as speaking a foreign language), then there’s probably another way around it if I just look hard enough!
23. I’ve always been a practical person, so it’s hard for me to just sit down and think of something from scratch. When I first got into the job market it was really hard for me to come up with ideas for new products or services without having any experience in those areas.
But since then, I’ve used the help of brainstorming tools and my teammates’ feedback to develop my own unique and original approach.
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24. I used to have a tendency to get distracted by other things while working, and sometimes I would lose track of time and end up missing important deadlines or meetings.
To overcome this weakness, I started using [app] on my phone. It reminds me of upcoming deadlines and meetings throughout the day.
25. I am a little bit too hands-off. I’ve always been the kind of person who takes a step back and lets people do their thing, but that can sometimes come off as a lack of confidence or ownership.
I think I’ve learned to be more assertive in my own work and to ask for help when I need it instead of trying to figure everything out on my own.
26. I would say that my biggest weakness is procrastination. It was hard for me to get started on things and it would take me longer than it should have.
But when I started at [company name] I learned to prioritize my tasks more effectively and make sure that they’re all completed by the deadline.
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27. I’ve been working on being more creative. And when I say “creative,” I mean not just coming up with new ideas, but also being able to communicate them clearly and effectively.
The way I’ve done this is by practicing communication skills with my friends and teammates, as well as through reading books on leadership and management.
28. I would say that my biggest weakness is probably my introversion. I’d rather just hang out with a good book than go out for drinks or anything like that, but it’s important for me to be able to socialize at work. So I’ve had to make an effort to be more outgoing.”
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29. I’ve always been pretty shy. It was hard for me to talk in front of people, and it took me a long time to feel comfortable presenting to audiences.
To overcome this, I created a debate club in my last company and held weekly meetings where everyone could practice giving speeches. It’s amazing how much that helped me out!
30. I think my biggest weakness is that I’m not super familiar with the software [name of software]. I started using it recently, and it’s been a bit of a struggle.
But I’m really focused on improving my skills, and I am confident that by the end of this year, I will be an expert in it.
31. My main weakness is delegating tasks. I’m a very hands-on person, and sometimes I get so caught up in my work that I don’t give others enough credit for what they can accomplish on their own.
I’ve learned to be more aware of this, and now when I notice myself doing it, I’ll ask for help or delegate the task so that someone else can take care of it.
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32. It’s no secret that I’m not the best with numbers. It wasn’t until I got into the workforce that I realized just how much of our work is based on data, so it was important for me to learn how to analyze numbers and interpret what they mean.
I began by taking a few online classes and then started doing more at work, like overseeing budgets and managing projects related to finances. These tasks helped me get a handle on what my co-workers were doing every day, which made it easier for me to make decisions when it came time for promotions or bonuses.
33. My biggest weakness is that I don’t have a lot of experience in [industry]. However, I’ve taken on projects at work that weren’t part of my regular job description and ended up doing really well at them.
I think this shows that I’m willing to go above and beyond what is expected of me!
34. I can fall into the trap of taking on too many projects at once. I’m very ambitious, and I love tackling big challenges, but sometimes I get so excited about all the things I want to do that I don’t give myself time to finish them all.
That’s why I started using time-tracking software. Now, when someone gives me multiple projects to work on at once, it’s easier for me to break those down into smaller tasks that I can accomplish within a reasonable amount of time.
35. I think the biggest weakness I have is that I don’t know much about [software]. It’s something I’ve always struggled with and it’s something that I’m trying to overcome by learning more about it through online courses on [MOOC platform].
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36. Well, the truth is that I tend to overcommit myself. I am always so excited about new opportunities, and then I get overwhelmed by how much I have on my plate.
In the past, this has caused me to work too much and not take care of myself as well as I should. I’ve been working on finding ways to manage my time better so that I can give each task its due diligence before moving on to the next one.
This has helped me stay more organized and focused, which has made it easier to decide how much time I need for each project or commitment.
37. I’d say I usually have a hard time focusing on one thing for too long. I’m a very goal-oriented person, and I tend to get bored if I don’t have something interesting to work towards.
To combat this, I’ve learned how to be more flexible with my goals. For instance, if I’m working on a project that requires a lot of attention, I’ll make sure that each day has at least one task that’s less intensive or more creative.
It might be something like taking the time to write an email or brainstorming ideas for a new project. This way, my brain doesn’t get overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done at once!
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The bottom line is: if you are asked to explain a weakness in a job interview, don’t think of it as a flaw.
Instead, think of it as an opportunity to show the hiring manager that you are self-aware and have already considered how to improve upon this aspect of yourself.
This will make you stand out from other candidates and show that you are not only qualified for the position but also motivated by your personal growth.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.