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How to answer the “Weakness” question in interviews

Did you just secretly roll your eyes while reading this question? Well yes, we get this question might become a little annoying given we have heard it so often. Nevertheless, it is still a question that is very often used during interviews so we might as well answer that one the right way.

So how can we do that? Well, there are three steps you should be following. But first let’s put two rules out there:

  • Rule number 1: To answer this question you need to think about your skills and not your personality traits. This is very important. So you won’t say “I’m an introvert” but rather think about a specific skill like “presentation skills, active listening, etc.” that you are currently developing. Why? Personality traits are difficult to change but skills can easily be learned and adapted.
  • Rule Number 2: Never choose a skill that is essential for that job. This sounds obvious but is still important to be said. Of course, you need to choose a true weakness, but don’t choose the one that is truly essential for the job.

Once you chose a skill, let’s say you want to become better at public speaking (let’s assume the role does not require you to do that on a daily basis) you can continue with these three steps:

Step 1: Tell the story

It is important that you don’t try to avoid these questions but actually embrace it. Explain what your weakness is.

An example could be: “I tend to get a bit nervous when I have to do a presentation in front of many people.”

Step 2: Show you understand

Once you told them about your weakness, it is time to show self-awareness and tell why you want to develop that skill. In our previous example, it could be something like this: “Even though I know public speaking makes me nervous, I also understand the importance of public speaking and how much impact these can have for any business.”

Step 3: Show you are working on it

This is where you get their trust. Of course, don’t lie but make sure to select a skill you either are working on or that you already have a plan of developing in the future.

One example could be: “I have already done a course on public speaking and plan to do one more starting next week. The courses have helped me develop some techniques that help me during presentations and I have already seen improvements. It certainly is a goal of mine to get better at it.”

We hope these tips help you and you can prepare for this very common interview question – go get that job!

Picture of Laura Villafuerte

Laura Villafuerte

HR expert & Career Coach

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