One of the last thing you want to do in an interview is to say the wrong thing and give an employer a reason not to hire you. Although some job candidates dread talking about their weaknesses in an interview, it is a question that employers often ask in an effort to understand the applicant better. Knowing how to answer an interview question about your weaknesses can help you make a good impression with the interviewer and place in a good position to land the job.
Keep it Work Related
Employers want you to give honest answers when discussing your weaknesses in a job interview. While it is important to remain truthful, keeping your answers related to the job position is critical. Avoid discussing personal weaknesses that would only bring drama to the workplace. One way to accomplish this is to think about areas you’ve struggled in at previous jobs. Another way to honestly assess your weaknesses is to think about discussions between you and previous managers where your weaknesses were mentioned. Consider any suggestions prior managers may have given you to improve your weaknesses.
Make It Positive
Candidates who are able to effectively discuss their weaknesses in an interview come across to employers as sincere and humble. Although knowing your weaknesses is important, discussing the steps you’ve taken to improve in those areas is equally important. Most employers know that there is no perfect job candidate, so you do not need to overstate your progress. For example, if you’ve lacked organizational skills in the past, you can mention that as one of your weaknesses. You can then discuss the importance of organization in the workplace and the steps you’ve taken to become more organized.
Avoid Cliché Answers
When discussing your weaknesses in a job interview, avoid giving cliché answers that are overused by many job candidates. An answer that is cliché may leave the recruiter with the impression that you didn’t take the question seriously. Examples of a cliché answer is stating that you are a perfectionist or a workaholic. These answers appear gimmicky and insincere. Another common mistake job candidates make when discussing their weaknesses is saying they don’t possess any or that they do not know their weaknesses. Employers want to know that you understand your weaknesses and the importance of improving in those areas.
A major factor in making a good impression with an employer when discussing your weaknesses is to prepare some responses before the interview. If you are unsure of your weaknesses, taking a personality test can help you discover some weaknesses that you can possibly mention in an interview. Although you want to think critically about your responses, your answers should not sound rehearsed. According to Jacquelyn Smith of Forbes, you shouldn't rehearse an exact response because it can hinder you from changing your answer if the flow of the conversation between you and the employer changes.
- Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images