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Weaknesses to List for Job Interviews

by Gina Scott

A common question applicants face during a job interview is one about weaknesses. While it seems like a question asked to expose your negative traits, you can use this inquiry to your advantage. When listing your weaknesses to a potential employer, point out characteristics that -- depending on the circumstances -- can be viewed positively as well. Think of a few qualities beforehand, in case you face a query into qualities you need to work on.

Think Outside the Position

One safe way to answer an interview question about your weaknesses is to think of a skill that doesn't directly relate to the position. If you're applying for a computer position where you'll spend most of the time by yourself, picking your lack of telephone skills is a loosely-related job skill. Conversely, if your position centers around greeting customers but you don't need computer skills to be successful, showing weakness in knowing how to get around a keyboard and mouse is a deficit you can mention.

The Need to Reflect

A weakness that can come across as more neutral than negative to an employer is needing time to gather your thoughts before speaking. It's not unusual for someone to require preparation time before performing tasks such as giving a presentation or cold calling. Express how important it is for you to feel adequately prepared so you do a good job. You can parlay this answer to appreciating time to thoroughly research before you give a presentation as well. Your potential supervisor may like the fact that you won't speak off-the-cuff, but rather give accurate information.

Organizing Your Time

Time management is a topic that causes many people to struggle, so it's a relatively safe weakness to mention during an interview. Without coming across as totally disorganized, say that trying to get everything done in a day is sometimes a challenge. When you give an example like this, list past work examples that anyone would find overwhelming. You could describe a time when a co-worker was on vacation while another employee in the department called in sick and you had to cover both of their duties at the same time.

It's a Work In Progress

Show a potential employer your proactive side by mentioning a weakness that you've worked to improve. Taking this approach allows you to reveal a weakness as more in the past tense than the present. For example, if you've recently brushed up on your written communication skills by joining a creative writing group, this is a good way to mention how you've worked on this area where you've struggled. Any work you've done toward a skill that fits into a job situation, such as writing or public speaking, are good weaknesses to mention you are already addressing.

About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Gina Scott has been writing professionally since 2008. She has worked in real estate since 2004 and has expertise in pop culture and health-related topics. She has also self-published a book on how to overcome chronic health conditions. Scott holds a Master of Arts in higher-education administration from Ball State University.

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