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What is one interview-appropriate answer to the question, What do you consider to be your weaknesses?

To help you provide interview-appropriate answers to the question “What do you consider to be your weaknesses?,” we asked CEOs and hiring managers this question for their best advice. From framing your weakness in a positive tone to showing you are determined to keep improving, there are several ways to put a positive twist when answering the interview question “What do you consider to be your weaknesses?.”  

Here are 11 answers to the question “What do you consider to be your weaknesses?”:

  • Frame Your Weakness in a Positive Tone
  • Talk About Any Weakness and Your Willingness To Improve
  • Provide an Encouraging Example
  • Focus On Solutions
  • Explain Your Difficulty in Maintaining Work-Life Balance
  • Say You Are a People Pleaser
  • Show That Your Weakness is Something You’re Working On
  • Admit You’re Often Self Critical To a Fault
  • Mention Your Impatience
  • Say You Are a Conflict Avoidant Person
  • Show You’re Determined To Keep Improving

Frame Your Weakness in a Positive Tone

The secret to identifying your weakness is to come across as humble without giving them such a significant flaw that they won’t hire you. All weaknesses should have a backside of strength too. For instance, you can say your weakness is that you are sometimes too flexible with time. That may mean you aren’t always on time but also means you tend to work later than anyone else when it’s needed. It also means you don’t mind if your schedule changes suddenly. That could put you above others that have stricter schedules they can’t change.

Michael Gorlovsky, Windermere Orthodontics

Talk About Any Weakness and Your Willingness To Improve

Admitting your imperfection is not a bad thing. No person is perfect. It’s a bigger red flag for a candidate to try to come off as flawless in an interview than the other way around. Admitting your weaknesses demonstrates a willingness to improve. For example, I’m someone who can have difficulties concentrating in busy environments. It’s not necessarily the most office-friendly weakness to have but it’s something I’m conscious of and work on improving. If asked by an interviewer, this would be exactly what I would tell them.

Follow this formula when asked about your weakness, whatever it is. Be honest, don’t try to dress up a weakness as a strength, and let your interviewer know you are willing to put the effort in to improve.

Boye Fajinmi, TheFutureParty

Provide an Encouraging Example

Provide an example of how you use a perceived weakness to your advantage. For instance, if you’re a perfectionist, say that this allows you to do the best possible work on a project. A hiring manager won’t expect you to turn a question about a negative aspect of yourself into a positive attribute. Always try to spin a question about one of your weaknesses into an example of your strengths.

Phillip Lew, C9 Staff

Focus On Solutions

Whichever weakness you choose to share, don’t allow a hiring manager to linger on it for too long. Rather than concentrating on how your weakness might hold you back, emphasize that your focus is on finding solutions to mitigate it. For example, “I often struggle with a lack of confidence, but I don’t let it hold me back from trying my best in any given situation.” Be sure to provide a concrete example of how you are working on improving yourself.

Paul Breen, Strelcheck Healthcare Search

Explain Your Difficulty in Maintaining Work-Life Balance

This is a great answer because it showcases two sides to the interviewee – one side that is devoted to their job while the other side showing the effects that not having such a balance can have on work. Interviewees that respond with this answer show that they realize what their limits are and the importance of structure in their day-to-day life. It’s something that everyone can easily empathize with and one can show that, while their job is important, their lives outside of work is just as important.

Rich Rudzinski, Oversight

Say You Are a People Pleaser

Say that you’re a people pleaser. This will tell hiring managers that you value customers first and foremost, which is always great to hear from a customer service perspective. Any customer-facing job, whether that be retail, B2C, etc., has something to gain from hiring people who consider themselves people pleasers. Putting the customer first is your ticket to exceptional customer service and high customer lifetime value, making that a useful and generalized interview answer.

Eric Elggren, Andar

Show That Your Weakness is Something You’re Working On

I have been working on my public speaking skills. When I gave presentations in my previous role, I would sometimes get nervous beforehand and tend to speak too fast for too long. After some reflection and reading some books on the subject of public speaking, I have been incorporating their steps on how to deal with stage fright and how to properly prepare. Like any other skill, practice makes perfect so I look forward to giving presentations now so I can continue to improve.

Monte Deere, Kizik

Admit You’re Often Self Critical To a Fault

Admitting that you’re self critical is not something that could be deemed as a negative, either towards the role itself or as an employee in general. By also saying ‘to a fault’ outlines that you understand it’s a weakness, which then allows you to be able to expand on why it’s a weakness, and how you’re taking steps to address it e.g. recognizing that you’re not going to know everything or that continual improvement is required for you to live up to your own career expectations.

James Taylor, James Taylor SEO Consultancy

Mention Your Impatience

We can work with impatience. When I’m interviewing a candidate and they say their weakness is being impatient, that tells me they’ve got energy our company can work with. Impatience means your goals are to get things done, it means you’re a problem solver and it means you’re going to add great energy to the team.

Yes, patience is important, and it’s something we all need to work at, but sometimes impatience is just the right amount of fire needed to get things going. When a candidate tells me they’re impatient, I relate to them. I know they’re driven, honest, a go-getter and they could be a great addition to the team.

Karim Hachem, Sunshine79

 Say You Are a Conflict Avoidant Person

‘I am a conflict-avoidant person’. This is a reasonable response to give in an interview when asked about personal weaknesses. Being conflict-avoidant can be a consequential weakness in the workplace. Conflict-avoidant people will often shy away from advocating for their position and defending their ideas. This can be an issue for businesses when conflict-avoidant people have solutions and ideas worth defending. On the other hand, individuals who are prone to conflict can be disruptive to a company’s internal operations. Being conflict-avoidant is a weakness that many employers can accept.

Katy Carrigan, Goody

Show You’re Determined To Keep Improving

When you give an answer to this question, choose one that doesn’t raise doubts about your ability to succeed in the role. Identify a weakness that you have addressed and describe how you continue to make improvements. One solid answer to this question is that you’ve had to work to be more trusting of others. You have had a history of taking on tasks by yourself because you only trusted yourself to do them correctly. That drive for perfectionism made you less of a delegator.

During the interview, mention that you’ve worked with talented, hard-working colleagues who have helped you learn that you can count on your teams and work together – and that you intend to keep improving. This gives the hiring manager the comfort of knowing you’re learning from whatever perceived weakness you might have and that you have the drive they’re looking for.

Mona Akhavi, VRAI

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