How to Answer ‘What is Your Greatest Weakness?’ in an Interview

by Emma • Mon, 13 Sep 2021 07:31AM
How to Answer ‘What is Your Greatest Weakness?’ in an Interview

Everyone wants to highlight their skills and strengths when it comes to job interviews. After all, the session is all about selling yourself, right? Just like two sides of the same coin, however, recruiters will not only focus on your strengths but also your weaknesses. It is easy to boast about what you can do, but it is often less than exciting to share about what you can’t do. The answer to this question can be very tricky because revealing too much about your shortcoming might stain your image in front of recruiters. 

So, how do you answer ‘What is your greatest weakness in an interview? Here are several tips you can learn from to come up with the best answer possible.


  1. Evaluate yourself and acknowledge any weaknesses 

It is humane to have weaknesses and recruiters understand this fact. Having weak points does not automatically make you disqualified from the selection process. The first thing you need to do is acknowledge your weaknesses as honestly as possible. Evaluate your real weaknesses; ones you actually have. Instead of thinking ‘seemingly perfect’ weaknesses to cover up the real ones, reflect on yourself that you are not perfect, yet you are trying your best anyway. Remember: the company does not ask you to be perfect and flawless. The urge to strive for perfectionism is definitely going to get you nowhere. 


  1. Mention weaknesses that will not impede you from performing well 

After evaluating your weaknesses, it is important to be aware that they will not impede you from doing the job. There are acceptable weaknesses, which usually involve personality traits, and there are non negotiable weaknesses in the form of skills. The key is to be mindful of your weaknesses and set realistic expectations. If you think your weaknesses are manageable, you can mention them. For example, if you apply for a job as a programmer and your weakness is public speaking, recruiters will most likely consider your candidacy, as this will not impede you from performing well. 


Read Also: Do's and Don'ts on Job Interview for Jobseekers


  1. Prove that you are currently overcoming these weaknesses

When recruiters question your weaknesses, they want to know if you can be upfront and honest. This is also to see if you strive for self-improvement rather than allowing your weaknesses to hold you back. More than acknowledging them, you should demonstrate that you are currently dealing with these weaknesses. For example, you have a hard time saying “no” to a request and this weakness often gets you a burnout for working beyond your capacity. Explain that you are working on it by using a project management app to visualize how much work you have at a time to decide whether or not you have the capacity to take on more tasks. By showing this, recruiters will know that you are doing something about your areas of weakness. This also provides the recruiter with insight into a few strong aspects of your work approach.


  1. Show your willingness to learn from others

To overcome a weakness, you will almost always need to seek outside of yourself. Be it from your supervisor or a career coach, the act of asking for assistance displays self-awareness and resilience. For example, you have a slight problem in public speaking and you are currently taking an online course on this from an expert. This provides the recruiter with how you will collaborate with the team to compensate for that weakness. Admitting that you may look for guidance about your weakness can also show that you put a trust in the company as a place for development.


  1. Maintain your self-esteem

When answering the question about your weakness, the most vital point you can do is show confidence in your response. In answering this, you need to maintain your self-esteem to not sound either too timid or too cocky. An answer that seems timid will be a lot like “I am not really good at keeping a conversation going and as much as I am working on it, I do not think it has gone away yet”. This tells that you are desperately giving up on improving yourself. On the other hand, an answer that sounds cocky will not be favorable, such as “My weakness is that I tend to ace at everything I do, so I am afraid that my peers will be overwhelmed by me”. Either you are too pessimistic or too optimistic, the recruiter will refrain from hiring you upon failure to show moderation in explaining your weakness.


The key to preparing for the ‘What is your greatest weakness?’ question is to identify weaknesses that can be compensated by your strengths. Admit that you do have weaknesses while emphasizing what you are doing about them. This will demonstrate that you are aware to always improve. Whatever weaknesses you choose to discuss with recruiters, they are usually more than eager to assist you improve and fulfill the role's requirements.


Read Also: How to Prepare an Answer for Why Should I Hire You?


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