If you’ve ever taken part in a job interview — as most people have — you’ve probably been asked the following dreaded question: “What are your weaknesses?” It’s a bit of a loaded question, as the interviewer wants you to give them reasons why they shouldn’t hire you. Naturally, you’ll want to avoid making yourself look bad at all costs. However, you won’t want to give “fake” answers that sound like outright lies. Consequently, you’ll have to walk a tightrope between giving open, honest answers and making yourself look like a great candidate for the job.
With all that in mind, today we will help guide you through one of the most common and difficult interview questions that candidates face. So, let’s look at a few different ways to talk about your weaknesses in a job interview!
Consider Inconsequential Weaknesses
Before stepping foot in the interview room, you should actually take the time to think about your strengths and weaknesses. What do you excel at? How could you improve and be a better job candidate? Asking yourself these questions will help you identify weaknesses to talk about with the interviewer.
However, you shouldn’t just blurt out all of your weaknesses in the actual interview. This is a quick way to lose out on the job opportunity. Instead, think about weaknesses that are inconsequential to the job you want. In other words, think about the weaknesses that would not affect your job performance. For example, if you’re interviewing for a job at a company like Research America, try talking about the fact that you sometimes have trouble saying no. Such issues are less likely to hinder your ability to be a good job candidate.
Talk About Your Strengths
It’s important to note that you should never answer an interview question about your weaknesses by only talking about your strengths. That said, if you mention a weakness that might make you look bad, you should use the opportunity to segue into a conversation about your strengths. For example, you could say, “Sometimes I take the stresses of my work with me when I go home, but in many cases, I find that this helps me work out solutions to complex problems when I return to work.” That way, you can answer the question while also turning attention to something that you do well.
Discuss Specific Learning Experiences
In most cases, your actual weakness is not that important in an interview; it’s all about how you frame it. Rather than simply listing things that you cannot do well, frame your weaknesses as learning experiences. For example, let’s say that you left a job at an accounting firm. At the time, your weakness was your lack of knowledge concerning a particular type of software. You struggled to understand the software, but you used this weakness as an excuse to learn, grow, and eventually become better at your job. In doing so, you can show that you have the capacity to overcome your weaknesses.
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