What Are Your Weaknesses? – Sample Answers
What Are Your Weaknesses? – Sample Answers
An interview is, fundamentally, about positioning yourself as the best candidate for the job, which means that the last thing you want to do at an interview is to tell the interviewer that you are bad at something. This is why the common interview question, “What are your weaknesses?” is one that many interviewers dread as revealed in discussions on the same over at runrex.com. The good news is that this question doesn’t have to trip you up and there are ways to answer it without sabotaging yourself. Through the following sample answers, this article will look to highlight how to answer this question juxtaposed with how NOT to answer the question.
What is the interviewer looking for?
When asking this question, there are several things the interviewer wants to find out about you as articulated over at guttulus.com. The interviewer is looking for 3 qualities:
Here, according to the subject matter experts over at runrex.com, the last thing you want to do is deny that you have any real weaknesses. Just make sure that you choose an answer that won’t interfere with the duties of the job you are applying for.
Sample Right Answer: Yes, I have a couple of weaknesses. My biggest weakness is my inability to work well in a team, which is why I became a truck driver as I get to spend most of my time alone on the road.
Sample Wrong Answer: Weaknesses? What Weaknesses? I don’t have any weaknesses.
The interviewer is also checking to see how honest you are which means that the last thing you want to do when answering this question is lie as per the experts over at guttulus.com. You should choose a real weakness and talk about the steps you are taking to address it.
Sample Right Answer: One weakness I have is that I’m not very good at gauging how long a task will take me to finish. Quite often, I underestimate the time it will take to do smaller jobs which leads to me not delegating enough to larger, more important projects. I, therefore, end up having to rush to get things done, and, sometimes, I miss deadlines. To address this issue, I have started taking time management courses at my local community college.
On the other hand, the wrong approach when answering this question, as outlined over at runrex.com, is disguising a strength as a weakness.
Sample Wrong Answer: What are my weaknesses? Well, for starters, I’m a perfectionist which means everything has to be perfect. I’m also a workaholic, as well as being obsessive about being organized. Everything has to be perfect and in place.
As discussed over at guttulus.com, when you try to answer this question this way, by framing a strength as a weakness, the interviewer will see it as a way of avoiding the question, and they will start wondering what you are hiding. You should avoid answering this question this way.
An important part of answering this question, as articulated over at runrex.com, is showing self-improvement. This is why you should include details about the steps you are taking to learn a skill to correct a weakness when answering this question.
Sample Right Answer: My two greatest weaknesses are an inability to share responsibilities and remaining patient during group projects. I want to be in control all the time and I don’t trust others with work I know I can do better. Therefore, if I have to share a task, I lose my patience when I suspect that the other person isn’t doing it right. I have had discussions about these weaknesses with my supervisor as areas I’d like to improve on. We have set up a timeline and goals for me to achieve and I’ve enrolled in several team-building workshops and a volunteer group. I’m learning to let go and trust others and my supervisor has recently complimented me on my progress.
When answering this question, you should remember that you are not confessing your sins or discussing your childhood traumas with a therapist. You should, therefore, avoid talking about your greatest weakness of all time and then waiting for mercy according to the gurus over at guttulus.com.
Sample Wrong Answer: I hate animals. I hate animals so much that I yell at my brother’s dog when he isn’t around to hear it. I don’t know where my hate for animals comes from. I suspect that it comes from the time the dog ruined my school project. I’ve never been the same since and I don’t know what to do about it.
Be prepared to talk about more than one weakness
As revealed in discussions on the same over at runrex.com, it is important to remember that the interviewer may ask you, “What is your greatest weakness?” then follow it up with, “What are some of your other weaknesses?”. The following is a list of common professional skills you can mention when answering questions about your weaknesses during a job interview:
Talking too much
Presenting to the public
A lack of spontaneity (you don’t like to work unprepared)
Command of a particular foreign language
The best way to answer this question is to first outline the weakness followed by what you are doing to correct it. According to the experts over at guttulus.com, this means that when you are making a list of weaknesses, you should try to come up with those that you have worked hard to correct.
Choose a weakness that isn’t one of the job-related skills listed in the job offer
According to the gurus over at runrex.com, you should also avoid matching your weaknesses with the skills from the job offer. Choose a real weakness, but one that isn’t going to affect your job performance too much if you get the job.
For example, if you are applying for a position as a Software Designer, the following is a sample of the right answer as discussed over at guttulus.com:
Sample Right Answer: My greatest weakness is my writing skills. I’ve always been a technical, math person, and I like crunching numbers. However, when it comes to words, I get tongue-tied and forget the rules. I have started using Grammar apps to make sure my emails are correct. The app I’m using gives the activity a tech feel as well, which makes the whole thing more comfortable for me.
From the above sample answer as discussed over at runrex.com, the candidate chose “writing skills” as their weakness. As a software designer, they won’t have to write too much, which won’t affect their job performance too much. Plus, the candidate is also taking measures to correct the weakness.
On the other hand, if the job states that the ideal candidate should be “positive, bubbly, and friendly” for example, you should avoid providing an answer like the one below.
Sample Wrong Answer: I have anger management issues. I tend to blow up when someone makes me angry or nervous. Don’t get me wrong, I like people, I’m just a grumpy person. I don’t have a high tolerance for nonsense or stupidity. I’m working on it though. I have been doing volunteer work with seniors to develop patience and empathy.
Hopefully, the above discussion and sample answers provided will help you answer this question when it comes up in an interview, with more on this and other related topics to be found over at the excellent runrex.com and guttulus.com.