3 Interview Questions About Weaknesses With Example Answers
How do you answer a question asking you about your weakness? Every interviewees’ intention is to portray themselves in a ‘perfect light’ to increase their chances of being hired. So, sharing a weakness is not the easiest thing for many.
Employers want to see how their candidates perceive their weaknesses and what they do to turn them around into positive qualities. We look at more than one way the ‘weakness’ question can arise so you don't get caught out on the spot, whilst trying to interpret it.
The most important advice is to never say, “I don't have a weakness”.
The most common weakness question, is simply asked as:
“What would you describe as your weakness?”
“Describe an attribute you could improve on?”
Being honest with a straightforward and simple answer works best. For example “I’m quite impatient and don't like waiting for colleagues to provide necessary information to complete deadlines”.
This is a great answer as it outlines ‘impatience’ as a weakness before turning it into a positive example. Expanding on your answers is highly recommended as it will show you have a deeper understanding of the question being asked. So you could go on to say…
“However, I think my impatience is a good thing, because I don't like missing targets. My impatience has also taught me how to improve my negotiation skills and how to retrieve information from sources in innovative ways. I am now more proactive in my approach by asking colleagues when they think they’ll be able to get back to me. This has created a more established team relationship within the office and I’m receiving information more quicker than before.”
The above example identified the problem, solution and outcome, which is what employers want to hear. They want to see how you have contributed positive change within your previous or existing workplaces.
Another way the above question can be asked is:
”What do you think you will find difficult in this role during your first few weeks?”
This is an even trickier question, because you have no idea what it will be like in the role, if you do land it. Clicking into a future mind-frame can become a stumbling block here especially as you might be worried you say the wrong thing!
Don’t make the mistake of saying “I might find working with budgets and money difficult” if you’re applying for the role of Tax Assistant! Instead, perhaps say:
“I would ‘maybe’ find it difficult to adapt to the culture and remembering everyone’s names and roles at first, because no two workplaces are identical. However, after the first few days, I will have become familiar with the setting.
I would make an effort to introduce myself to individuals at their desks and even arrange 5 minute 1-2-1 meetings so I can understand more about the projects everyone is working on to get a deeper understanding of the organisation and the changes going on within.”
This answer shows that you are confident to communicate with a new team and have a yearning to become aware of other projects. It outlined a single thing you would find difficult (new culture), but how you would quickly find a solution to overcome it.
Lastly, “Give an example of something you found quite difficult and what you did to find a solution?”
Switching your mindset to the past, you need to go back in time to find a suitable example and explain why you found it difficult. Making it up on the spot doesn't work for everyone and body language can give it away, especially if you're eyeballs are searching every corner of the room for words as you speak.
One example could be:
“We recently updated our software after 7 years of using an older version. I worked with speed on the previous software and found the new version took me time to get used to. My output of work was noticeably a lot slower resulting in a backlog, so I decided to ask my manager if I could enrol on training to get familiar with the new software and learn all the new functions. I was bit hesitant at first in case it came across as being incompetent, however my manager was completely understanding. After all the software update was her idea. The training helped me immensely and now I’m so glad we changed to this version.”
It’s important to be honest about your weaknesses and use them to your advantage in by turning them into a positive attribute. It shows your potential employer that you can adapt easily to changes, environment and yourself.