It’s your interview tomorrow, and you are feeling excited and edgy at the same time as you are afraid of facing the weakness interview question. Well, don’t be nervous! To get a confidence boost and crack the interview, instead of feeling nervous, you need to prepare for the big day and what is your weakness answer properly.
While you can’t prepare every question that an interviewer may ask, you can predict some common questions and get ready to answer them. One of such questions is:
“What is your weakness?”
In the what is your weakness answer you must not say-
- I am too much concerned about my work.
- I am a perfectionist.
- I work too hard.
These answers will undoubtedly give a good glimpse of a complete lack of self-awareness, dishonesty, and an incredible ego.
Alternatively, you can’t answer your real weakness as it may pull you a step back from succeeding in the role.
For instance, if you have applied for the “Branch Manager” profile, you can’t honestly answer, “I am not good at time management.”
So, what can be the savior in such a situation?
Here we have a guide for you on “what to do” and “what not to do” while giving your weakness answer.
But before we jump into tackling this tricky question, let’s first figure out why interviewers ask weakness interview question when they know that candidates don’t answer honestly.
The Interviewer is looking for four key characteristics
- Self-awareness – Whether you have a sound level of self-awareness.
- Honesty – Whether you are honest about your weakness.
- Self-improvement – Whether you are open to growth opportunities and self-improvement so that your shortcomings may not hold you back.
- Confidence – Interviewers know it is not easy to have ‘what is your weakness’ answer, even if they ask it to check how confidently you can perform under pressure.
Now that you know why a hiring manager asks the weakness interview question and what not to do when responding to it, let’s look at what you need to do to impress the interviewer.
Ideally, what is your weakness answer has two vital parts:
1. Your weakness – Name your weakness, but keep a few rules in mind.
Don’t name a weakness related to how you get along with management or how you treat your colleagues. These aren’t the ‘what is your weakness’ answers.
For instance, don’t say you have trouble communicating, trouble following feedback, trouble agreeing with others.
I will advise you to pick something based on your “HARD SKILLS” not “SOFT SKILLS” to play it safer.
2. Your recovery plan – discuss your proactive efforts to overcome your weakness.
Having named your real weakness, you must talk about how you are stopping your shortcoming from being a hinder of your way or your action plan to prevent the issue from affecting your overall work. It will show that you are self-aware and already open for self-improvement, and your weakness will not slow you down in your job.
For instance, when you list down your weaknesses, come up with those you have worked to overcome.
I have put the sample answers of “RIGHT” and “WRONG” below to show you the real picture of how it will sound in the interview.
Don’t deny it! Remember, no one is perfect! The ideal candidates never deny that they have a weakness; instead, they name a weakness that may not interfere with the duties of the job they have applied.
My biggest weakness is my incapability to work with a team, which is why I decided to become an accountant so that I may spend most of my time alone.
Often, candidates just freeze on the weakness interview question. They panic, get nervous, and simply say that they don’t have any. Denial is one of the worst mistakes that can mar your overall effort of impressing the interviewer.
Weakness? No, I don’t have any. I have good years of experience that makes me a perfect candidate for the job role.
Don’t lie! The ideal candidates don’t lie about their weaknesses. So, you had better name your real weakness, and then talk about your strategies to stop it.
Sometimes, I fail to gauge how long I may take to complete a task. Often, I underestimate the time a task will take to be done. The result is that I have to rush to get things done and miss deadlines. To overcome this issue, I am taking a time management course.
Don’t play smart! Most of the candidates disguise their strength as a weakness. Don’t do so. Be real.
- I am a workaholic.
- I am a perfectionist. I keep everything in place and perfect.
- I am obsessive about the organization I work for.
These are the super annoying “what is your weakness” answers.
An essential part of what is your weakness answer is showing a sign of self-improvement. So, don’t miss to talk about the steps you are taking to overcome your weakness.
I had weak spots for software like Java, Ruby, and CSS. I have studied these programming languages in school. So, I know the basics, but I didn’t get a chance to practice them; hence I don’t have working hands-on with them. I am planning to brush it up to broaden my skill set, even if these programming languages are not needed to excel at the role I have applied for, it thinks it will help me into the other areas that I use more in my personal and professional life.
Don’t play the mercy card! I mean, don’t discuss your childhood traumas or your biggest weakness of all time, and then expect mercy in return.
I met an accident a decade back, which broke my limbs or which gave me a phobia. Since then, I have never been the same. I don’t know what to do about it.
It matters less what do you answer, what matters more is how do you answer. So, be sure whatever you answer, it should be clear and confident.
Yes, I have a couple of weaknesses, and I am working on them. I have already won half the battle, and the rest I will win in the upcoming time.
One of the worst mistakes you can make in an interview is to let the interviewer know you are not confident about your skills.
Some candidates hear the weakness question and lose their confidence. They give unstable replies or speak broken sentences. Don’t lose your confidence, remember there’s no right or wrong ‘what is your weakness’ answer, keep your calm and answer without much stutter or hesitation.
What if you don’t know what are your weaknesses?
If you are unsure about your weakness, it is not because you are perfect, but it is tricky to think about your weaknesses.
If you are struggling to come up with your shortcomings, select one or a few the list below.
11. Fast & Frank
Take this list as a starting point of what is your weakness answer. List down all your feasible weaknesses. Put down everything, big or small. Then, evaluate each of them by the criteria below.
- Is my list of weaknesses relevant to the role I have applied for?
- Is it a weakness that I can overcome?
- Am I taking steps to work on it?
If your selected weakness passes these criteria, it is good to go ahead.
Different ways of asking the weakness interview question
Here are a few of the other ways your hiring manager may ask “what is your weakness” question:
- What are your weakest areas?
- Share about a time you failed.
- What is your weakest skill?
- What would your current co-workers and employer point out as your weakest area?
- Which of your current duties do you struggle with the most or find the most challenging?
- What is the biggest regret you will have on resigning from your current job?
- Describe a time when you brought disgrace to your team?
Helpful tips to remember for “what is your weakness?” answers.
- Stay positive.
- Be prepared.
- Stay honest
- Answer truthfully.
- Include specific details.
- Be confident.
- Don’t be arrogant, and don’t underestimate yourself.
- Select a real weakness that may not pull you back from succeeding in the role.
- Give an example of how you have worked to combat the issue.
The ultimate what is your weakness answer is: “YOUR WEAKNESS NAME” & “YOUR RECOVERY PLAN”.
Learning online has become more relevant today than ever before. If you’re interested in learning online, you can get a course and start your journey today. Checkout upGrad’s top courses in Data Science, Machine Learning, Digital Marketing, MBA & Full Stack Development.