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How to answer the dreaded ‘What are your weaknesses’ question

Do you have an interview coming up? Here is how to answer the dreaded ‘what are your weaknesses’ question in an interview.

I focus too much on the details

If you are detail-oriented this is typically a positive skill. However, if you spend too much time on specific details when you are working on a project this can also be seen as a weakness. By saying this is one of your weaknesses, you are showing the hiring manager that you can help the company avoid minor mistakes.

Example: “One of my greatest weaknesses is that sometimes I can focus too much on the details of a project. I have been improving this by monitoring how long I spend time on a task and this has helped me re-focus on the overall project instead of every single detail. That way, I can still make sure I deliver high-quality projects and stick to deadlines”.

I have a hard time letting go of a project

Some people are natural perfectionists, which results in lots of changes as they want everything to be absolutely perfect. The problem with this is that it can have an impact on deadlines if last-minute changes are being made. If this is your weakness, show the hiring manager that you are trying to improve this weakness by giving yourself a deadline for all tasks.

Example: “My biggest weakness is that I find it hard to let go of projects. I am the biggest critic of my own work, and I can always find something that needs to be changed. To help improve this area, I give myself deadlines for revisions and avoid any last-minute changes if I can help it”.

I have trouble saying no

From an employer’s perspective, someone who is always willing to help is great. However, this can be a weakness if you end up submitting your work late and missing crucial deadlines. Share how you are setting realistic boundaries in how much time you can spare and your workload.

Example: “My greatest weakness is that sometimes I have trouble saying no to requests and end up taking on more than I can handle. To help me stick to a manageable workload, I now use a project management app so I can see how much work I have on and understand when I do have the time to help others without disrupting other tasks”.

I could use more experience in…

Every person has something they could improve on or gain more experience in. Sharing that you want to gain more experience in a relevant skill shows the hiring manager that you are willing to develop your current skills and learn new things. However, make sure you do not answer this question with a weakness that is vital to the role.

Example: “I am looking to get more experience in (select skill). In order to improve my experience and knowledge I will be completing online courses to help me develop my skills in this area”.

I sometimes have trouble asking for help

Whilst you might want to solve problems at work on your own, it can be your weakness. Being able to work independently is a positive quality for many jobs. However, it is important to know when to ask for help to make sure all tasks are completed on time. If you are using this as your weakness, explain that you understand asking for help is a good idea and how you are trying to get better at it.

Example: “As I am independent and I enjoy figuring out solutions myself, I sometimes struggle asking for help when I need it. I understand that at any workplace there are colleagues that have their particular strength and specific knowledge that I can learn from. I am still working on this weakness but I have learnt that asking for help can produce better work in a more time-efficient way”.

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