How To Answer Questions About Your Weaknesses
Interviews can be unpredictable. Even if you are taking questions in your stride, just wait until the interviewer asks you what your greatest weakness is. Can you answer it? Make sure you have considered the following, a great resource in difficult interview questions.
There are plenty of tips and tricks around to help you prepare for interviews, but that one question still scares jobseekers.
In the IT industry, with so many different roles and skills, it can be hard to prepare for what kind of daunting questions you may be asked. However, interview questions like this seem to be sticking around no matter what.
Why do interviewers still ask this question?
It’s clichéd, right?
So why are so many companies still asking this old-fashioned question in their interview process? Even though it’s clear that 99.9% of the answers given aren’t honest.
- It shows that you can analyse and critique your own abilities and see where your strengths and weaknesses lie.
- It allows companies to see if you have any traits that may not be suitable to the job role you are interviewing for.
- Companies can see how well you have prepared for the interview.
- It shows how well you can deal with a situation that is designed to throw you off and how you cope with pressure.
What to do when you are asked about your weaknesses
So, when the bomb is dropped on you remember it’s not about WHAT your answer is, but HOW you answer the question.
- Use a stereotypical answer that shows the interviewer nothing. “I’m too much of a perfectionist” and “I care too much about my work” are answers your interviewer has heard hundreds of times before. They will see right through this, so you need to be much more imaginative.
- Refuse to answer the question. You aren’t perfect. None of us are. Refusing to answer this question isn’t going to make your interviewer believe you are Superman or Superwoman; all it will do is prove you are incapable of all the points above.
- Contradict your research. It is important to be truthful and come up with a genuine weakness of yours. It would be stupid if the weakness you revealed was one of the essential skills for the job. If the job requires you to be highly organised, saying that you can be a scatter-brain is going to knock you out of the running. Do your research on the job role and ensure the weakness you highlight isn’t going to hinder your chances. Be honest, but not TOO honest.
- Have more than one weakness available. Not every company is going to ask the question in the same way. Some may ask you for one weakness, some may ask for three. Or, they may ask what you have overcome in the last 12 months. You need to be prepared to talk about a few examples.
- Tailor it to the role but make it fixable. The weakness that you choose to discuss needs to fit in with the requirements of the role. However, you need to make sure that the issue you choose is a fixable one. It won’t stand you well to highlight something that you are unable to work on.
- Present the weakness then show how you are working to improve on it. It’s all well and good showing that you can self-assess and highlight your weakness, but your interviewer will want to see how you plan to improve on this. Demonstrate your determination to improve yourself and your ability to solve problems.
How to describe your weaknesses – an example:
“I would have to say that one of my greatest weaknesses would be that I have found in difficult in the past to delegate duties to other people. This is due to the fact that I always felt that I could manage all projects by myself and preferred that they were under my control so I could ensure that everything was taken care of smoothly. However, this resulted in much frustration and stress on my behalf.
I soon realised that I needed to share the workload with others to make sure that all deadlines were met and learned how valuable my team member’s perspective could be. I have learned to trust more with work and passed on projects to other people to manage. This has allowed me and my previous teams to achieve some great things and working together improved our work massively.”
It can always be tricky to highlight your weaknesses, especially when you are in a situation that is based solely around selling yourself. It feels alien to us, but with a well thought out answer and good delivery, it could be the question that secures your dream role.
What do you say when you are asked this question? Add a comment below.