What are good weaknesses for a job interview?

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Admitting weaknesses to someone you hope will give you a job can seem counterintuitive, but answering this question strongly and honestly can take you from being a good applicant to a great one. Answer badly and you could scupper the whole interview. “What is your biggest weakness?” It’s one of the most common interview questions and it can derail even the best candidates. 

What are the best weaknesses to mention in a job interview and how should you frame your response? Read on to find out.

Why it is important to admit weaknesses in an interview

Your qualifications and experience speak for themselves, but they say little or nothing about your personality. Admitting that you have weaknesses, demonstrates honesty and self-awareness. It also indicates that you’re open to analysing and improving your performance, and it helps the interviewer to establish whether or not you’d be a good cultural fit. 

Don’t insist that you have any weaknesses, at best, you’ll come across as naive, at worst arrogant and deluded.

How to choose your “best” weaknesses

Owning up to weaknesses is important, but remember you’re still in an interview. This isn’t the time to confess your deep-seated dislike for authority figures. 

When it comes to choosing good weaknesses for a job interview, frame them as behaviours, which can be changed with a little focus and effort, rather than ingrained personality traits. To help you pick your “best” weaknesses, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Could it seriously hinder your ability to do the job? If so, don’t mention it.
  • Does it have a positive message? Have you overcome it?
  • Can you present an example that shows your progression?
  • Is it a “fake” weakness (i.e. a strength in disguise)? If so, don’t expect your interviewer to buy it.
  • Is it relevant? Don’t say “I can’t speak French” if you’ve never needed to in a professional capacity, and wouldn’t be expected to in your new role.

How to choose your “best” weaknesses

Owning up to weaknesses is important, but remember you’re still in an interview. This isn’t the time to confess your deep-seated dislike for authority figures. 

When it comes to choosing good weaknesses for a job interview, frame them as behaviours, which can be changed with a little focus and effort, rather than ingrained personality traits. To help you pick your “best” weaknesses, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Could it seriously hinder your ability to do the job? If so, don’t mention it.
  • Does it have a positive message? Have you overcome it?
  • Can you present an example that shows your progression?
  • Is it a “fake” weakness (i.e. a strength in disguise)? If so, don’t expect your interviewer to buy it.
  • Is it relevant? Don’t say “I can’t speak French” if you’ve never needed to in a professional capacity, and wouldn’t be expected to in your new role.