How To Explain Your Weaknesses As A Candidate

As a candidate, you need to be ready for any question during a job interview. One topic that most people hope won’t come up is weaknesses. Unfortunately, the chances are that you are going to be asked about your weaknesses. Best to be prepared.  In this post we will be giving you some tips for talking about your weaknesses in an interview, and you’ll learn why employers believe this question is such an important one. 

Why do employers ask about candidate weaknesses?

Employers are looking for examples of how you have handled past problems and turned them around with a solution. They also want to see how prepared you are to handle the situation and any answer from you will give the interviewers an insight into your personality. 

Keep in mind that no employers will expect you to be perfect, they are testing for your reaction. They want to know that you are self-aware enough of areas you can improve on and that you can take criticism and find solutions so that your new strength can help them later.  

Knowing exactly how to handle this type of question the right way gives you the opportunity to ‘promote’ your profile even more.

Asking the weakness question is done in several ways. Below are some samples you should be ready for:

  • What was the most challenging part of your job? 
  • If you could go back and do something differently at work, what would it be?  
  • What is some criticism you’ve got from your colleagues? 
  • What happened the last time you were angry? 
  • What are some decisions that were hard to make? 
  • What plans have you made to overcome your weaknesses? 
  • Give an example of a criticism your boss gave you

How to answer the question?

Candidates naturally want to avoid talking negatively about themselves during the interview. However, we could all agree that everyone has flaws. It’s not that you have them. It’s what you can do about them.

Your reaction: How you react is important, whether you’re looking uncomfortable and worried or if you looked confident and assured, your body language is important. So, delivering your response calmly is what you need to be ready for. 

Choosing your weakness: You want to avoid flaws that would imply that you are unfit for the job role. Selecting weaknesses that are irrelevant to the skills needed for the job will show that it is minor and won’t affect the job. It is also essential to know the job description thoroughly as this will help you choose what weaknesses to talk about.

Be honest: Being upfront and honest about your weakness is the best approach as it can show the employers that you are self-aware. Being clear on what makes you a good candidate as well as your weaknesses, will help eliminate any doubt about you.

Be work-in-progress: The most important thing to keep in mind when talking about your weakness is that you want to show the steps you are taking to overcome these weaknesses.  Make it brief and decisive and avoid sounding defensive.

After you have addressed your weaknesses, let your interviewer know what actions you have already taken to work on your flaws and what other options you are looking at to improve as much as possible.

End with your positives: If employers ask about both your weakness and strength make sure to answer the negative first so that you can end on a positive note. 

Candidate weakness examples

Now you know how to approach the question, let’s talk about choosing which weakness to talk about in your interview.  

If you are unsure about your weakness, then you could take a personality type quiz to find out more about who you are. This will give you a more transparent image on some of your specific strengths and specific weaknesses, and from that, you can choose the one that will have the least impact on the job role. 

Don’t try to brush off this question by telling the interviewer that you are a perfectionist or saying you are a workaholic because those are not flaws. We see right through that.   

Some good examples are:

Delegation of work – Maybe you are worried your coworkers will not be able to reach your expectations, so you tend to take control of everything even though you know that it is faster for work to get done when it is divided up.

Being too blunt or direct – People take criticism differently, it is better to take into account their sensitivity levels and to find a less aggressive way to deliver a message. That could also make the relationship between people better.  

Some more samples of weakness that could be irrelevant to the job roles are: 

  • If it does not include math – Mathematics could be a weakness
  • If it does not involve writing contents – Creative writing could be a weakness
  • If it does not involve a lot of public speaking – speaking to a big crowd could be a weakness

So next time in an interview don’t panic about the weakness question being thrown at you. If it does come up, stay calm and use the tips above to take advantage of the weakness question and impress the interviewers with how well you answered it. 

Remember, by picking out the ‘right’ weakness to talk about, as well as showing how far you have come and how you have improved; you have an opportunity to stand out from the other candidates.