One of the toughest questions interviewers ask is, “Tell me about your weaknesses.” The question itself is simple enough, but there’s a fine line job seekers need to walk. You must be able to give a meaningful answer without making yourself appear unqualified for the role. It’s nerve-racking even for the most experienced professionals.
The irony is most interviewers are more interested in how you answer the question than the answer itself: they are looking to see how well you know yourself and how aware you are of any limitations you may have. So, what can you do to prepare for your next interview?
Here are three ways you can prepare yourself to talk about your weaknesses during your next interview:
1. Discuss Attributes that are not Necessary to Successfully Perform the Job
Before your interview, review the job description to see what skills the hiring manager needs for the role. When you choose a weakness to address during your interview, make sure it’s not essential to the role itself.
For example, if you are interviewing for a customer service role, don’t state that your people skills are lacking; you will hurt your chances of getting hired by doing this. Instead, choose a weakness that is work-related but is also a skill you will not need.
2. How You Have Grown From Your Weaknesses?
Remember, employers are looking for self-awareness when they ask about your weaknesses. Stating a weakness and moving on misses the point of the question.
It is important to demonstrate how you have grown from that weakness in the past.
A well-rounded answer will answer these three questions:
- What issue was caused by your weakness?
- What action did you take to overcome the weakness?
- What was the result of the action you took?
Following this structure will allow the interviewer to see and understand how you overcame your weakness.
3. Stay Positive
Choose positive language when you are describing your weakness. Do not use negative terminology that suggests failure. An example would be saying you were motivated to improve, rather than saying a situation got the best of you.
If you use positive language to focus more on how you overcame the weakness rather than focusing on the shortcoming itself, the interviewer will see how you have grown from the weakness. As a bonus, it also gives your interviewer insight into how you handle setbacks and adversity.
Learning how to successfully describe your weaknesses in an interview can be a challenging task, but it’s not impossible to do. These three tips will help you successfully navigate speaking about your weaknesses and bring you one step closer to securing that job offer.