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Interview Tips: How To Answer “What Are Your Greatest Weaknesses?"

You’re interviewing for your dream job and everything is going well until the interviewer asks you what your weaknesses are. You panic, scared that revealing a true weakness will lessen the interviewer’s opinion of you and more importantly give them reason not to hire you. While some answers can damage your chances of getting the role, others can improve it by demonstrating your sincerity, self-awareness and willingness to grow as a professional. Next time you’re asked about your weaknesses in an interview, stay calm and follow these tips to ensure you leave a good impression.

  1. Be honest, but don’t mention skills essential to the job you’re applying for. Honesty is the best policy and demonstrates your authenticity; but, be selective of what you say. If you’re applying for a web developer role where JavaScript is an essential skill, don’t say that you don’t know how to use JavaScript, revealing this will ruin any chance you have of getting that job. Instead, mention a true but non-essential skill to the job, for example social media. The employers will appreciate your straightforwardness and won’t care because you are not being hired to look after the organisation’s social media accounts.

  1. Talk about skills that can be learned or improved. Telling your interviewer that you struggle with delegation or using Photoshop is alright (providing they are not key requirements of the job). They are both skills that can be addressed through learning and development. Personal weaknesses such as patience and teamwork skills are ingrained in your personality and difficult to change, and therefore may be seen as ‘deal breakers’, so avoid mentioning these as weaknesses.  

  1. Talk about a weakness that you know how to improve. If you struggle with time-management, you can talk about how you would set personal goals and use calendars to overcome the issue in the particular workplace you are interviewing for. If you have overcome a previous weakness, you can also mention this and the steps you took to overcome it. This will demonstrate your problem-solving skills and commitment to self-improvement to the interviewer.

 

  1. Don’t be insincere and say something like ‘my perfectionism’ or ‘I work too hard’. No one is perfect and employers know that so it is best to be as authentic and truthful as possible. Saying something cliché like this just makes you sound arrogant and won’t get you any bonus points, in fact, the interviewers may ask another similar question to try get an honest answer out of you.

 

  1. Only talk about professional weaknesses. Telling your future employer that you rarely make your bed is completely irrelevant and doesn’t demonstrate any work-related skills.

  1. Don’t sound over rehearsed. While it is important to prepare for this question, it’s also important to make sure that you don’t sound like you are reading a script. Sounding over prepared takes away from the authenticity of what you are saying and may prompt the interviewer to ask another similar question to try catch you off guard.

While revealing your weaknesses in a job interview won’t make your interview, it can certainly break it. Therefore, it is important to ensure that prior to your interview you have a good idea of what you will say if you are asked this question. This means identifying your strengths and weaknesses; working out strategies to improve your weaknesses; being able to articulate these; and finally, having the confidence to tell the interviewer all this.

If you are lacking technical IT related skills and believe that these may be hindering your job hunt, email us at help@itfutures.edu.au to find out how we can help you.