12 Examples of Weaknesses for Your Job Interview – CV Nation

12 Examples of Weaknesses for Your Job Interview

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The ultimate guide on how to answer ‘what are your weaknesses’ in a job interview, with 12 example answers and everything you need to know about the question.

What are your weaknesses? Most people find this job interview question difficult. How can discuss your flaws and still show interviewers that you’re a good fit for the job?

The truth is you don’t need to be overly worried about this question. By answering the question in the right way and showing the efforts you make to overcome your weaknesses, you will make a positive impression on interviewers.

In this guide, we will tell you everything you need to know to answer questions about your weaknesses. This guide also includes a list of 12 example weaknesses and example answers.

Why Do Interviewers Ask About Your Weaknesses?

Interviewers ask about your weaknesses because they want to know if you have the self-awareness to evaluate your own capabilities.

They also want to find out if your shortcomings would prevent you from performing the job. Additionally, this question helps them determine if you’re capable of improving on your weaknesses.

How to Answer Questions About Your Weaknesses

The key to answering this question is to turn a negative into a positive. By showing how you don’t let your flaws impact your job and by touching on the steps you take to improve on your weaknesses, you’ll make a positive impression on recruiters.

Avoid focusing on weaknesses that would prevent you from performing your job. For example, as a customer service advisor, it would be a bad idea to say your weakness is communication. On the other hand, you should avoid answers like ‘I don’t have any weaknesses’. Answers such as this one may lead interviewers to believe that you don’t have the self-awareness to identify and work on your shortcomings.

12 Example Answers to ‘What Are Your Weaknesses?’

1. I am not very good with technology

This is a good answer for those who are not interviewing for jobs that require proficiency with technology and systems. You certainly wouldn’t want to give this answer if you’re interviewing for a job as a software engineer.

But, for jobs that don’t require proficiency with technology, you can use this answer to demonstrate a genuine weakness, as well as the steps you take to combat the weakness.

Example answer:

‘I am not very good with technology, software and computers. This has never really impacted my work as I rarely come into contact with technology, but I am eager to improve my technology skills. In 2021, I took a course to improve my proficiency with computers and gain skills with popular software packages.’

2. I have trouble saying no

Some people have trouble saying no to their colleagues when they ask for help. While this weakness may actually indicate that you’re determined and helpful, failing to say no can start to have a negative impact on your own work.

If saying no to others is one of your weaknesses, demonstrate the ways in which you organise and manage your own work to ensure it doesn’t become a problem.

Example answer:

‘One of my biggest weaknesses is saying no to people. When working on software development projects, I tend to receive many requests to help with technical issues from multiple departments. While I feel it’s good to help others, this can have a negative impact on my ability to meet my own deadlines.

In order to combat this weakness, I have recently started using a new piece of software that helps me organise my schedule and learn if I am on track to meet my deadlines. This has helped me determine if I can help my colleagues or I should say no.’

3. I find it hard to switch off from work

Many people take their work home with them and find it hard to switch off from their job. This can have a negative effect as it can cause stress.

If you find it hard to switch off from work, show the steps you are taking to combat this. For example, have you stopped checking your emails at night-time?

Example answer:

‘I sometimes find it hard to switch off from work. In my previous job, I often took my work home with me. I regularly checked my emails and attempted to solve problems for clients while off the clock.

This caused me to be stressed out and tired. In order to combat this weakness, I decided to turn my phone off and not look at my emails while out of the office.’

4. I am not very good at public speaking

Public speaking is a weakness for many people. Some people just aren’t comfortable communicating with large audiences.

If public speaking is a weakness for you, touch on the steps you have taken to improve on this weakness. For example, have you practised speaking in front of smaller groups? Have you joined a public speaking club?

Of course, it wouldn’t be wise to describe public speaking as a weakness if it is a big part of the job you’re interviewing for. For example, if you’re a teacher it wouldn’t be a good idea to state that public speaking is your weakness.

Example answer:

‘I am very shy when it comes to public speaking. Although this hasn’t had a negative impact on my job, there have been times when I have had to speak publicly and felt very uncomfortable about it.

In response to identifying this weakness, I joined a public speaking group. Over the last few months, I have been practising public speaking and learning to use various beneficial techniques.’

5. I get frustrated if deadlines are missed

This is a good answer to questions about your weaknesses because it shows that you care about deadlines.

When using this answer to describe your weaknesses, show how deadlines are important to you. State how you make efforts to ensure projects don’t go over deadlines.

Example answer:

‘One of my biggest weaknesses is getting frustrated and irritated if tasks and projects miss deadlines. I try to ensure all projects achieve their objectives and are completed within timescales; if this doesn’t happen, I can become demoralised. In recent months, I have taken steps to ensure projects don’t go over deadlines. These include organising my work in a daily planner. I have also tried to improve my productivity by prioritising daily tasks.’

6. I am too critical of myself

Some people are too critical of their own performance. The ability to evaluate your work and determine your improvement areas is a positive quality, but if you’re being overly critical you could damage your self-esteem.

Example answer:

‘Sometimes I can be far too critical of myself. After completing projects, I spend a lot of time deliberating about what could have been improved and where I went wrong. In most cases, I have actually performed to very high standards, so I am unfairly punishing myself. In recent months, I have tried to focus less on self-analysis and more on the opinion of my supervisor.’

7. I attempt to please everyone

Being too much of a people pleaser isn’t always a weakness. But if you try to people-please too much you may start to appreciate yourself less and lose confidence in yourself.

If you intend to describe this as one of your weaknesses in your job interview, be sure to say what steps you’re taking to combat it.

Example answer:

'I try to please everyone too much and lean on other people’s approval. When I worked on a project to implement new processes across all internal departments, I was taking suggestions from multiple sources that contradicted each other. At first, I went along with all suggestions. However, to combat my desire to please all people, I told myself that I do have a choice about being a people pleaser. I forced myself to say no with conviction. I was commended by Senior Management for the success of the project and in recent times I have noticed I have become less of a people pleaser.'

8. I am not as experienced as some of my colleagues

If you have no experience at all in the type of work you’re interviewing for, it would be a good idea not to draw attention to it as a weakness. If you do have some experience but still feel you are lacking, it could be a weakness to speak about in your job interview.

Example answer:

'The fact that I only have only one years’ experience could be seen as a weakness. Some of my colleagues in my last job had over 20 years’ experience, so I understand I am still learning the role of sales assistant. However, I have never found myself feeling unqualified. In fact, I believe my enthusiasm and willingness to learn makes up for my inexperience. During the last three months, I have undertaken numerous sales courses at my own expense in order to optimise my sales skills.'

9. I sometimes focus too much on the details

Focusing on the details if usually a good thing. People who are detail-oriented tend to make less mistakes and achieve higher levels of quality. However, concentrating on the details too much can take your eyes of the big picture.

Example answer:

‘When heading projects, I sometimes focus too much on the small details. This takes my focus off the big picture and leads to me failing to observe the overall direction of projects. To combat this, I introduced daily meetings with project teams, where we discuss the overall progress of projects. This has helped me to find a balance between focusing on small details and the big picture.’

10. I don’t like confrontation

For those in leadership positions, or those seeking to move into leadership positions, confrontation can be a regular occurrence. Situations like negotiations and disciplinary procedures often involve confrontation. So, if you’re not very good confrontation, it could be considered a weakness.

If confrontation is a weakness for you, explain the steps you take to improve on it. For example, do you make efforts to improve your confidence? Have you learned to keep emotions out of confrontations?

Example answer:

'I don’t like confrontation. It makes me feel nervous and stressed. As someone who has leadership aspirations, I see this as a significant weakness. In my current role I have no leadership responsibilities, so it doesn’t have a negative impact on my performance. However, I do intend to progress to a managerial role.

For this reason, I have been working with a friend who has been teaching me skills to improve my ability to take part in confrontations. So far, I have learned to keep emotions out of confrontations. I will continue to work on this weakness and learn other techniques that can prevent it from hindering my career development.’

11. I take on too much work

If you take on too much work, you will likely become bogged down and your performance levels will drop. As such, it can become a significant weakness.

If taking on too much work is a weakness for you, touch on the steps you are taking to overcome the weakness. Are you learning to say no more often? Are you becoming more efficient to enable you to take on more work?

Example answer:

'Sometimes I take on too much work by accepting workloads from other departments. This leads to me getting bogged down and underperforming in my own work. In order to combat this, I have started to organise my workload in a diary. I also use a scheduling system that informs me exactly how much work I am able to take on.'

12. I am not effective at leading people

This may seem like a weakness that you should not mention in a job interview. After all, don’t companies want to employ good leaders?

The truth is, we can’t all be great at people management. Some of us simply aren’t effective at leading teams, and that’s absolutely fine. If you don’t have good people management skills, explaining that this is a weakness will show interviewers that you are capable of evaluating your own skill set and determining what you are best at.

Of course, you wouldn’t be advised to describe people management as your weakness if you’re interviewing for a job that involved people management.

Example answer:

'I am not effective at leading teams. I have worked in sales for over 15 years, and many of my colleagues are surprised that I have never advanced to more senior roles. I believe I lack the people management skills required to lead teams. However, in recent years, I have taken steps to improve my leadership skills. In November 2021, I undertook a leadership course, which improved my ability to lead my own projects.'

What Not to Say When Asked About Your Weaknesses
Don’t Deny That You Have Any Weaknesses

Everyone has some form of weaknesses. You won’t gain any advantage by telling the interviewer that you don’t have any.

Questions about weaknesses aren’t designed to determine that you don’t have any weaknesses. They’re designed to see if you can self-assess your skill set and overcome your shortcomings. As such, you should focus on how you overcome them and not let them affect your work,

Don’t Describe a Weakness That Would Prevent You from Doing Your Job

While you should always be honest and describe a genuine weakness when answering this question, you should avoid talking about a weakness that would prevent you from performing your everyday tasks.

For example, if you’re interviewing for a job as a manager, it would not be a good idea to explain that your weakness is managing people.

Instead focus on weaknesses that you can work with and overcome, as demonstrated in the weakness examples in this guide.

Don’t Try to Be Perfect

No one is perfect. We all have our own flaws. Interviewers know this, so don’t try to use your answer come across as flawless.

Questions about weaknesses are not designed to determine if you’re perfect. Interviewers ask about your weaknesses to see how you respond and if you have the self-awareness to identify your weaknesses and improve on them.

Answers like ‘I work too hard’ or ‘I am too knowledgeable’ will do you no favours at all. Instead, turn your weaknesses into positives by showing how you overcome them.

We hope you have found this question to interview questions about weaknesses helpful.

If you’re planning on pursuing jobs, you will need to equip yourself with an effective CV. View our ultimate guide on how to write a CV and use our free tips to ensure your CV makes a powerful impact.

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