‘What is your greatest weakness?’ is sometimes asked as ‘What area could you most improve upon?’. This job interview question strikes fear into most applicants. Be prepared for this one and give yourself an edge over the competition.

Understanding WHY it’s asked and you’re halfway there – it’s asked not only to determine where you think you can improve, but also to assess your honesty, and your ability to self-assess. We ALL have weaknesses, so be honest, give a real example and illustrate how you’ve learned from the experience, how you manage the weakness now, and how you’ve turned it into a strength. Or, look at your weakness as a negative trait, and reposition it as a positive attribute.

What to say and what not to say:

In answering this question, you can mention traits that are not essential to the job position you are applying for. For example, if you are applying as a physical therapist, you can say that you are not so proficient in public speaking or giving report presentations. This way, the weaknesses you mentioned will not affect your ability to perform the job post.

Think of a positive trait you have and mention a possible negative effect it can have on your work. Just give a subtle drawback and DO NOT mention anything drastic that might cast doubt to the interviewer on hiring you for the position. One good example is being a perfectionist. This is a positive trait but can also mean that it takes too long for you to finish tasks.

Listed below are more examples on how you can answer ‘What is your greatest weakness?’

From indeed.com:

“I’m not familiar with the latest version of [insert name of non-critical software]. Instead, I’ve focused on [insert name of preferred software] because user-centric design has become a strong passion of mine. In my last few jobs, that’s where I’ve spent time learning and growing.”

From thebalancecareers.com:

“Sometimes, I spend more time than necessary on a task or take on tasks personally that could easily be delegated to someone else. Although I’ve never missed a deadline, it is still an effort for me to know when to move on to the next task, and to be confident when assigning others work. In my recent position, I implemented a project management tool that allowed me to easily oversee the progress of all the tasks I assigned, which helped me feel much more comfortable delegating work.”

Read here for more Job Interview Questions and Answers.

(updated 2021)

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