We all hate that dreaded question when it inevitably comes up during a job interview; what would you describe as your weaknesses? What are you supposed to say? I mean, you could be brutally honest about what your weaknesses are. However, you’re only going to be left feeling as if you’re not going to get the job. Or you could go the other way and try to water down your weaknesses in a job interview. You could say something like ‘I work too hard’, which could be true, but is it what the employer wants to hear? In today’s post, we’re going to explore everything you need to know about framing up a weakness in a job interview.
Understanding the Question
Of course, when you’re asked this question, you want the answer you give to increase your chances of being hired, rather than ruining your chances. The most important thing to remember is that you’re being asked the question to see how well you will handle the job you’re applying for.
This is why, before your interview, you’re going to want to sit down and brainstorm to see what limitations and weaknesses you come up with. These could include weaknesses you’ve experienced in past job roles. Or limitations you may see yourself facing in the job role you’re applying for.
“Remember, the hiring manager isn’t going to try and catch you out. If you’re a really decent match for the job, then they could be asking this question to see how they can make you an even better fit into the business and make employing you a better experience for everyone involved” shares Jason Dunwich, a business writer at Write My X and Britstudent.
Before the interview and with your brainstormed ideas, make sure you’re researching the job post thoroughly to ensure the weaknesses you’ve highlighted aren’t essential to the role you’re applying for. For example, if you’re applying to be a receptionist in an office, but you have poor computer or organizational skills, chances are you won’t get the job.
Some Examples of Weaknesses
Okay, let’s take a look at some of the key examples you might want to apply in your own life. Especially in situations when you are asked this question during an interview.
- A lack of experience with software or non-essential skills
- Nervousness or lack of confidence, especially with presenting or public speaking
- Unconfident when taking risks
- Lack of experience with writing skills
- Unconfident when delegating tasks
- Can get stressed when taking on too much responsibility
With these examples, these are all things that may be weaknesses in your professional character. However, they are all things that can be adapted or improved over time. By mentioning them in your interview, adjustments and compromises can be made. This will ensure your entry into the business is seamless, and steps can be taken to get better.
Taking the first example, if you’re moving to new a business, but you understand you don’t know the software they use very well, ask! You may be able to start training before becoming employed. Or you may be able to receive help and guidance. This will allow you to get better, thus addressing your weakness in the interview and ensuring it’s not a problem.
Reframing Your Weaknesses
Another approach you’ll need to think about is reframing your weaknesses and putting them into a positive light. Now that you have gone through the process above and defined what your weaknesses are it’s time to reframe them. You’ll then need to start thinking about how to turn them into a positive thing. Or, maybe how to be more positive in your approach to talk about them.
For example, you can address the weakness by using positive language, or more accurately, avoiding the negative words. Instead of saying ‘I fail at talking to other people’, you could reframe it. ‘While I’m quite shy when talking in front of large groups, it’s something I’m working on.’
“The end of that sentence is the key. You need to make sure you’re actively addressing the fact you’re improving. Even giving examples of how you’ve got better in the past. In this example, you could say something like ‘I’m taking public speaking lessons’. Or ‘I’m proactively seeking out opportunities to get better and get more confident,’” expresses Jane Goodman, a career blogger at 1day2write and Nextcoursework.
While you’ve been speaking about a weakness in an interview, you’ve now turned this into a positive thing that your employer is going to respect.