“Tell me about your weaknesses” is the dreaded interview question that candidates hate or fear to be asked, but interviewers love to ask!
Asking candidates during an interview what they would class as their weaknesses, is a popular question with all companies looking to recruit these days, the question is aimed to find out how candidates can turn a negative trait into a positive trait.
Why do interviewers ask this question?
The question is not designed to be a trick question, but more for a potential employer to know and understand what help and guidance you would need if successful in getting the role.
Interviewers will ask candidates these questions as they are looking to see what level of self-awareness the candidate has and how honest they are about themselves and knowing their areas to improve, and what a candidate has already done to improve on their weaknesses throughout their career.
Common mistakes when answering ‘What are your weaknesses?’
Some candidates are thrown when they are asked this question and feel that giving an answer that is seen as negative will go against them, however, the worst answer that a candidate can give is saying they do not have any weaknesses. We all know that this is not true, no one is perfect or superhuman and everyone, no matter what they do have their strengths and their weaknesses, this is what makes us all different, after all the world would be a boring place if everyone was the same.
How to answer this question well
A shy and nervous person would find it hard to speak up to talk about their positives and their strengths, let alone to talk about their weaknesses, however, it is important that candidates understand how to answer this question and know that as long as you can say what you can do to overcome these weaknesses, it is ok to admit we all have them!
Top 6 weaknesses declared in interviews
- Finding it hard to ask for help
- Lack of confidence in self
- Pay too much attention to detail
- Find keeping a work/life balance hard
- Get stressed if do not hit deadlines
- Struggle to say no to people
Best ways to answer why you have one of the top 6 weaknesses
Find it hard to ask for help
I take pride in figuring out solutions myself and like to be independent with tasks that I have been set, sometimes I struggle to accept I need help and to ask for help and support. I am learning though that I do not have all the answers and sometimes it is in the best interest for everyone to draw upon the skills and expertise of others.
Lack of confidence in self
Sometimes I lack confidence in myself and my knowledge and ability, I, therefore, become too shy to speak up in large groups of people, even when I think I have a good idea, I fear others will not think the same and therefore keep it to myself. I am trying to work on this and overcome my fear, I do this by telling myself there is no such thing as asking a bad question, and use that context when putting forward ideas.
Pay too much attention to detail
This can be both my strength and weakness, as I have an eye for detail, this is good when people need things checking and double-checking, but I also know that I can get on others’ nerves when I pay attention to everything when not necessary. I am learning to focus on when to pick up on things and when to leave them.
Find keeping a work/life balance hard
I love my job and sometimes find it hard to switch off at times to have a work/life balance. However, I have now learnt that this has an impact on my health and I set myself boundaries to ensure I enjoy the best of both worlds, ensuring my work performance does not suffer.
Get stressed if do not hit deadlines
I get stressed when projects I work on go past the deadline, I take pride in being a punctual person and apply this to every aspect of what I do. I am trying to accept now that sometimes things do happen, out of my control and therefore there is no point being stressed and worked up over something not in my control.
Struggle to say no to people
I like to be able to please people and help out where I can, I struggle to say no to people when they ask me if I can do something as I like to help out, even if I already have too much to do myself. I see it as a negative if I say no, where I need to accept at times I cannot do everything and I should let others help out too.
Most common ways to phrase this question
- Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses
- Tell me what things you need to improve on?
- If I was to ask a previous employer what your weaknesses were, what would they say?
- What would you consider to be your technical strengths and weaknesses?