Telling a potential employer about your faults is not ideal; we want them to see the best side of us and come across as a perfect employee in every way. But that question always seems to come up in interviews – “what are your weaknesses?”
It can be a difficult one to answer – especially because employers want honesty! They want to know the real you, and hear you explain your pain points and what you need to work on, so they can decide if you’re a good fit. So, without further ado, here are some good options for what you can respond. (Note: don’t just pick a random response – pick something that you actually consider a weakness, and which also applies to the job you’re interested in!)
“I sometimes struggle with confidence in my abilities.”
Maybe you occasionally feel inadequate compared to others in your field or keep quiet during meetings because you feel like others may know more than you. You can let potential employers know that while you sometimes don’t feel as big an achiever as your coworkers, you just need to remind yourself that you have just as much ability as the rest of them as well as the knowledge and skills necessary for success in your role.
“I focus too much on the details."
Being detail-oriented is a great trait to have in many roles – but if it comes at the cost of ignoring the big picture or spending too much time on things that aren’t high priority, it can be detrimental. Let your potential employer know that you’re working to improve this in yourself by having regular check-ins to refocus on the bigger picture, making sure your details aren’t affecting your productivity.
“I might need more experience in…”
Letting your interviewer know that you’re constantly working on improving yourself is a good thing! Let them know that you’d like more experience in something like delegating tasks, working with a particular software, or leading a team – just make sure the weakness you pick isn’t one that’s detrimental to the job.
“I get uncomfortable with ambiguous instructions.”
A lot of the time, employees must determine how to solve problems and define tasks by themselves, without detailed instructions – but that’s something many people struggle with. If you’re more comfortable following carefully laid instructions, it may be something you need to work on. Let your interviewer know that you’re working towards finding comfort with solving things on your own.
“Sometimes I struggle with setting realistic expectations.”
You may find that you constantly say “yes” to others when they ask for things at work – “Can you get this project done faster?” “Can you help me with some extra tasks?” But this can cause issues – you may start missing promised deadlines due to taking on too much work, or start overworking and forgoing important time off, leading to stress and burnout. Setting realistic expectations with others – like letting your boss know that a project needs some extra time, or letting your coworkers know that you don’t have time to take on extra work right now – can be a great trait to have in the workplace. Many people struggle with this, however, so let your potential employer know that it has been difficult for you in the past, but you’re working on setting more boundaries to ensure that your work is high-quality.
“I sometimes find it difficult to work with specific types of personalities.”
Maybe you’re someone on the quieter side, who tends to fall quiet when more boisterous personalities give their opinions on certain topics – or maybe you become easily frustrated with people who don’t speak up very often. It’s normal to struggle with connecting with every single coworker you meet! Let your interviewer know that while you’ve struggled to work with specific personalities in the past, you’ve learned to implement new strategies within your teams to make sure everyone is using their strengths.
“I need to communicate with my team more.”
Some people end up powering through tasks with their head down – focusing on work rather than teamwork. While this can work for solo projects, collaboration is very necessary in most instances to make sure everyone is on the same page. If you struggle with connecting with your team and forgoing communication, let your employer know. Maybe you’ve learned to implement daily check-ins with your team or set up a weekly lunch to go over important topics.
For any of your weaknesses, it’s important to also provide a way that you’re working on bettering yourself and creating ways to turn your weaknesses into strengths. Good luck!