Advice for Discussing Your Weaknesses in Interviews

Are you prepared to discuss your weaknesses in job interviews?

At Transition Solutions, we have been helping companies and individuals with workforce changes for 30 years.

Tell me about your weaknesses is a dreaded question by some, but still popular with interviewers. As with all interview questions, we coach our clients the key to doing well is to prepare the best response.

Too many candidates do not prepare or practice answers to common interview questions. Thinking through your best response and practicing your delivery could be the difference between receiving an offer or rejection letter.

We coach our clients that if they are asked to share about their weaknesses in an interview, to briefly state a professional skill they have been working on improving. You can share an example or you might want to provide specifics on what you are doing to improve this weakness. Focusing on an area you are aware of and working on shows self-awareness and growth. We also recommend to never discuss a weakness that aligns with the job for which you are interviewing.  
Need help getting started? Here are some examples of potential answers to this question summarized below.  

1.      I focus too much on the details. Example: “My greatest weakness is that I sometimes focus too much on the details of a project and spend too much time analyzing the finer points. I’ve been striving to improve in this area by checking in with myself at regular intervals and giving myself a chance to refocus on the bigger picture. That way, I can still ensure quality, productivity and the team’s ability to meet the deadline.”  

2.      I have trouble saying “no.” Example: “My greatest weakness is that I sometimes have trouble saying ‘no’ to requests and end up taking on more. In the past, this has led me to feel stressed or burnt out. To help myself improve in this area, I use a project management app so I can visualize how much work I have at any given moment and know whether or not I have the bandwidth to take on more.”  

3.      Time Management can be an issue. Example: “I am very detail oriented and have seen myself spend more time on projects than necessary. I have been working on this for a few years now and I have developed systems and processes that work for me. I note deadlines and then determine the time necessary to complete the project. I make sure to confer with colleagues and bosses at the front end to understand expectations and timelines. I use a checklist and phone calendar to keep me on task and on time. Defining a process and sticking to it has been a great help in managing my time.”  

4.      Public Speaking. Example: “I have always wanted to be a better public speaker. I work on it whenever I have the chance, but my day-to-day work and where I thrive is mostly analytical in nature, so there isn’t much opportunity to practice speaking skills while on the job. I can get it done when needed, and I have been getting better with each opportunity, but I would like to see a class or workshop in my future that would help me perfect my oral presentation skills.”  

5.      I sometimes lack confidence. Example: “In the past, I have sometimes struggled with confidence. It has been helpful for me to keep a running document of the impact I have made on my team and at my organization to better understand why I should be confident about the skills and unique talents I bring to the table. I have also made it a point to voice my ideas and opinions during meetings when I feel they are appropriate and will add value to the conversation. Because of this, our team ended up adopting my idea for a new financing process, which resulted in a 10% decrease in time taken to plan our annual budget.”  

6.      I can have trouble asking for help. Example: “Because I am independent and enjoy working quickly, it has been difficult for me to ask for help when I need it. I have learned that it is much more beneficial, both for me and the business, to reach out when I do not understand something or feel burned out with my workload. I also understand that many experts around me have specific knowledge and skills that can make my work better. While I am still working on it, I have been able to produce more high-quality work as a result of getting help from those around me.”  

7.      I prefer to use the term “developmental” area. Example: “My main focus has been to be a more effective communicator throughout my career. I strive to listen more effectively and have been working each year on that. I also focus on my written and verbal communications as the speed of information continues to accelerate. I feel I can always develop more effective skills in this area”  

8.      It can be difficult for me to maintain a healthy work/life balance. Example: “Because I truly love my work and have ambitious career goals, it can be difficult for me to keep a healthy balance between work and my personal life. I have seen a negative impact on my motivation and focus when I ignore my personal needs. As a result, I have made it a point to focus on creating space in my schedule to focus on volunteering and spending time with my family. When I maintain a good work/life balance, I have found my output is more qualitative, I can get more work done and I feel excited about coming to work in the morning.”  

9.      I can sometimes overcommit. Example: “Earlier in my career, I would sometimes over commit. I have always had a strong service orientation, but occasionally would find that I agreed to a task without prioritizing my work. Over the years I have gained experience and time management training that have given me the tools to handle these situations.”

Again, thoughtful preparation for this question and other frequently asked questions is important to setting a positive tone for the interview and hopefully will help you get an offer!

At Transition Solutions, we have been helping companies and individuals with workforce changes for thirty years. Our strong reputation for consistently delivering exceptional service at value sets us apart. If you would like more information on our services please check out our website at https://www.transitionsolutions.com/ or you can contact us directly at 888-424-0003 or email us at info@transitionsolutions.com.

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