Being asked to name one of your weaknesses is a common interview question that doesn’t need to trip you up. Nobody is perfect, and interviewers know it, but the question is asked for a few reasons: To see how you perform under pressure (this is a tough question after all), to see that you’re introspective, and to see that you are committed to personal growth.

When answering the weakness question, be sure to follow up with how you’ve chosen to manage the weakness.  For example, you could say that you have trouble delegating work, but are learning that by delegating certain tasks you are able to do a better job of managing your responsibilities. Or that you are not a confident public speaker and dread presentations, but that you have enrolled in Toastmasters to overcome your fear, or that your Excel skills are weak, but that you’ve enrolled in a course. These responses show that you’re proactive and that you can identify a problem and take action to remedy it.

Try to pick a modest weakness that won’t disqualify you from the job. If you’re applying for a customer service role, don’t say that you’re not a people person. Also, don’t be cliché;  your interviewer’s heard the “workaholic” or “perfectionist” response, and few people can use these and sound sincere.

Some chose to use a weakness that can also be seen as a strength, for example your strength could be that you can remove yourself from the emotion of a decision and can decide quickly, the weakness is that you decide quickly when maybe the whole team hasn’t yet arrived at the same conclusion.

Remember, honesty is always the best policy, so do a little soul searching prior to your interview to come up with a weakness that is true for you. Chances are you will be asked this question; it’s a staple in HR’s interview repertoire so be prepared and good luck!



Melanie Benwell is the Managing Director of PathWorks Personnel and sometimes blogger.  Check out her Facebook page and follow her on Twitter.



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One thought on “Answering the Weakness Question

  1. Good tips! I hate being asked that. I will remember to say I am a bad public speaker because I have terrible stage fright!

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