The Strong Way to Answer Interview Questions About Weakness

Instead of awkwardly explaining your biggest weakness to a hiring manager, learn the strategies that will help you turn negatives into positives—every time.

The Strong Way to Answer Interview Questions About Weakness

Put a positive spin on your job interview answers.

Let’s see if this scenario sounds familiar: You’re in the interview hot seat, and so far, you’re pretty sure you’re crushing it—until the hiring manager throws you a curveball. The dreaded interview questions about weakness come up.

We know you’re thinking of your favorite four-letter word.

Such interview questions—the ones that want you to discuss personal flaws—are, in fact, designed to reveal your interpersonal skills and self-awareness. Employers want to hire someone honest who can acknowledge shortcomings, work well with team members, and commit to personal and professional development.

Interview questions about weakness often highlight an insecurity or strong emotion because the interviewer wants to test your confidence as well as whether you take responsibility or blame someone else. Follow these tips for answering these questions honestly, diplomatically, and professionally.

Be truthful

Employers are not looking for someone who has never made mistakes; they realize no one is perfect. They want to see your authentic human self. Admitting your flaws and failures makes you relatable. 

However, be smart when deciding which weakness to bring up to your interviewer. Don't say you're bad at something if that something is at the core of your job. For example, a sales person shouldn't admit they have difficulty bonding with people, and a teacher shouldn't admit they aren't good a public speaking.

Demonstrate commitment to improvement

When you acknowledge a weakness, it’s important to also explain to the interviewer how you responded to a past mistake and what lessons you learned for the future.

For instance, if you missed a crucial deadline and annoyed a client (and your boss), explain that you apologized to the client, fessed up to your boss, and came up with a solution for better time-management and organizational skills.

Don't blame others for your shortcomings

You may feel the sudden need to toss your boss or co-worker under the bus as a way to justify your answers to interview questions about weakness. Resist the urge. Own your faults, even if it's true that you miss deadlines partly because Steve in the art department is consistently late getting back to you.

Conflicts and challenges are present in most every office environment, so the key is to show that you are able to act professionally, not emotionally. Talk about the plans you have in place to remedy your weaknesses. Focus on your desire for career growth and what you hope to gain from your new role that your current or old role simply couldn’t offer you. 

Heed this advice, and you’ll demonstrate to your interviewer that you are cognizant of where you need to improve and will take the steps necessary to become a better, stronger worker. 

Muscle your way through interview questions about weakness

This is hardly the only tough interview question you'll be expected to dominate. There are plenty more coming your way. Need help with your answers? Monster can send you expert interview advice for free, along with career tips to keep you ahead of the game.