Job interviews can be intimidating, especially when asked “What is your greatest weakness?’.
I want to help you avoid mistakes made by many job seekers.
Pro-tip: Reviewing common interview questions and rehearsing your answers is an excellent way to prepare. The hiring manager may ask you to describe examples of weaknesses in order to gauge your self-awareness.
Because of this, I have created this guide that walks through several sample answers. From here, you can craft your specific answer. With practice, you will be ready to confidently navigate a behavioral interview.
Recruiters may be trying to gauge your soft skills. A hiring manager will ask a big picture question such as: “tell me about yourself.” Your ability to confidently describe your greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses in the same level of detail is important.
Below, I have categorized example answers to make this an easy-to-read guide that’ll help you feel more confident going into your interview. Now when you’re asked these job interview weaknesses questions, you’ll be fully prepared. Let’s get started!
17+ Job Interview Weaknesses Examples!
Job interview weaknesses: the perfectionist
These types of answers are the ones that are actually hidden strengths. You’ll mask a strength as a weakness, and in doing so, share how sometimes your strength of ‘attention to detail’, for example, can be ‘perfectionism’.
A tip here is to share your biggest weakness, but then also frame it in a way that is still a strength, especially as you are learning to work through it. Honest self-criticism is an important soft skill. Share how you are working on it, as that shows that you are willing to learn and grow, which is a big plus for the interviewer to know about your work ethic.
Remember, use specific examples.
Example 1. Too Detail-oriented
“My weakness is that I can be a bit of a perfectionist. I tend to focus too much on the small details of a project, spending a lot of time on the fine points making sure everything is perfect, which can often lead to taking more time than needed on something. I’m learning to prioritize my time more so that I can still strive for great quality work, while not getting caught up in the tiny things that get in the way of deadlines.”
Example 2. Being happy with the end product
“My greatest weakness is letting go of a project or task when I can see how it can continue to be improved. I know that there’s a time to let it go and move on, but also because I have a tendency to want things to be perfect, I often spend time updating and improving things.
This is great when I have the time, but when I need to move on to a new task, I know I need to make peace with the quality of the job and know that if there’s a chance to return to it later, I can enhance it even more then.”
This example shows how your greatest strength of focus can be a weakness for the team. Be sure you are up to speed on the job description and look for places where delegating will help to keep the project on track.
Example 3. Impatience
“I am very conscious of time and deadlines, so when a project is running past that deadline due to working within a team or noticing someone else not meeting the end-date that we had set, I get impatient.
I’m working on this by allowing flexibility in the deadlines when setting them at the start, while also seeing how I can support the process to run smoothly and keep communication open when it comes to who is expecting the work when it is done. I’m learning to relax a little more when it’s not totally urgent that it be complete on the deadline.”
Here, time management strategies for you and the team can help to keep the project management timeline on track. How do you handle a team member who is prone to procrastination and last-minute work?
Communication with your team will avoid surprises on deadlines that may slip. These strategies convey a proactive approach to avoid falling into a situation where you may become impatient.
Example 4. Asking for help
“I’m a very independent person, so when I have hit a challenge, I’ve often tried to work it all out on my own, rather than ask for help. I know that there are times where actually we can come to a solution faster if I do reach out to someone to assist, so I’m learning to open up more and be ok with receiving support when I need it.”
This is an opportunity to explain that you are learning the value of asking for, and providing, help which is key for better teamwork.
Example 5. Being ok with uncertainty
“As I love to plan and to have set schedules, I have a hard time with uncertainty and spontaneity in my work. How I’ve been working through this is to still have a plan of action, but also be open to different plans and solutions when things come up unexpectedly.
Also, I’ve found that there can also be gifts in uncertainty because it opens things up to be done in a creative way that I didn’t plan for and didn’t initially see, which is delightful to experience.”
6. Taking on all of the responsibility
“My weakness is that I am very strong-minded and confident in myself to the point that I often take on more responsibility than I need to. I’m a natural leader, but sometimes I find myself doing this when I don’t need to actually be taking the reins. So I’m learning to relax and let others lead, and to share the responsibility and even enjoy the support that being in a team offers.”
Job interview weaknesses relating to personal qualities
These samples are more about how some personality traits can be a weakness in some scenarios. Though again, with all of these answers, when you frame it in the right way, you can also express how these personality traits can also be a strength. Like above, also make sure you are expressing how you are working on these weaknesses.
Example 7. Work-life balance
“Because I have defined career goals and I am an ambitious person, it can be challenging for me to keep a healthy work-life balance. I’ve seen that when I ignore my personal space and life outside of work, I have less inspiration and energy to give my work.
When I actually take time off and not over-work, I have much more energy and motivation to give to my daily tasks in my work and that feels good. So I have to remember that.”
Example 8. Setting boundaries
“I can sometimes have a little trouble saying ‘no’ to my co-workers and my management to a point where I am taking on much more than I should. I know that it’s ultimately not helpful for the team if I do this, because the quality of work is not as high as it would be if I set boundaries and say ‘no’ when I really can’t. I’m learning to be bolder in this way and be ok with saying ‘no.’”
Can you mention any time management strategies you use or apps that help remind you to be disciplined here?
Example 9. Being too honest
“I’ve been described by friends as ‘brutally honest’, which is sometimes great, and other times a little too intense for some people who may be more sensitive in the work environment. I’m finding a balance between staying true to me, expressing what I need to while doing this in a considerate way, and pulling back at times where it may not be needed to always say what I think and feel.”
Example 10. Having confidence
“Though I feel like I have already grown a lot in this area, I am still finding that a weakness of mine is having the confidence to speak in front of large groups. I’m nervous when I think about giving presentations and public speaking.
I still do this, but it does definitely still give me butterflies in my stomach when I know a presentation is coming up. I know practice makes perfect with this, so I just have to go out there and do it!.”
Perhaps you could describe a public speaking course that you are taking online to address this.
Example 11. Being too playful
“I’m a lighthearted, playful person so I can often bring that into the work environment. Many people love the positivity, but also I am learning to dial it down when I’m in more professional settings so that my playfulness is not a weakness, but a strength.”
Example 12. Working with different personality types
“I’ve found it challenging in the past to work with different personality types. Mostly “I’ve found it challenging in the past to work with different personality types. Mostly confrontational or stubborn people are hard to deal with, as I believe in seeing all sides of a situation and in clear communication. I’m learning to let go when I’m around these co-workers and just stay in my own bubble so I remain positive and not so triggered by their aggression.”
Job interview weaknesses relating to experience
These are more basic examples of skills that you may not yet have but are working on or willing to learn.
13. “I’m not yet confident with complex excel skills, only having a basic understanding of spreadsheets, but I’m a fast learner.”
14. “I work well with a plan and set task, as one of my weaknesses is creativity, but I’m learning to be a more creative thinking.”
15. “As I haven’t had any experience as a leader, I think my leadership skills are a weakness, but I think with the right experience in a team, it’s something I could step up to.”
16. “I’m not the fastest typer, but I have been practicing more and have seen my speed and confidence of my typing increase.”
17. “My weakness would be advanced mathematics, as I am far more experienced in simple math and basic calculations.”
If you are looking to further upskill and turn your weaknesses into strengths, check out my guide on the best SkillShare classes you can take right now!
Own the Follow-up
Quick check-in. You conducted your job search, prepared your resume, drafted a cover letter, landed an interview, and practiced your answers to common job interview questions.
Pro-tip: The process is not over when the interview ends. Lean into securing a job offer.
Reflect on how the conversation went. The follow-up is a chance to address any topics where you wished you had mentioned something or perhaps didn’t answer as clearly as you hoped.
A follow-up note is a natural place to show the hiring manager some of your skills. This is often better than “telling” about a list of strengths.
Illustrate your strong writing skills in your follow-up email. Address any hard skill gaps explicitly.
Here at Skillscouter, we are committed to helping our readers improve their skills. Take this opportunity to tackle a known weakness. In your follow-up mention that you are currently taking an online course to help you upskill. From time management to problem-solving, to excel skills, there is an immediate path to improvement at your fingertips.
Instead of a bland follow-up note, use this as an opportunity to show the hiring manager your commitment to improvement.