How to Answer Interview Questions About Weaknesses

Man being interviewed by woman
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A common topic in job interviews is weakness or failure, and how you might deal with your weaknesses in the workplace.

How to Answer Interview Questions About Your Weaknesses

Often, an interviewer will ask you a question such as “What is your greatest weakness?” or “How do you overcome your weakness?” or “What has been one of your biggest professional mistakes?”

Employers ask these questions to get a sense of how well you know yourself.

They also ask these to see if you know how to improve on your weaknesses.

There are a number of ways you can answer these questions. The most important things to remember when answering questions about weaknesses are to remain positive, focus on solutions, and be honest.

Remain Positive

It might seem hard to remain positive when answering a question about weaknesses. However, you want to prove that whatever weaknesses you have or challenges you face, they will not hinder (and may even help) your ability to do your job.

One way to remain positive is to simply avoid negative words like “weak,” “weakness,” and “failure” in your answers.

You might also emphasize how the skill or quality you struggle with is either unimportant to the job, or even a positive. For example, you might mention how your extreme desire for perfection and organization will actually make you a very strong administrative assistant.

Focus on Solutions

For questions about how you plan to overcome weaknesses, or about what you’ve learned from your mistakes, be sure to focus less on your weakness itself, and more on the lesson you learned or the improvement you made. For example, if you had previously struggled with technological skills, mention how you are currently taking a computer course.

By focusing on solutions, your weaknesses become strengths. This is another way to remain positive in your answer.

Be Honest

While you should remain positive, you also want to be honest. Do not pretend you have a weakness that you do not, or say you have no weaknesses. Interviewers appreciate truthful answers. Before answering, think carefully about your past work experience and the skills you have developed or would like to continue to develop.

Answers to Interview Questions About Weaknesses

Your answers will vary depending on the specific question. For example, some questions might ask you to list multiple weaknesses, while others might want you to focus on past feedback from an employer. Read below for advice and sample answers for a variety of questions about weaknesses.

Interview Questions About Strengths and Weaknesses

On a related note, also be prepared to answer interview questions about your strengths. Here are interview questions related to your strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and accomplishments, along with examples of answers.

Read More: Job Interview Questions | Examples of Weaknesses | How to Answer Interview Questions About Yourself | Interview Questions Without a Right or Wrong Answer