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10 Good Weaknesses for a Job Interview (+ Sample Answers)

How to answer the classic interview question “What is your greatest weakness”? And do you really need to prepare your weaknesses for job interview?

Believe us, you do! Because knowing your weaknesses is equally as important as knowing your strengths

When it comes to job interviews, we’re constantly encouraged to present our finest selves to seem like the absolute best candidate for the job. So talking about your flaws may seem counterintuitive.

Yet, this question seems to be one of the recruiters’ most favourite

That’s why it’s a good idea to get ready for this eventuality and prepare yourself to frame the answer in your favour

If you want to learn more, keep reading our article and discover: 

  • Why are recruiters asking this question;
  • How to know what is your greatest weakness;
  • What NOT to say when answering;
  • A list of good weaknesses for a job interview;
  • Examples of how to answer “What is your greatest weakness?”

What the recruiters really want to know

Honestly, this feels like a trap, inviting you to reveal your shortcomings and ruin your chances at getting hired. 

But, regarding job interviews, nothing is ever haphazard! So, you probably won’t be too surprised when we tell you that there’s more to this question than meets the eye. 

When recruiters ask about your weaknesses, here’s what they actually want to know

  • Whether you’re self-aware and capable of introspection. Can you look at yourself and recognize your deficiencies? And can you be self-critical? Because both of these are key qualities of anyone’s dream employee. 
  • Whether you’re reliable. Not in the sense of being able to do anything and everything. But in the sense of knowing your limits and being honest about communicating them. Because employers need to know that you won’t bite off more than you can chew. 
  • Whether you have a “growth mindset”. Next is their interest in your ability to face challenges. Do you perceive them as opportunities to grow and develop professionally? Or avoid them completely? 
  • Whether you’re a good fit for the company culture. Lastly, they want to gauge how well you work with others. For example: Would you be able to own up to your mistakes, learn from them and move on? Or are you more likely to play the blame game? 

As you can see, your response can offer a glimpse into your resilience, workplace attitude and adaptability. Qualities that are invaluable in any professional setting.

Top 10 good weaknesses for a job interview

A “good weakness” is one that isn’t core to the job in question, is believable, and is possible to work on.

Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all set of weaknesses because everyone’s experiences and challenges are unique. However, there are a couple of common vulnerabilities that you may find relatable AND are suitable.

In case you’re struggling to identify yours, this list may help you find it: 

  1. Lack of professional experience with non-essential skills.  
  2. Taking criticism too personally. 
  3. Imperfect presentation skills. 
  4. Struggling to ask for help. 
  5. Discomfort with giving criticism. 
  6. Difficulties delegating tasks to others.  
  7. Impatience with slow processes. 
  8. Difficulties with prioritizing tasks. 
  9. Inability to let go of projects.
  10. Being too blunt. 

And now, let’s look at each of these in more detail. Plus, we’ll also briefly discuss how you can try to fix them. 

#1 Lack of professional experience with non-essential skills

In other words, not having a deep understanding of a skill that may be beneficial, but not indispensable. For example, while a project manager isn’t required to have proficiency in graphic design, knowledge of Illustrator may be useful for creating simple visual materials for presentations.

This weakness is relatively safe, yet it still communicates your “growth mindset.” Plus, it’s an easy fix – just mention a particular course that targets the skill in question.

#2 Taking criticism too personally

This one is pretty real and believable. The ability to receive feedback and objective criticism is necessary for any professional, yet it’s not something that comes naturally to many.

For instance, you could say that in the past, it was difficult for you to distinguish between criticism of you as an employee, and criticism of you as a person. But through a conscious shift in mindset, you came to recognize it for what it really is – an opportunity to improve. 

#3 Imperfect presentation skills

Another fairly common weakness is the fear of public speaking. Whether it be presentation for teams, your management, or clients, some degree of public speaking is necessary for pretty much any corporate position.

To improve upon this weakness, you can enroll into a course (such as this Harvard University course via EdX) where you can hone these skills and earn a certificate.   

#4 Struggling to ask for help

You simply can’t be a lone wolf in a corporate setting. So you can talk about your inability to ask your colleagues or supervisors for help because you don’t want to add to their workload and seem like a burden.

But after several negative experiences you’ve realized that seeking assistance is the responsible thing to do, because it facilitates the completion of projects. So, you’ve decided to work on your communication skills, and now you’ve become more productive.

#5 Discomfort with giving criticism

If you happen to occupy a leadership position, it doesn’t matter to what capacity, there are times when you have to put your foot down if something isn’t working. And not everybody is comfortable with that.

There might’ve been situations where you avoided giving your junior colleagues criticism out of fear of being too harsh. But mention that you’re working on this problem by going through a leadership and communication programme

#6 Difficulties delegating tasks to others

Another weakness you could mention is reluctance to pass tasks to others. Whether it stems from your desire for perfection, not wanting to increase your colleague’s work load , or your need to have things under control, this weakness of yours has caused a decrease in overall team efficiency.

But soon enough you’ve come to recognize your own faults. You’ve started by delegating small, low-risk tasks at first. Gradually, you’ve established open communication for any question or feedback, and learned to trust your colleagues more. As a result, the productivity, efficiency and job satisfaction of your entire team increased. 

#7 Impatience with slow processes

For instance, your lack of patience manifested whenever you felt that your own work pace was hindered by your colleague’s slower tempo. And sometimes, it caused tensions within the team.

So, you did a bit of research and discovered that there are stress-reduction techniques you could learn that target your impatience management. Additionally, you developed a habit of using the extra time between projects by tackling smaller tasks which keep you occupied and productive.

#8 Difficulties with prioritizing tasks

Maybe you’re that type of person that says “yes” to everything and then ends up struggling to juggle all the tasks you took on. Because of this, you’ve reached out to a professional who advised you to work on your time management skills.

Maybe you’ve gone through a training in the ABCDE method, and now you’re able to categorize your tasks based on their urgency. You felt the results of your effort immediately – you became less stressed, which improved your productivity, as well as your relationship to work itself. So now you feel more confident and in control. 

#9 Inability to let go of projects

Imagine this: you’ve managed to complete your project ahead of time and instead of marking it as complete and moving on to a new task, you just keep coming back to it. Even if the project is executed to perfection.

And this was a problem, because it prevented you from working more efficiently and not wasting any time. But, after you’ve completed a project management programme, you’ve learned how to curb this behaviour. Now, you practice setting yourself clear criteria for project evaluation which help you not to dwell on one task for too long. 

#10 Being too blunt

Lastly, you can say that, in the past, you’re too direct in your communication with your colleagues. You’ve realized that your communication skills could use some training when several of your co-workers accused you of being too harsh.

So, to fix this weakness, you completed a course that taught you how to deliver your comments in a more sensitive way. For example, to insert criticism (constructive, of course) in between two positives to make the impact of your words less biting. As a result, the awkward workplace tension disappeared and your co-workers became more receptive to your feedback. 

top 10 good weaknesses for a job interview

How to answer “What is your greatest weakness?” in 4 steps

Essentially, you should approach the weaknesses for job interview question as an opportunity to demonstrate that you’re not only aware of your faults but that you’re also actively trying to overcome them

So, the perfect answer to “What is your greatest weakness” should follow these 4 steps:

  1. Introduce your weakness.

    First, select a real weakness that you’ve actively worked/are working to improve. For instance, do you tend to take criticism too personally? Can you be impatient with slow processes? Do you struggle to ask for help?

  2. Provide a real-life professional context.

    Next, describe how and when you noticed this weakness. Maybe you received feedback from your supervisor? Or a project you worked on didn’t go as planned? In any case, outline what exactly was the problem.

  3. Demonstrate your efforts and determination to improve.

    Then, you have to show that once you became aware of this weakness, you rose to the challenge and decided to work on yourself. Being aware is not enough. You must also show willingness to grow. For example: enrolling in a course, mentorship programme, workshop, or developing new habits and practices.

  4. Mention the results of your efforts (if possible).

    Finally, share the results of your efforts. Ideally, you’ll be able to show how your newly sharpened tools contributed to your team or project. And don’t be afraid to acknowledge that you’re still working on them, if that’s the case.

Although this structure is fairly simple, it works wonders! Feel free to use it when preparing your answers. And remember, the narrative is entirely in your hands! 

What is your greatest weakness sample answers

And finally, we should take a quick look at these 4 example answers.

Notice that all of them follow the structure we’ve outlined above (weakness, context, improvements, results). 

And if any of these correspond with your own weaknesses, you can just copy and tweak them so that they reflect your own experience. 

How NOT to answer “What is your greatest weakness?”

Before looking at specific examples, let’s also talk about how NOT to present your weaknesses.

Again, it’s pretty simple, just avoid doing these things: 

  • Saying that you have no weaknesses. Who’re you trying to fool my friend? Certainly not the recruiters! Indeed, if there’s one way to communicate your lack of awareness, it’s this! 
  • Trying to pass your strengths for weaknesses. Not even Michael Scott can pull off a Michael Scott. So, skip saying you’re too much of a perfectionist, or that you work too hard! 
  • Using a skill/quality that’s essential for the job as your weakness. For example, if you’re applying for the job position of an accountant, don’t say you’re bad at maths or that you pay no attention to details. 
  • Oversharing personal information. Just to be clear, recruiters don’t care much about the details of your weaknesses. Maybe your nervousness about public speaking is rooted in a bad experience from childhood. Even if so, keep this detail to yourself. Instead, go into lengths about how to address and correct your weakness.  
how not to answer what is your greatest weakness

Key takeaways: Top 10 best weaknesses for job interview

To sum it all up, the weaknesses for job interview question isn’t a strategy to reveal your faults, but an opportunity to show that you’re self-aware, introspective, and determined to continue improving on your weak areas. 

When preparing your answer, try sticking to this simple, yet effective structure:

  1. Introduce your weakness.
  2. Provide a real-life professional context.
  3. Demonstrate your effort and determination to improve.
  4. Mention the results of your improvement (if possible). 

In case you don’t know what your weaknesses are, you can draw inspiration from our list of the most appropriate weaknesses for a job interview

  1. Lack of professional experience with non-essential skills.  
  2. Taking criticism too personally. 
  3. Imperfect presentation skills. 
  4. Struggling to ask for help. 
  5. Discomfort with giving criticism. 
  6. Difficulties delegating tasks to others.  
  7. Impatience with slow processes. 
  8. Difficulties with prioritizing tasks. 
  9. Inability to let go of projects.
  10.  Being too blunt. 

If you’re preparing for a job interview, be sure to also check out how to answer these common questions:

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