So you’ve found your dream job, your resume left an impression and you’ve managed to get your foot in the door with an interview. Along with honing in on your strengths, there’s a 99% chance the interviewer will ask you what your greatest weakness is. Answer with something along the lines of “I try too hard” or “I’m a perfectionist” and you’ll quickly see your hopes fade away.
Many people think these answers are what interviewers want to hear as it suggests they’re the best fit for the role. In reality, it can come across as arrogant and shows a lack of self-awareness. When highlighting your weakness, it’s essential to be honest but also not jeopardize your chances of landing the role.
To ace this answer in your next interview, here’s how to respond with the best answer to your greatest weakness.
You won’t harm your chances of receiving a job offer if you claim organization is your weakness — to an extent. You can go down the unorganized desk route as this is relatable and genuine. Many people are the same. It’s relatable and easy to fix.
When using this as an answer, make sure you highlight that despite your desk being unorganized, it doesn’t affect how you do your work and the outcome is always high-quality work. To go one step further, you can admit it sometimes impacts your efficiency as the interviewer will appreciate the honesty.
Finish this answer by highlighting the steps you’ve taken to improve your organization skills, rather than strictly touching on your weakness. Doing this shows you’re trying to improve. It shows you’re mature, you’re self-aware and that it’s an honest weakness you’ve identified.
Struggle to say no
Answering the question regarding your greatest weakness with your struggles to say no is also relatable and genuine. Your interviewer will know that helping colleagues on projects while also managing your workload is an art in itself and something that takes a lot of experience to balance suitably.
Sharing this weakness can work well because your employer will understand you’re dedicated, eager and a team player. However, it also shows you might not know your limits and end up needing more support or require deadline extensions to complete all work. However, this is a weakness you can fix and links in well with the organization weakness.
If this is a weakness you answer with, share how you’re constantly working to self-manage your work and organization by prioritizing which tasks to accept and which ones you can pass. You can also explain its impact in previous instances of not saying no had on your work or health.
An example solution you can use to explain to your interviewer how you’re overcoming this weakness is using a project management system to understand how much work you can take.
Impatience when missing deadlines
When revealing your greatest weakness, be careful when wording this one. From one side, expressing outward frustrations over missed deadlines shows how much you value deadlines and strive to complete projects to a high standard within the agreed timeframe. On the other hand, saying this can make it seem like you often miss deadlines.
If you use this as a weakness in your interview, go down the route of how much you focus on completing work on time and to a high standard. Also, mention the way you want to improve processes to make them more efficient, so each future project is finished within the deadline.
There’s nothing wrong with saying you’re a stickler for due dates. Word this correctly and the interviewer will be impressed that you’re passionate about doing the work when it was agreed to be completed.
Struggling to delegate is another relatable and genuine weakness an interviewer will understand. This works well if you’ve experienced growth and are in a more senior role which requires delegating tasks to other team members. If using this weakness during your interview, highlight the pain that came with learning to dish tasks out to others and how that felt.
However, make sure you explain you’re getting better at this and don’t prefer to do every task yourself. This is because your new role might involve teamwork, so the interviewer will want to know you can work in a team rather than preferring to work solo.
Like other weaknesses, share how you’re overcoming this weakness. It’ll show maturity, self-awareness, initiative and the leadership qualities they’re looking for.
Asking for help
Another weakness you can respond with is you struggle to ask for help. This is an understandable weakness for those who are more introverted and feel like they don’t want to bother others and disrupt their work. However, knowing when and how to seek help shows self-awareness and benefits the wider business.
When using this as a weakness, make sure you explain why it’s important to ask for help and what you’ve done to improve this weakness.
You can say you were a solid independent worker, which made it difficult to seek help, but you’ve since realized the benefits of teamwork and although you’re still working on it, it’s helped improve the quality of your work.
Maintaining a healthy work/life balance
While saying you care too much can come across as scripted, framing it as a challenge to maintain a healthy work/life balance is more believable as it’s so relatable. Saying this shows you have a strong work ethic, but it also shows you understand the need to rest and take time off. The interviewer will understand this as you wouldn’t bring it up without knowing its importance.
If you choose this weakness, explain how you’ve learned to balance your work and personal lives and the effect it has had on your work and home life. If possible, give specific examples, too, as it shows you’re taking the weakness seriously, such as not checking emails after a specific time or banning laptop use on weekends, for instance.
Interviews can be challenging, especially if you don’t know how to share weaknesses. At VanHack, we’ll help you learn the professional and cultural nuances with 40+ live classes every month and teach you how to ace your next interview. Join the Premium Academy here and start your journey to landing the dream job.