How to answer "What do you consider to be your biggest weakness?" (with sample answers)

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This post is part of our series on behavioral interview questions.

Why Employers Ask This

When interviewers ask about your biggest weakness in a job interview, they are not trying to trip you up. Instead, they are assessing your self-awareness, your ability to handle constructive criticism, and your willingness to learn and grow as an employee.

By answering this question honestly, you demonstrate that you are willing to be vulnerable, open to feedback, and committed to continuous improvement. This will help the employer determine whether you are a good fit for their team and whether you have the potential to grow within the company.

How to Answer the Question

When answering this question, it's important to strike a balance between being honest and avoiding self-deprecation. Here are some tips on how to answer the question:

  • Be honest: Employers are looking for genuine self-awareness, so don't try to come up with a fake weakness that doesn't apply to you.
  • Frame your weaknesses as opportunities for growth: Instead of just saying what you're not good at, talk about how you're working to improve in that area.
  • Show what you've learned: If you have experienced setbacks or failures in the past, talk about what you learned from those experiences and how you've used that knowledge to improve.
  • Avoid fluff: Don't give an answer that is so generic that it could apply to anyone. Be specific about your weaknesses and what you're doing to improve them.
  • Keep it professional: While it may be tempting to talk about personal weaknesses, keep your answer focused on your work-related strengths and areas for improvement.

Sample answers

  1. Bad answer: "I don't really have any weaknesses that I can think of."

    Why it's bad: This answer comes across as arrogant and makes it seem like the candidate is not self-aware enough to recognize their weaknesses. It's important for a candidate to be honest and self-aware during the interview process.

  2. Good answer: "One weakness I have is public speaking. I tend to get nervous when speaking in front of large groups, but I am actively working to improve my skills in this area."

    Why it's good: This answer demonstrates self-awareness and honesty, while also showing that the candidate is proactive in addressing their weakness. It also shows a willingness to grow and develop professionally.

  3. Bad answer: "My biggest weakness is that I'm a perfectionist. I just can't stand when things aren't done exactly right."

    Why it's bad: This answer is a common cliché and doesn't offer a genuine weakness. It can also give the impression that the candidate is difficult to work with and may have trouble delegating tasks or trusting others to get the job done.

  4. Good answer: "Time management is an area I struggle with. I tend to get too focused on details and end up not allocating my time efficiently. To work on this, I've started using time-blocking techniques and prioritizing my tasks to make sure I stay on track."

    Why it's good: This answer shows self-awareness and the ability to identify a specific weakness. It also demonstrates that the candidate is taking active steps to address the weakness, which is a positive trait for any job.

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