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Interview Tips: How to Discuss Your Weaknesses During an Interview

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Everyone has strengths. Everyone has weaknesses. But when it comes to a job interview, you want to play up your strengths and hide your weaknesses, right? Or do you? Is there a way to take your weaknesses that could disqualify you from a job you want and turn them into strengths? We have answers that will help you in your next job interview.

Turning Your Weaknesses into Strengths

The interview question, “What are your strengths,” can be uplifting because you have a chance to sell your skills. But it can also be worrisome because you know that the follow-up question will be, “Now, tell me about your weaknesses.” The first question is a gift. The second—not so much. That’s because many job interviewees simply aren’t prepared for how to answer this question. How can you share all of your faults without disqualifying yourself from the job?

The trick is to discuss your shortcomings in a positive way that shows how you’re improving over time. You want to gain ground by using that question to your advantage. First, the way to do that is to recognize that asking you to describe your own weaknesses is actually a way for the interviewer to determine how you overcome adversity, learn new skills, and grow as a person.

Make a List

Before going into the interview, sit down and list your limitations that have challenged you at work. You may need to go to past performance evaluations or think back on prior jobs. Pick and choose one or two limitations that you have actually overcome by working on them. Or one or two limitations that you are actively working on now.

Review the Job Description

Next, look at the job description at the place where you’re interviewing. Do the weaknesses you’ve selected come into play on the job you’re applying for? You may want to discard that weakness in favor of a weakness that won’t impact the role you’re applying to. Try to pick strengths that fit the job and weaknesses that don’t. That way, when you talk about your weaknesses, you will show that you’re actively working on improving and that you have a lot of strengths that already make you a great candidate for the job. Some typical weaknesses that you can overcome by working on them include:

  • Weakness: Specific hard skills like inexperience with a particular piece of software.
    How to overcome it: Take a class or teach yourself with online tutorials.
  • Weakness: A tendency to take on too much responsibility.
    How to overcome it: Overcome this by working closely with your boss to delegate more.
  • Weakness: A fear of public speaking.
    How to overcome it: Practice by doing lunch-and-learns with your team (a friendly audience).

Do not answer the “Describe your weaknesses” question with a denial that you don’t have any weaknesses. Everyone has weaknesses—period—so saying you don’t either means you’re out-of-touch with yourself or living in a dream world. Hiring managers understand that no one is perfect. But if you take the time and prepare your answer, they will also respect that you recognize your weaknesses and are actively working to overcome them. This will set you apart from all the other candidates during the interview process.

We Can Help You Find a New Job

ADD STAFF is devoted to helping you during the interview process. We would be happy to talk with you about your credentials, skills, and interview acumen. Call on us today to find out how we can help.

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