The A-Z of" What's Your Biggest Weakness?" Interview Question


"What is your biggest weakness?" It's a timeless interview question. Many applicants struggle to answer this question, and there's no surprise. How can a person talk about his weaknesses without appearing incompetent?

Understanding how to answer "What is your biggest weakness?" will help you as a job seeker highlight the talents that make you the ideal candidate for the position. It will be your chance to prove your competitiveness.

Here's a comprehensive guide on how to nail your answer.


Why do recruiters ask about your greatest weakness?

Then why do recruiters talk for flaws, although they know the majority of candidates would lie?

They try to see through your perfect interview mask and get a glimpse of what you're like to deal with.

And if you don't respond truthfully, your answers demonstrate everything about you. If you delay answering the question or attempt to fool the interviewer, he would ask if:

  • You have some frightening latent vulnerabilities that you won't show.
  • You lack self-awareness. You feel you are fine.
  • Your expectations are so false; you believe you're perfect.
  • You're a swindler (hide the answer for reasons).
The recruiter is trying to find to see if you're qualified for the role. He searches for evidence that you can join a new company and deal with new problems. As a result, this question is a way to demonstrate that you have the necessary skills for the position.

What can be considered weaknesses in work?

Do you've any of these weaknesses? Please keep in mind that these are not appropriate answers if the work needs specialized expertise in these fields.

Inability to use specific software or tools

  • Readiness to carry on so much responsibility
  • Avoidance of public speaking
  • Unwillingness about delegating tasks
  • Fear of taking risks
  • Dissatisfaction with beauracracy

How to Answer "What Is Your Biggest Weakness?"

Many different ways could help you answer this question during the job interview.

Although the recruiter is asking this question to know more about your weaknesses, you should still make your answer around your strengths.

Answer#1: Highlight Insignificant Skills

One way to address this question is to look at the core qualities and abilities needed for the role you're applying for and then build a fundamental flaw that isn't crucial for excel in that position.

For example, if you apply for an administrative role, you can say that you are not good at public speaking. Throughout your answer, you should highlight that you've good communication skills while talking in one-to-one conversations but give an example of how public speaking can make you nervous. Similarly, if you're applying for a position as a content writer, you could highlight a weakness that isn't critical for success in writing roles.

Sample Answer:

I haven't always been great when it comes to numbers and calculations. As a content writer, I like it because I've to spend most of my day thinking about creative ideas to show my skills. Even so, in the past months, I've become more familiar with the SEO and analysis tools used for measuring our effort, and I've discovered that quantifying your efforts and seeing improvement in numbers can be insightful in some cases.

Why is the answer good?

This response has a flaw that isn't vital to the job's performance. It also demonstrates how the applicant has grown and developed his skills and abilities.

Answer#2: Explain how you've developed your skills.

Another way is to talk about skills you have mastered or are currently focusing on developing during your current job. This reveals to the recruiter that you are devoted to professional growth.

Start by discussing where you began and the efforts you exerted to progress, and then highlight your final results.

If you use this technique, make sure not to say something you've improved on that's relevant to the job you're applying for, as you don't want the recruiter to wonder if you're really qualified for the position or not.

Sample Answer:

"Communication skills" are one of the skills that I've developed during the past few months. As a content writer who works only with her pen and paper and I don't meet clients, I was very introverted. Yet, I decided to talk more with people around me, and I felt it might benefit me to listen to more stories that will inspire me while writing. I took online courses on being sociable. It improved my writing style, and now, when I have a task of writing about something new, I have many connections to seek their advice. I feel more effective in conveying my messages as I understand my target audience more. This skill also helped build my personal brand and get more interviews and job offers as people recommend me while they hear about any opportunity for a content writer.

Why is the answer good?

This answer shows how the candidate is eager to learn new things and how he exerts an effort to sharpen the skills required for improving his work results.

Answer#3: Transform your weakness into a strength

Another strategy to address this question is to turn a weakness into a strength. Instead of saying: Deadlines make me feel nervous and worried while accomplishing my tasks, you can say I try to pay attention to every detail while performing a task. This leads to small mistakes while reviewing, which helps you save more time reviewing and delivering high-quality work.

Whatever your answer, make it clear that you are aware of this weakness and capable of stopping it from distracting you from your big goal.

Sample Answer:

I am detail-oriented. This can also lead to an obsession with perfection. In the past, I might spend more time checking everything on a word file, reviewing my emails twice, or reading content more and more to ensure that there's no single mistake. Now, I've learned to work smart by paying attention to details while working on each task and use tools that can make it for me.

Why is the answer good?

The applicant demonstrates to the recruiter that he has developed his time management skills to concentrate on a clear mission.

What to avoid while answering what your greatest weakness is?

Here are some of the prevalent mistakes candidate make:

  1. Attempting to transform negative to positive.
Career experts always encourage people to "turn a negative into a positive" by sharing a perceived flaw in an employee that is a beneficial attribute.

The candidate can say:

  • I am a perfectionist.
  • I am a hard worker.
  • I am detail-oriented.
This is brilliant. But it's an old trick today, and the interviewer can see straight through it. Recruiters have met tens of candidates who repeat the exact words. They realize that you do nothing but memorizing a sample answer.

  1. Refusing to respond.
Sometimes the candidate feels that "I don't have any weaknesses" will be the best answer. This conveys nothing but a lack of preparation for the question and a fear of doing anything incorrectly. This response also signifies that you're trying to hide something big.

  1. Being too honest
Another blunder is to be too transparent and admit a fault that will preclude you from doing well in the role. If you say, "I don't have multitasking skills, and I feel stressed if many colleagues ask questions simultaneously," you'll lose the job due to your so much honesty, not because you don't have multitasking skills.

What are the other forms of "What's your biggest weakness"?

  • What's your biggest weakness?
  • What are some of your weaknesses?
  • If I called your previous manager, what would he say about your weakness point?
  • If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
  • What do you most want to improve as a short-term goal?
To conclude,

The interview is your first step to prove your competitiveness and convey your positive attitude. Keep that in mind to ensure getting the job as companies are looking for employees who can add value and expand the business through their skills.

To maintain a positive tone while answering "What is your biggest weakness?" you've to stick to 3 main steps:  be honest, frame your answer, and highlight your achievements.

You can take the dreaded question "What is your biggest weakness?" by following what we've taught you here and turn it into a decisive moment during your interview where you can prove once more that you're not just a professional, but you're ideal to the role!

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