What Are Your Weakest Skills?
Ultimate Interview Video Guide – What are your Weaknesses?President of Job-Applications.com, Doug Crawford, coaches a user through the answering process, and we provide additional feedback and analysis on the popular interview question involving recognizing one’s weaknesses.
Narrator: Welcome to the Job-Applciations.com ultimate guide to interviewing. In today’s video, we will cover how to answer: “What are your weaknesses?”
Narrator: We asked this question at a mock interview, and here is one of the responses we heard:
Participant: I think my weaknesses are feeling a bit overwhelmed talking in front of large groups of people, and I’ve worked at that for quite a while. And in previous experiences, I’ve gotten to where I just lock up entirely, but I’ve gotten better at being able to do that.
Narrator: Overall, this is a good response. He touches on the two elements necessary to answering this question effectively. He recognizes a legitimate weakness and shows that he is taking steps to improve upon that weakness. Employers understand that no employee is perfect, and they want to hear a relevant weakness. Responses like, “I’m a perfectionist” or “I work too hard” are non-answers that employers hear all the time. Interviewers don’t focus on the weakness you choose. They want to hear that you identify your weakness and you are working to improve yourself. Let’s watch this answer again.
Narrator: We might suggest some minor improvements, like answering with more confidence and not illustrating the full extent of the weakness, like when he mentions that he has locked up entirely. Aside from that, this is a great response, and we recommend that you offer something similar. Just remember to recognize a legitimate weakness, and show that you are taking steps to improve upon it.
Outsmart the Question
It may seem like “What are your weaknesses?” is a trap. However, employers who ask this are not trying to back an interviewee into a corner. Rather, they want to see how the job seeker performs under pressure.
Managers are looking for self-awareness and honesty as well. The hiring staff knows there is no perfect worker, and would prefer to hear a legitimate weakness. The worst thing an applicant can do in a job interview is to avoid answering the question.
Elements of a Good Response
The best replies to “Tell me about your weaknesses” reflect on the past and show plans for improving in the future. Employers don’t just look for self-directed criticism. They also want to know the steps interviewees are taking to keep shortcomings from affecting a job.
Therefore, the strongest answers include acknowledgement of weaknesses and evidence of improvement. Remember to offer concrete examples as proof.
Answers to Avoid
There are many ways to address “What’s your greatest weakness?” poorly. Vague or arrogant responses do not sound great in the interview process. It is also best to stay away from discussing bad habits or divulging excessive details about things that could impact job performance.
Going Too Vague:
Many hopefuls make the mistake of giving non-answers. Framing a weakness as a positive, such as working too much or being a perfectionist, may seem like a good way to manage the question. However, these oft-used choices are hard to believe and show a lack of thought.
Candidates who try to convince hiring managers they have no weaknesses come off as smug. In addition, this approach dodges the question and displays an issue with following directions.
Bringing up the Wrong Weaknesses:
Some job seekers accidentally disqualify themselves with their responses. For instance, those interviewing for work in the fast food industry should not discuss a difficulty multitasking. If a weakness affects the ability to perform essential duties, do not highlight it.
Read the following examples of how to respond to “What are your weakest skills?” but be sure to develop a truthful reply. Copying these would be dishonest, so use them only for reference.
Sample Answer 1 – Cashier at a Clothing Store
“I used to get nervous when talking in public. Thankfully, it’s a skill you can improve through practice. I’ve taken a couple courses at school, and now I have breathing exercises at my disposal that keep me centered. Also, working on my public speaking has made me better at connecting with people one-on-one.”
Sample Answer 2 – Delivery Driver at a Shipping Company
“I’m a very independent person, and that means I struggle working as part of a team. As a result, I tend to seek self-guided jobs like driving a truck. To grow as an employee, I often choose to do group work to get out of my comfort zone.”
How to Answer “What Are Your Weaknesses?”
The two key things to remember when responding to this interview question are:
- Identify a valid weakness.
- Exhibit ways to improve.
Real-life stories will illustrate the problem. Keeping these in mind can help out in the hiring process.