We asked our regular contributors through e-mail What is a good weakness to mention on a job interview? We got many interesting responses. Here are some of them. We have just copied and pasted their responses, not editing them in any way.
1. “Being vague.”
“Can you elaborate?”
2. Depends on the position, but I will sometimes say that I have trouble delegating when I know I can perform a task well. I’d rather just do it myself and know that everything will be done correctly.
3. If you are changing industries, your biggest weakness is not knowing the industry… yet.
If you are younger, say inexperience.
Anything to show your willingness to learn and develop.
4. I was asked this during an interview with Uber and I was completely caught off guard, I ended up fumbling and saying something along the lines of “I cannot ride a unicycle” for which I immediately regretted.
5. I once got a job partly because of my honest answer to this: I need to know why I am doing what I’m doing. I don’t like being told to do something without an end-game in mind, without knowing the reasoning behind it. When I work, I need something to aim at. Some employers don’t like this because they like their employees to be cogs in a machine they control. I don’t like those jobs and I don’t want them. The place I was applying to was not that kind of workplace, and they liked my answer. Ended up being a great job where my boss valued my input and trusted me to take the reins on a variety of tasks.
6. I interviewed a girl once and she said “Honestly? Cake. I can never say no to it.”
She was so genuine and the answer struck us all as honestly hilarious. We hate those corporate interview questions too, it was more about finding someone who could answer questions like a real person and had some sort of personality show through. It’s amazing how many people just couldn’t answer certain questions, as though they were so nervous to get it wrong they froze up.
In another interview, my boss asked a candidate “Tell me about a time you screwed up at work.” She thought for a while and said gosh I’m sorry, there are certainly times, but there’s nothing major that comes to mind at the moment. I’ll think about it while we do other questions.” That’s what we wanted as interviewers not a perfect answer, just people that seemed comfortable and normal lol.
7. Show enough self-awareness to know your actual weaknesses and mention how you’re working to reduce their impact on your life.
For example, I have an issue with speaking compassionately. For a long time, I believed brutal honesty was the best way to go about things, but it often backfired and made people less willing to work with me because they respected me less and they thought I respected them less. My wife has helped me with this by, for example when I say something and it’s phrased badly, she’ll say “stop. Try it again.” And I’ll rephrase it to be more empathetic and kinder while still getting across the information I want to communicate.
8. For my current job, I said that I had a hard time sharing my ideas with new groups.
9. When I was graduating college I got interview tips from my dad who was heavily involved in the hiring process at his company for his department. His advice on this one, which I’ve used ever since and has gone great, was:
The whole “say a weakness that’s actually a positive” has been done to death and is such common knowledge that it’s no longer a clever “trick” and is now seen as avoiding the question. People want to see some self-awareness, obviously, don’t bring something absolutely terrible up, but mention a real flaw and most importantly what you’ve done to address or work with it.
For example, the one I tend to use is that I can be forgetful so I now keep multiple sets of calendars, reminders, notes, etc to cover as much as possible.
10. “Why do you want to work he-”
“I’d say my greatest weakness is listening.”