How To Answer the ‘Biggest Weakness’ Interview Question

February 27, 2024

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How to answer the ‘biggest weakness’ interview question

When you’re job hunting, landing an interview is tough — and the interview itself can be stressful. In this stage of the job search process, you’ll likely face daunting questions such as,“What is your biggest weakness?”

Few candidate interview questions evoke as much anxiety as this query. But you shouldn’t be afraid of revealing areas for improvement with your answer. Ultimately, it’s about ensuring you’re a good fit for the role and the team.

Explore some of the best answers to the “biggest weakness” interview question so you can maximize the opportunity to showcase your self-awareness and resilience.

Why do interviewers ask about your biggest weaknesses? 

Prospective employers often ask about weaknesses to gauge your self-awareness, honesty, and ability to reflect on your personal career growth and development. The question goes beyond surface-level qualifications and gives the interviewer insight into how you might handle potential challenges. This is because a high level of introspection and emotional intelligence is key for effective collaboration and personal development within a team.

Candidly addressing your weaknesses demonstrates authenticity and a willingness to improve — qualities that are highly sought after today.

The best answers to the “biggest weakness” interview question

To maximize your chances of making a positive impression during the interview process, here are some of the top ways to approach the “What are your weaknesses?” interview question thoughtfully and strategically:

1. Prioritization and time management

“I’ve noticed that I sometimes struggle with prioritizing tasks and managing my time effectively, which can lead to stress, working outside of my regular hours, and decreased productivity. I now use time-blocking techniques and regularly reassess my priorities to manage my time better. I’m committed to improving relevant skills that enhance my performance and help me contribute more to a team.”

Highlighting that you have trouble managing deadlines demonstrates self-evaluation and a commitment to enhancing your efficiency. Hiring managers value candidates who recognize the importance of time management for meeting deadlines and achieving goals. Be sure to emphasize your efforts toward improvement, such as using time-blocking, to-do lists, or time management techniques.

2. Timidity/Fear of public speaking

“I’ve been actively working to overcome my fear of public speaking. While I’ve felt anxious in the past, I’ve enrolled in workshops to build confidence. I’m committed to improving employee communication skills and regularly seek opportunities to present so I can become a more effective team member.”

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that public speaking anxiety, also known as glossophobia, affects approximately 73% of the population. So if you have trouble speaking up in workplace settings, you’re not alone. Acknowledging public speaking anxiety reveals an ability to be honest and vulnerable. Keep in mind that teams want individuals who are willing to confront these fears to ensure effective communication across the organization.

3. Difficulty asking for help

“I sometimes hesitate to ask for help when needed. While I used to think I should solve problems on my own, I now understand how important collaboration and seeking guidance are. That’s why I’ve started proactively communicating with colleagues and shifting my perspective. I now view reaching out for support as a strength.”

By admitting you have difficulty seeking help, you reflect humility and a willingness to learn from others. Understanding the significance of collaboration skills in the workplace and being open to seeking guidance can enhance your standing in the eyes of potential employers.

4. Lacking confidence at times or in certain areas

“I’ve experienced dips in confidence over the years, especially in unfamiliar situations. To overcome this, I’m working on positive self-talk, seeking mentors, and embracing challenges outside my comfort zone. I believe actively improving these efforts will help me become a more resilient and confident professional.”

It’s common to have occasional lapses in confidence at work, and acknowledging these dips highlights self-awareness and authenticity. Providing examples of how you’ve cultivated self-assurance shows your commitment to career development and readiness to push beyond what’s familiar.

5. Maintaining a work-life balance

“One area I’m working on is maintaining a healthy work-life balance. I’ve dedicated long hours to work, which has impacted my ability to recharge and spend time with loved ones. I’m now setting specific work hours, prioritizing tasks, and scheduling breaks to make sure I prioritize my wellness and meaningful relationships outside of work.”

Well-being and employee morale remain essential to business success, yet research reveals that 66% of full-time employees in America don’t have a work-life balance. Mentioning the struggle to maintain this balance shows potential employers your commitment to self-care and your proactive approach to establishing boundaries. This leads to better job satisfaction and performance in the long run.

Pitfalls to avoid along the way

When answering this interview question, you’ll want to avoid:

  • Disguising strengths as weaknesses and resorting to clichés like “perfectionism” without providing depth or sincerity. This can come across as disingenuous.
  • Selecting weaknesses that are irrelevant to the job, which can undermine your credibility.
  • Revealing personal shortcomings that raise doubts about your job performance. This can weaken your candidacy in the eyes of the interviewer.

Instead, focus on genuine areas for improvement and highlight the proactive steps you’re taking to address them. By striking a balance between honesty and positivity, while maintaining a constructive tone, you’ll leave a favorable impression on the interviewer.