How To Explain Your Weaknesses

By: AJE Recruiting Specialist

How To Explain Your Weaknesses

At some point during your job search, probably during the interview, you will likely be asked about your weaknesses. Employers normally ask this to see how you approach a difficult question, whether or not you recognize your weaknesses, what you're doing about them, and whether your individual strengths and weaknesses make you the right candidate for the job. Although you may be reluctant to admit your weaknesses, the best way to answer this question is to be honest. Here are some approaches that are known to work:

1. Repackage a strength as a weakness - As long as it is not blatantly phony and self-serving, this strategy can work (ex. "I work too hard"). This way, you are being honest, but you aren't hurting yourself too much since your weakness could be viewed as a positive quality by some. Other examples of this include "I do not quit until I get the job done, even if it keeps me up all night" and "I'm a perfectionist; I get irritated by even the tiniest mistakes."

2. Don't mention a big weakness that could cost you a job - Even though you should be honest, you should try to present yourself as best you can, since a job position is at stake. We all have weaknesses, but that doesn't mean that you need to tell your employer all of your faults. If you say things such as "I always miss my deadlines", it will not help your cause in terms of getting the job.

3. Keep your answer factual and brief - Don't ramble too much when talking about your weaknesses since you don't want to give the interviewer multiple reasons not to hire you. Just mention what your weaknesses are, and how you are working to deal with them. A little preparation/practice never hurts either. No need to add extra details unless the employer asks for them.

Employers learn a lot when they ask you to describe your weaknesses. Your answer offers insight into your personality as well as your capabilities and whether or not you're fit for the job at stake. This is why you need to be able to honestly describe your weaknesses without hurting your chances of getting the job. You can help your chances by putting a positive spin on your weaknesses, but try not to make this too obvious. Just be confident, keep it to the point, and you'll be fine.