How To Answer Interview Questions About Your Weaknesses

Who else hates interview questions about your greatest weaknesses? We all know not to say anything bad about ourselves in job interviews, so many job seekers answer this question in a way that’s obviously fake…have you ever said, “I’m a perfectionist,” or “I work too hard?” Interviewers will see right through this and probably come back to ask it in another way later (if they don’t lose interest in you immediately from that answer). RELATED: Answering Behavioral Interview Questions Regarding High-Stress Situations So, why would interviewers ask any job seeker about their greatest weakness? Hiring managers don’t expect you to really say anything bad about yourself (although some candidates are not as thoughtful or as strategic in the interview as they should be, so they do). However, it does say a lot about you…


  • How do you react to difficult questions?
  • Many interviewers ask this question—were you prepared for it?
  • Whatever answer you give, it does give some insight into you and your personality.

Best Answers For “What Is Your Greatest Weakness?”

Use an actual weakness that is also a strength for this job.

For instance, when I interviewed for sales jobs, I always gave impatience as my biggest weakness. In my personal life, impatience is a true weakness that has caused me problems with my friends and family who don’t appreciate it. In my job, however, impatience caused me to be a better sales rep. It drove me to achieve faster than others, because I couldn’t stand to wait for the sale—I was always pushing to see if I could ring that cash register a little faster. Another idea: You could say that you get frustrated with people who don’t work as fast as you do. This is also a quality that isn’t very endearing to your friends and family, but it also says that you work fast and are dedicated to getting things done.

Use a weakness that you have found a way to manage.

Another weakness of mine is that I’m not very detail-oriented. In an interview, I would say that “I’m not naturally detail-oriented, so I take the extra steps of X, Y, and Z so I don’t miss anything.” X, Y, and Z could be a software program, reminders, or some kind of checks-and-balances system that catches any issues. I personally think this is a better answer than a weakness that you’ve already overcome (“I used to be X, but not anymore”). If you’ve already overcome it, it’s not your greatest weakness anymore, is it? But one that you manage with tools or creative solutions tells them that you are self-aware, proactive, and willing to address a problem.

Don’t use a weakness you have overcome and don’t have an issue with anymore.

Giving a weakness you have already overcome seems a little dishonest—because it’s not your greatest weakness anymore, is it? *Find Out How to Answer 101 Job Interview Questions at Career Confidential! Overall, say something that either helps you do your job well, or doesn’t cause you a problem in your job performance. Thinking about the greatest weakness question this way requires you to be a little more creative and strategic, but your interview will be significantly better because of it. You have the power here. Use it to deliver an answer that will serve you well in the interview. This post was originally published at an earlier date.

Related Posts

How To Manage Without Being Mean (Is It Possible To Not Be Pushy?) 5 Things To Consider Before You Take That Management Job #1 Key To Becoming An Effective Leader

About the author

Career Coach - Peggy McKee is an expert resource and a dedicated advocate for job seekers. Known as the Sales Recruiter from Career Confidential, her years of experience as a nationally-known recruiter for sales and marketing jobs give her a unique perspective and advantage in developing the tools and strategies that help job seekers stand head and shoulders above the competition. Peggy has been named #1 on the list of the Top 25 Most Influential Online Recruiters by HR Examiner, and has been quoted in articles from CNN, CAP TODAY, Yahoo! HotJobs, and the Denver Examiner. Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

In our new YouTube series, "Well This Happened" it's your turn to be the career coach! What would you do if you asked a coworker when the baby was due and she responded with, "I'm not pregnant." Watch the video and cast your vote b posting a comment on Youtube. We'll select one person from the correct answers at random to win free membership to the Work It Daily program. Good luck!

SHOW MORE Show less

If you've ever wondered what a Work It Daily (WID) membership could do for you, a letter we got this week provides a powerful example...

SHOW MORE Show less

There are 3 things hiring managers are trying to initially assess about you in the job interview. This video walks you through what they are looking for and offers insights into the right information to give them. Be sure to check out our free resources mentioned in the video too. They are:

SHOW MORE Show less

Last week during my Office Hours on Youtube, a client asked about how to deal with a workplace bully. After spending many years in corporate HR, I flipped to the other side and became a career therapist. So, I've seen both sides of this situation in the workplace. In this video, I discuss why people struggle to deal with bullies and what you can do to change the situation instantly.

This week, I did something that truly scared me. I sent an email to over 120,000 Work It Daily newsletter subscribers and asked them to answer the question, "What do we do?"

SHOW MORE Show less

A market correction is going to happen. When it does, layoffs will follow. I've been in the HR and recruiting industry for over two decades and have seen three recessions of varying sizes. In the video above, I explain how to tell when a recession is coming and what that means to you and your career. While many people will skip watching this. Or, will watch it and do nothing. I hope YOU are the smart, savvy professional who sees how important it is to prepare for unexpected, unwelcomed career circumstances.

SHOW MORE Show less

In this video, you'll learn how to tell if your career is plateauing due to the Executive Blues. You'll also learn what you can do to fix the problem and get your "executive energy" back so you can keep your career on track and set goals to reach new heights of success!

Want to watch the full video tutorial by J.T.?

CLICK HERE to get access!