Greatest Weakness Interview Question and Answer

how to answer weakness question in an interview

It can be nerve-wracking to answer the “greatest weakness” question in an interview, but we will help you avoid all the pitfalls. The weakness question can be a trap or a chance to show off your skill!  Give the wrong answer and the whole interview could be over before you know it. Read more for how to succeed!

Watch For Different Versions of The Greatest Weakness Question

This question also hides under the disguise of

  • If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
  • Are you working on any sort of developmental goals?
  • If I called your past supervisor, what would they tell me are areas you could improve on?

Sounds nicer, but they’re asking the exact same thing. Good thing we can help!


What the Hiring Manager Really Wants to Know

This question is asked in a variety of ways, but what they’re looking for is honesty, self-awareness, and an example of how you deal with mistakes. Saying “I love my work too much!” isn’t just a cliche, but implies that you’re either not aware of any past mistakes, not willing to own up to them, or haven’t learned how to improve or deal with them head-on. Giving a fake answer sounds plastic and fake because it is and doesn’t give the manager any helpful answer and you come across as potentially lying.


Don’t Give an Unrelated Answer

Sometimes people try to brush off the weakness area, like when a graphic artist said they weren’t interested in the financial department. That doesn’t matter to the hiring manager, since that’s not what they’re hiring for. Sometimes people try to brush off this question with a joke: “I eat too much chocolate!” No. This isn’t appropriate and the hiring manager still expects you to answer the question. All you’ve done is look like you don’t take the interview process seriously.


Know Your Weakness

If you don’t know your actual professional weaknesses, take a personality kind of quiz and review the results. Everyone has specific strengths and specific weaknesses. It’s pretty certain that if you don’t know your weaknesses then you also don’t know your strengths – and believing that you are worth adding to the team is questionable.

Check here if you don’t know your weakness.


Focus on Demonstrating Improvement

Whatever your weakness is, be sure to tell an example of how you’re improving. Tell a past mistake and then include what lessons you learned. If time management is an issue and you missed a deadline, be sure to explain what differences you’ve made since then so it won’t happen again. Whatever your weakness is, be sure to show a positive end result.


Plan Ahead

Some version of this question is going to come up, so be prepared before you walk in that interview room. Think of a time that you had trouble professionally and how you’ve changed either how you perform the job, or how you interact with people, or how you resolved this in a professional manner. It could be that you lack a specific certification which would be an excellent point to bring up since the hiring manager has most likely already noticed. That said, make sure to follow that with something very useful and compelling that you’ve done, such as working with people who already have that certification. You need to explain what you’ve done to prepare for the job and why you’re still a good hire, despite your weakness.


Key Points to Remember About Weakness Question

  • Be prepared with a real flaw you have or had
  • Have a story ready about it, preferably a recent one
  • Explain how you overcame or dealt with that weakness

This question is going to come up in one form or another, so you’d better be prepared!

Wait, do you know how to answer what your greatest strength is in an interview?

Interviewing? You better dress for success!

If you’re still looking for a position, check out our openings at NESC Staffing job search.