Interview Advice

Mastering Your Weaknesses: The Ultimate Guide to Answering "What Are Your Weaknesses?" in a Job Interview

By Will Etheridge - 10 February 2023

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The job interview process can be an exciting yet daunting experience.

You've done your homework, researched the company, and prepared for common questions, yet you still may find yourself flummoxed by one of the most asked yet tricky questions: "What are your weaknesses?"

This guide aims to demystify this question, provide insights from an interviewer's perspective, help you identify your own weaknesses, and teach you how to frame them positively.

Additionally, we'll discuss how the CV Wallet app, a revolutionary tool for jobseekers, can assist you in interview preparation.


Understanding Weaknesses from an Interviewer's Perspective

Before we delve into how to answer "What are your weaknesses?" in a job interview, it's crucial to understand why interviewers ask this question.

Far from an attempt to trip you up, this question allows interviewers to assess your self-awareness, honesty, and capacity for growth.

Interviewers are well aware that nobody is perfect; every candidate will have weaknesses. What sets top candidates apart, however, is their ability to acknowledge these weaknesses and demonstrate steps they've taken to address them.

This reveals a high level of professional maturity and commitment to personal development.

It's important to strike a balance when discussing weaknesses in a job interview. Choose a weakness that is honest and real, yet not so critical that it could jeopardise your chances of landing the job.

Likewise, don't choose a trivial or non-existent weakness in an attempt to evade the question.


Types of Professional Weaknesses and How to Identify Yours

Professional weaknesses can typically be categorised into two types: skills-based and character-based. Skills-based weaknesses might include a lack of experience with a specific software or difficulty with public speaking.

Character-based weaknesses, on the other hand, could involve traits like perfectionism or a tendency to overcommit.

To identify your own weaknesses, consider instances when you've struggled or faced criticism at work. Reflect on performance reviews or feedback you've received.

Be honest with yourself and think about areas where you know you could improve.

While it's important to choose a genuine weakness, avoid clichéd responses such as "I'm a perfectionist" or "I work too hard," as these can come across as disingenuous.

Interviewers have heard these responses countless times and may question their authenticity.

Remember, the goal isn't just to identify a weakness, but to discuss it in a way that demonstrates your ongoing commitment to professional growth. Thus, when you ponder "What is your weakness in a job interview," you should also think about how you've addressed or plan to address that weakness.


How to Frame Your Weaknesses Positively 

Now that you've identified your weaknesses, the challenge is to frame them positively during your job interview.

This doesn't mean pretending your weaknesses are actually strengths, but rather demonstrating a growth mindset and highlighting your proactive efforts to improve.

Let's consider an example: you've identified public speaking as a weakness. Rather than stating, "I'm not good at public speaking," which ends on a negative note, you could say, "Public speaking has been a challenge for me.

However, I've joined a local Toastmasters club to improve my skills, and I've already seen significant progress."

The key is to show that you're aware of your weaknesses and are actively working to overcome them. This not only gives a positive spin to your weaknesses but also illustrates your resilience and determination.


Structuring Your Response: The STAR Method

Knowing how to frame your weaknesses positively is a crucial step, but it's equally essential to present your responses effectively. One proven approach to crafting impactful responses is the Situation, Task, Action, Result (STAR) method.

The STAR method involves discussing a specific situation or task where you faced difficulties due to your weakness, explaining the actions you took to overcome this issue, and sharing the positive results that emerged from your actions.

Take our previous public speaking example. You might share a situation where you were required to give a presentation (Situation) as part of your team's quarterly review (Task). You could then explain that you enrolled in a Toastmasters club and practiced your presentation multiple times to gain confidence (Action). Finally, you'd highlight that despite your initial nervousness, your presentation was well-received, and you've since been able to present with increasing confidence (Result).

The STAR method allows you to not only admit to a genuine weakness but also demonstrate your problem-solving skills and determination to improve, making your response to "What are your weaknesses?" much more compelling.


Preparing for the Interview: Role of CV Wallet 

Now that we've explored how to address the "What are your weaknesses?" question, let's look at how CV Wallet can support your interview preparation. CV Wallet, the world's first career management app, offers a comprehensive suite of smart tools for jobseekers.

The Career Hub feature can provide AI-powered support, offering valuable advice on interview preparation and application writing. This can help you craft more effective responses, not only to the "weaknesses" question but to a variety of common interview queries.

With CV Wallet's Blue Tick verification, you can authenticate your skills, qualifications, and experience, adding credibility to your interview responses.

The decentralised wallet feature also enables you to securely store important documents like performance reviews that can aid in understanding and formulating your responses regarding weaknesses.


Other Frequently Asked Job Interview Questions

Preparing for "What are your weaknesses?" can also help you answer other common interview questions. These might include "Tell me about yourself," "Why do you want to work here?" or "Describe a challenge you faced at work and how you handled it."

Many of these questions aim to evaluate your self-awareness, critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and capacity for personal growth—skills you're already honing by preparing for the "weaknesses" question.


Conclusion: Turning Weaknesses into Opportunities

In the end, every interview is an opportunity for growth. When asked, "What are your weaknesses?" view it as a chance to showcase your self-awareness, honesty, resilience, and commitment to personal development. Remember, it's not about presenting a perfect image—it's about showing potential employers that you're capable of recognising your shortcomings and transforming them into opportunities for improvement.

For comprehensive support throughout your job-seeking journey, consider downloading CV Wallet. With its suite of innovative tools, CV Wallet empowers you to take control of your career, from job applications to interviews and beyond.

Ready to take your career to the next level?

CV Wallet is the world's first career management app. Our suite of tools is built to make finding your dream job faster and easier.

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