You've landed an interview at your dream company, and you're sitting down with your potential future boss. The excitement is REAL! Your interview is going swimmingly...until they pop the notorious question:

"What is your biggest weakness?"

Woman breathing out of a paper bag.

DON'T PANIC!

As off-putting and self-destructive as this question may seem, it is not a trick question. Most interviewers today will ask it to get a better sense of your self-awareness and self-improvement.

Answers To Avoid

  1. Strength disguised as a weakness.

Im a perfectionist.

I work too hard.

These come off as unrealistic and disingenuous.

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  1. Denial.

    Weaknesses? I really don't have any of those.

No one is perfect. This answer displays over-confidence and naivety.

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  1. Humour.

    My biggest weakness? Chocolate :)

    This may be true, but this does not relate to landing your dream job!

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7 Steps To Answering The Question

✅ Choose a weakness that will not prevent you from succeeding in the role.

✅ Be honest and choose a real weakness.

✅ Provide an example of how you've worked to improve your weakness.

✅ Demonstrate self-awareness and an ability to lean on your peers for growth.

✅ Don't be arrogant and don't underestimate yourself.

Two women speaking privately at an office table. Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Who Would Land The Job?

These three candidates have applied for a project manager role at a technology company.

They've been asked, "What is your biggest weakness?"

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My weakness is time management. I've been known in the past to leave things until the last minute, or submit them overdue. I promise I wouldn't do that here if I got the job!

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Ayesha

My weakness is my timidity. I'm naturally shy, and I've found myself holding back ideas in meetings. I'm very aware of this flaw, so I've spoken with my manager, who purposely calls on me in larger settings to help me speak up. It's a work in progress, but I'm proud of how far I've come.

Flaticon Icon Moab

I'm a perfectionist. I will not stop until what I've produced is up to my own 100% standards. I'll stay up all night to get it done — I don't mind burnout. Work is my #1 priority.

Quiz

Who would be most likely to land the job?

Actions That Demonstrate Self-Improvement

The secret sauce is not in your weakness itself, but in the wayyou respond. The interviewer wants to hear how you're overcoming your weakness, what you've learned, and how you're applying these lessons to improve yourself.

Actions that demonstrate self-improvement:

  • Leaning on co-workers to learn a new skill

  • Asking your boss to shadow your calls for constructive feedback

  • Taking a free online course to gain a deeper understanding of a concept

  • Volunteering on a new team at work to improve collaboration

Progress is better than perfection.

Take Action

Before your interview, take time to identify the weakness you can speak to. Prepare your action plan!

Woman yelling

Tips to Identify Your Biggest Weakness:

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This Byte has been authored by

LM

Lexie Morris

Onboarding Specialist