What is the moment you fear most in a selection process? When you are asked what your weaknesses are in a job interview, it is, without a doubt, one of them. And, in these types of situations, we are so prepared to show our best version that it is not common for us to think about the aspects that we consider negative of our personality.
However, the answer you give can become a tool in your favor, since, ultimately, it depends more on how you formulate it and what you choose to highlight.
Why is the candidate asked about his weaknesses in a job interview?
The main objective when asking a candidate about their weaknesses in a job interview is to get to know them more and see how they would fit into the team. Therefore, there are no right and wrong answers. Without going any further, according to Lynn Taylor, an expert in labor relations, “each job has unique requirements, so your answers must show strengths applicable to the position in question and your weaknesses must reinforce an appropriate personality. At the very least, emphasize that your negative attributes have diminished thanks to your positive attitude.”
And, although sometimes one may think otherwise, the truth is that there is no hidden trap behind these questions. In fact, today companies can see weaknesses as aspects to work on and not as negative points. Therefore, we can affirm that there are no wrong answers, but there are some that are more appropriate than others depending on the context.
In this sense, and according to the job search platform Indeed, "the key to preparing for this question is to identify weaknesses that still communicate strengths. This will show the interviewer that you are introspective enough to know your areas of opportunity."
Most common questions to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses in a job interview
In addition to information about your weaknesses, in a job interview, there are other questions that can also put you in a bind if you have not prepared them well. Some of the most common are the following:
- “Tell me about yourself” – the idea is that here you express your achievements, goals and objectives in a clear, concise and sincere way. To do this, it is advisable that you prepare some answers before the interview in which you describe, without elaborating too much, what is most relevant and related to the position, your experience and why you aspire to that job.
- “Why should we hire you?” – They want to know what skills and abilities differentiate you from other candidates for the position. As with other questions, you must have a clear, well-structured and evidence-based answer.
- “What is your greatest weakness?” – is a question that says a lot about your character, your self-knowledge and your soft skills. The question does not focus on weaknesses as something negative.
“All employees have flaws, but how they dealt with failure and took steps to address them are indicators of how they will handle constructive criticism in the future.”
Keys to Talking About your Strengths and Weaknesses in a Job Interview
Weaknesses that can speak of strengths
When you're asked about your weaknesses in a job interview, in essence, the key to responding appropriately is to positively frame what could be obstacles. Thus, you will turn your Achilles heel into a strength. Let's look at some examples:
“I'm too detail oriented” – Saying that you focus too much on details may sound like a positive thing, although if you waste too much time reviewing something not relevant, it will end up being a problem.
Instead, say, “I'm a very detail-oriented person and used to waste a lot of time, but I'm making an effort to see the bigger picture.” This will indicate that you are working to change the negative aspect so as not to waste so much time, but, at the same time, you offer an image of confidence and quality in what you do.
“I don't know how to say no”: Helping other colleagues while you have your goals under control is something that can be highly valued. However, sometimes, if you do not balance your response, you can give the impression that you are a person who does not know how to set limits or that, for example, you may be late in deliveries because you have said yes to everything.
In this case, it would be appropriate to answer something like: “Sometimes I don't know how to say no. In the past it became a problem because I did not always complete my tasks for this reason, but now I am aware of the consequences it can have and I try to evaluate and organize my time to know what I can accept and what I cannot."
If you have to pass a job interview, it is essential to think about the answers to the uncomfortable questions, as they are a necessary part of the process. This way, you will have the preparation and peace of mind to answer any question about your strengths and weaknesses.
Beyond the techniques to best face a job interview, the only way to have sufficient confidence in these situations is to have adequate preparation. Without going any further, this is the key that will allow you to access better job opportunities.