POV: You just got a cal invite for an upcoming interview. That means it's time to start prepping. Don't know where to begin? Start by working on your answer for a question that stumps many candidates: ‘What are your weaknesses?’ And no, it’s not a trick question — but it can definitely feel like one. That’s why we reached out to Charnay Horton, career coach and CEO of Resume Addict, for tips on the best way to answer the question.
Why do interviewers always ask this question?
Horton says hiring managers want to know if you’re self-aware. Which is why a response like, ‘I don’t have weaknesses,’ could ruin your chances of landing the role. Because, let’s be real, we all have things we need to work on.
Instead, Horton says it’s a good idea to be transparent about one or two things you know you need to work on that tie back to your career. “For example, being self-critical of your workload,” Horton explains. “You personally are hard on yourself and want to present your best self in a professional manner. Perhaps you've recognized that nobody is perfect and as long as you are collaborating and being mindful of what you're presenting, it eases the stress of your workload.”
I’m listening. Any other tips for how to answer ‘what are your weaknesses?’
Try focusing on a weakness that’s relatable and won’t raise eyebrows about your ability to handle your new (potential) role. Some starting points: Not being assertive enough at work, not speaking up enough in meetings, or having trouble managing work-life balance. And don’t forget to highlight what you’re doing to improve your weaknesses, Horton advises.
Need an example of how you can frame your answer? Check out the video above. Or, feel free to use this script from Horton as a starting point.
“Tell me about your weaknesses” is a popular interview Q that can often feel like a trap. The key to acing the question: Make the improvements the highlight of your response. And, remember, there’s no wrong way to answer — except saying you have no weaknesses.
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