In this post you’re going to learn:
- What is a “weakness”?
- The psychology behind this question (Why are they asking it?)
- A concrete example of how to answer this question
I’m Natalie Fisher – Speaker and Coach to new grads.
I help recent grads feel confidently in charge of their careers and the jobs they want (even if they have limited experience) by helping them master their interviewing skills.
First, I want to share how you can answer this question confidently:
1. What is a “weakness?”
➢ I think of it this way:
If you didn’t know how to do something, and now you do, that was a weakness, but now it’s not. For instance, say you didn’t know how to create a powerpoint presentation, but then you learned how to.
➢ Sometimes a weakness is just a skill that you haven’t mastered yet.
Weaknesses are neither good nor bad – they are just facts of life that we ALL have. It’s not a characteristic you were born with and it’s not a strength that’s just pretending to be a weakness.
Okay, now that’s out of the way – let’s get into the rest of it.
2. The psychology behind this question (Why are they asking it?)
➢ They are asking this question to get an idea of how human you are.
They want to see if you’re able to own up to the fact that you’re not perfect at everything. No one likes someone who’s good and perfect at everything,
➢ Also, they want to throw you off a bit, and see if you are going to be honest with them about this.
It’s all too common for them to hear answers like, “I try too hard,” or “I work too much and don’t take a break.” Those answers won’t do.
3. A concrete example of how to answer this question
➢ You want to frame your weaknesses as stories.
There’s a formula for how to answer so that you can fill in the blanks and come up with your own answer. (Keep reading!)
➢ Explain to them what a weakness means to you:
I don’t really consider weaknesses things that will get in my way to get a job done, For example, what I mean is that once there was a career fair happening the next week and our designer was in charge of the brochure design. They needed to be done by a certain day to get sent to the printers.
Our designer then called in sick and ended up on medical leave, so she wasn’t able to deliver on time. You might say that Photoshop was a weakness of mine since I had absolutely no experience using it. I knew that the brochures had to get done regardless, so I went on a learning resource called linda.com and I taught myself the key elements of what I needed to design the brochures.
We got them to the printers on time and I was able to get them back for the career fair.
This may have been a weakness, but I learned how to do it so it didn’t stop the progress of the project.
And there you have it:
What this question really means and an example for how you can answer it confidently.
Thank you for reading! And remember that answering questions is one thing, but there is a lot more to interviewing than just answering the questions.
In fact, if all you do is answer the questions alone, you’ve already lost at the interview.
There is a whole interview strategy at play, and if you’d like to learn more, you can get started with me by clicking the link below to grab my free guide: