Job Interview: Weaknesses Question – What you should not and should say

Job Interview: What are your weaknesses?

In a job interview, a common question that could come up is about strengths and weaknesses. People might be able to list and talk about their strengths, but sometimes, talking about weaknesses can be much harder.

We look at what to say when talking about your weaknesses but more importantly, what you should not say.

What you should not say as your weakness

Here are examples of things you should not say as a weakness.

1. Never mention as a weakness something that is a primary part of your job role

This example might seem obvious, but you need to think about it. If you were going for an Administrator job role. If you were asked for a weakness, you should never mention administration as a weakness. Doing so, will obviously lessen your chance of getting the role.

However, let’s think about this. Do not mention, anything that comes under the category of administration as a weakness, either. Unless, it really was a severe weakness, that they would so obviously find out when you had to carry out a task.

As part of your role as in administration, you might have to sometimes deal with financial data or use Microsoft Excel. So, don’t say, ‘I am not good at Microsoft Excel’.

If that is the case, then, not having good IT skills will mean that you will not be an effective administrator as IT is essential in the office.

As, IT skills is an important part of administration, you should not mention your weakness on it willingly, unless they bring it up. For instance, if they say ‘How good is your Excel skills?’

And, if you did get the job, you might only be using Microsoft Excel, occasionally. In addition, you could learn it and get adequate or good at it.

2. Do not mention anything as a weakness, that is a secondary part or an important part of your role

As an example. If your main role was giving advice and guidance to people, such as money advice. And, another aspect of your role required you to do outreach to gain referrals. Then don’t state ‘building partnerships’, as a weakness. This will impact your ability to effectively do the role.

Remember, that nobody can be really strong at everything. You have strengths and weaknesses. And, if building partnerships with external organisation is a weakness of yours, you can work on it to improve it. And, when you do, you might really be good at it.

3. Do not state anything as a weakness, that you can quickly learn

If there is something in the job specification, that you are not good at or have not done before, but it is easily learnt, then do not state that as a weakness.

As an example, if you were applying for an administrator role, and your role involved organising travel and booking accommodation. Don’t mention that as a weakness, just because you have not done that before.

This is something that you can quickly learn or be good at when you have actually done it once or a few times.

What you should say as your weakness

Here are examples of things you can say in a job interview as your weakness.

1. Weaknesses that do not relate to the job role

If you can, state a non-job related weakness. That weakness does not affect your ability to do your job.

As an example, if you were going for an accountant job, you can say that you are really bad at DIY and that you have to ask people for help when you are decorating. And, also say that you are learning it and getting better.

Even though you state a weakness, you have to show that you are doing something about it.

If they don’t accept that. They might ask you to mention a weakness in the working environment.

2. You cannot think of a particular weakness

Another thing you can say is, ‘I can’t think of a particular weakness. But, if I do have a weakness, I always try to improve upon it.

3. Weakness in the working environment

If having given the previous two examples, it is not enough and the interviewer(s), ask you to give an example of a weakness in the work environment, then give them an example.

However, what ever example you give, you must show how you managed to overcome it or improve upon it.

For example you could say. When you started work for a particular company, they had an internal database that you were not good at initially and found it difficult.

However, you overcame this by asking your colleagues to teach you. You practiced upon it frequently. And, you would ask your colleagues, if you could input their work onto the database for them so that you could get more practice.

And, now you are really good at it and you are a super user of the database.

Conclusion

Answering questions about weaknesses at a job interview can be difficult. However, we hope these tips and examples can help you to better answers.

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