It’s almost inevitable, you know….that question that requires you to speak about your negatives, pitfalls, flaws, weaknesses, mistakes, development areas….however you want to phrase it…how on earth do I answer it?
It might be asked –
- If I asked your current employer what your weaknesses were, what would he/she say?
- Please tell me about a time you failed on the job.
- So you’ve told me all about why you’re a good candidate; tell me about the areas you need to improve.
- Can you tell me about a mistake you made in your current role?
- What do you hope to have overcome/become better at in the workplace?
Don’t profess to not have any weaknesses or areas for improvement … we all do, so you’re going to have to do better than that! We all, no matter what stage of our career, have the capacity to learn, grow and refine our skills. If anyone tells you they are a perfect human being your response would be – right, sure, really??? So don’t try to tell an employer you have no weaknesses – it’s just embarrassing!
What you do want to do is be honest. Show that you are self-aware, you know where you need to improve and the steps you are taking to do so.
If you’ve made a mistake in the past (let’s face it, we all have and some have been beauties), what did you learn from this, what have you done to ensure that you don’t make the same mistake again?
When you are discussing weaknesses, make sure that you discuss what you are doing to improve it – it might be as simple as may forget the little jobs that need to be done when busy, so you keep a checklist of what is to be done. You check it regularly to make sure the important things are being done but the little things aren’t over looked. You’re being proactive about that weakness and your aware of it!
Make sure you have examples ready – not only for the ‘negative’ questions, but for examples of why you are the best candidate for the role, what experience you have had in the past that you can bring to this role. Being prepared will help you blitz that interview and get that next job!