Answer questions about weaknesses at interviews like a pro

You're on the hunt for an internship or a part-time job in the Netherlands. You just sent off your CV with all your previous experience and now you’ve made it to the interview stage. Congratulations! However, not everyone loves interviews. Interviewing is an introvert’s worst nightmare and the ideal place to embarrass yourself, if you’re unlucky. However, you can’t avoid it, even if you wanted to. But there is one question that stands out as trickier than the others: what is your weakness. But, no need to panic; we have three answers for you to use when you’re asked about weaknesses at interviews, and it's actually pretty easy!

Don’t worry, we would never leave you hanging.

Image of student being asked about weaknesses at interviews

The monster of all interview questions: what is your weakness?

Questions about weaknesses at interviews are bound to come up. The tricky thing with this question is that you don’t want to sound like you won’t be able to do the job. Then they won’t hire you, and that’s the opposite of what you want, right? So, how do you answer this questions about weaknesses at job interviews?

First of all, don’t say you don’t have any weaknesses. For one, it’s a lie. Secondly, the interviewer will know it’s a lie and it will make you sound arrogant, a quality no one wants to be known for…

What is the job asking for; do they want good team work, or better one-on-one skill? Or, do they want creativity and innovation? If you have an idea of this, you can twist your answer to that. And no, we are not saying you should lie. You should always be honest, because a) if they ask you to do something you can’t do, you’re in trouble, and b) karma.

But what you can do is avoid using the word ‘weakness’. Here’s how.

How to Answer About Weaknesses at Interviews 101

Swerve the relatable skills

Are you looking for a job somewhere where you are required to come up with a lot of ideas on your own, or carry out projects solo? If so, you could mention that your strong point is not group presentations, for example. Then turn it around and say, ‘but I am efficient and motivated when working by myself, and can manage my time well'. But, make sure to make it clear that you can still work with feedback from others. For example, you could say ‘I sometimes find it a bit more difficult to present in groups, whereas I am extremely confident presenting and working individually. However, I am always open to group feedback, and appreciate discussing ideas as a group to come up with more creative approaches’. Obviously, if you are looking to work in an environment where group work is essential, you can flip that scenario around.

Images of students being asked about weaknesses at interviews

Glass half full instead of half empty

Another way to answer this question is to turn the bad into the good. What we mean is, you can make a weakness sound like the best thing ever! Avoid the common mistake of saying ‘I am too much of a perfectionist’. In your head, it might sound great: my work is too perfect and it is always of the best quality. While that may be true, it also sounds like you take ages to complete one simple task.

A better answer would be: ‘I am focused on quality and detail, and always want to produce the best work as fast as possible so that I can go back and correct any mistakes’. Sounds a bit better, right? Now it sounds like you pay attention to detail, but still work quickly and have time to check over your work, meaning it will be 100x better.

Improvement is irresistible

Employers want to know you can improve and use feedback. What better way to show that than come right out and say it? You can always talk about a weakness that you’ve had in the past and are improving. For example, maybe you are bad at time-management, but you’ve learned to schedule your time and have your own personal system for deadline management. (All thanks to the ‘best books for students’ that you read, but they don’t need to know all the details).

Or, on the other hand, you can detail why your perfectionism works well for you. You know you are a perfectionist and that it might be considered a weakness, but you use it to your advantage. You are great at meeting deadlines and your work is of a really good standard because of it!

Ace your interview

With these answers to questions about weaknesses at interviews, you will surely make a great impression and get your dream job! Remember to say honest, because lying will come to haunt you later down the road. Having said that, framing the truth in a positive light will show your interviewer that your weaknesses are actually one of your best assets! Now go ace that interview.

Do you have any interview tips and tricks, or other ways of answering this question? Leave us a comment!