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 if you're unlucky, the ideal place to embarrass yourself. However, you can’t avoid it even if you wanted to. There is one question that stands out as trickier than the others: what is your weakness?

No need to panic. Here at College Life, we've got the solutions to most of your problems and that includes impossible interview questions. Here are three strategies you can use when you’re asked about weaknesses at interviews!

hard interview in open space

The worst questions asked during interviews

Questions about weaknesses at interviews are bound to come up. The tricky thing with this type of question is that you don’t want to sound like you aren't qualified for the job. So, how do you answer questions about weaknesses at job interviews?

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

What is the job looking for: do they want good teamwork or better interpersonal skills? Are they asking for creativity and innovation? If you have an idea of what their ideal candidate looks like, you can adapt your answer to that profile. And no, we are not saying you should lie. You should always be honest because a) if they ask you to do something you're unable to, you’re in trouble and b) karma.

Beyond tailoring your answer to your employer's search profile,  you can also avoid using the word ‘weakness’. Here’s how.

Talking about weaknesses at interviews

Repurpose common skills

Are you looking for a job 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. Then, turn it around and say, 'But I am efficient and motivated when working by myself and can manage my time well'. 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 as it communicates that your work 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 look over your work.

Improvement is irresistible

Employers want to know that you can improve and use feedback. What better way to show that then to come right out and say it? You can always talk about a weakness that you 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.

Or, on the other hand, you can explain why your perfectionism works well for you. If you know that you are a perfectionist and that it might be considered a weakness, you can still use it to your advantage. Say that you're great at meeting deadlines and that you have high standards for your work because of it!

Ace your interviews

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 some 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!

Leave a Comment

Image of working student