What’s your biggest weakness? Certainly, you must have heard this statement in most job interviews. The power of the first impression is often underestimated in real life situations regardless of the hype around it. You get one shot, and that’s it! Learning how to answer a question about your weaknesses is can make or break an interview. The most challenging part would be making your weaknesses sound positive without coming off as pretentious or scripted.
Here are few tips for making your weaknesses sound positive!
1. Refrain from repeating common answers
Avoid clichéd exit routes which do not demonstrate weakness but only shows lack of self-knowledge and radiate ignorance or ego. “Working too hard”, “perfectionist”, “I do not have any weaknesses” are very common answers which are actually not fruitful at all. You may want to avoid such responses.
Be realistic, and put yourself in the interviewers’ shoes. They do not need pretentious answers. Having a plan beforehand can help answer such questions, but with the right approach answering such questions will become your second nature. Not admitting weaknesses shows a lack of humility. Stand out from the crowd, you are an individual, be honest about yourself!
2. Demonstrate self-awareness
The whole point of the interviewers asking you about your weakness is to test how self-aware you are as an individual. Self-awareness is a prime indicator of emotional intelligence, a trait which is always necessary for functioning well in team environments.
The sheer ability to honestly admit one’s weakness and talking about it smartly shows an amazing degree of self-awareness. Acknowledging a problem is the first step in solving it, and many do not even get to that step. This already puts you one step ahead of many competitors.
Try introspecting and understanding yourself better from different perspectives to become a more self-aware individual.
3. Honesty is the best policy
Let’s be honest, no one likes a phoney. So instead of sugarcoating your weaknesses with cliched statements like “I am a perfectionist” & “I work too hard,” when you genuinely share your weaknesses mindfully with your interviewer, you radiate honesty.
Imagine you are hiring someone on a venture in which you have spent all your life’s savings: Would you trust someone honest enough to admit that he/she is a slow but avid learner; or someone who claims to be Mr/Miss Perfect, and does not even know or is hiding his/her limitations?
As much as being honest is great, do keep the information relevant. No one needs to know whether you are really bad at football or not. Unless your weaknesses are relevant to work or the position you are being interviewed for, there is no reason for you to mention them.
4. Demonstrate grit
Grit; in other words, growth mentality, is going to earn you a lot of brownie points for learning from your mistakes. After honestly identifying your weaknesses you have to exhibit a desire to work on them and show signs of self-development.
Use examples of weaknesses which you worked on to turn them into your strengths to credibly demonstrate grit. Have you attended workshops and training sessions to improve your public speaking skills? Okay, if public speaking was never your weakness, did you do online courses to learn leadership skills? Did you take up mindfulness lessons to tackle your impulsive behaviour? Do you get the idea?
Just as with whatever weaknesses you have been actively trying to improve, remember other existing ones and have a plan and ambition to invert them too. Take constructive criticism wholeheartedly, avoid being defensive, as these criticisms are what would help you improve.
Once you demonstrate grit, your weaknesses would start working for you!
5. Work on confidence so that you can wear your mistakes like medals
Confidence is a prime skill that is necessary for every aspect of life to succeed. To make your weaknesses sound positive you definitely need to master the art of being confident.
Let’s say you have a lack of knowledge; you need to give the interviewer the impression that your ignorance is a monumental opportunity to learn and grow. If you are not a very patient person, you have to make it sound like you strive to reach your goals fast! You aren’t easily satisfied and your demands reach higher than the Everest? You must sound like you have high standards! See where this is going?
Basically, you need to confidently be aware of your weaknesses; see and show them in a positive light to make sure the interviewer has enough faith in you. Why would he/she hire you if they cannot count on you? Wear your mistakes like medals and be prepared to see the half-empty glass as a half-full one!
So the next time you get asked what your weaknesses are, remember this. The next time someone points out your weaknesses, remember this too. Nobody is perfect, we all have weaknesses. Our weaknesses make us unique, there is no need to mask them under false pretences.
The key thing to remember about our weaknesses is that they are opportunities for growth. As much as we embrace our unique quirks, we shouldn’t be complacent. We should always be working to improve ourselves and take every opportunity whether it be our own mistakes, constructive criticism, and even failures, to become better and better at whatever we are doing.