what is your biggest weakness

How to answer the question “What is your biggest weakness?”

Every english interview has common interview questions that you will need to answer after your interview introduction. If your interviewer asks you about your greatest strength, they will likely follow up with the question “What is your biggest weakness?”

Many people feel scared of this question. No one likes to admit they have faults. But that is exactly what you are going to do in your answer. Most importantly, you’re going to say what you are doing to improve.

This question is a chance to show that you are honest, introspective and capable of growth.

You want to use the opportunity to be genuine and share something that is a real weakness. If you try to lie or hide the truth, the interviewer will only be thinking about what you are not telling them instead of what you did tell them.

What not to do when answering about your biggest weaknesses

Don’t lie

A lie in a job interview is a quick way to disqualify yourself from the process. If you go further in the process, the interviewer will likely call your current employer and ask them about you.

If you try to say you don’t have weaknesses or choose something you think the interviewer wants to hear, it will come back to bite you later.

Don’t try to be tricky

If you do a Google search, you might find articles telling you to choose a weakness that is actually a strength. You might read about answers like “I’m a perfectionist” or “I care too much.”

Answers like this will cause your interviewer to roll their eyes.

This kind of answer is overused and insincere. It is a transparent attempt to avoid the questions and will not help you impress your interviewer. Now let’s talk about what you should do instead.

What you must do when answering the question “what is your biggest weakness?”

Choose a real weakness.

That doesn’t mean you need to choose something that will prevent you from doing the job. You don’t need to say (and shouldn’t say) that you’re always late or you have a drinking problem. 

But the weakness you choose should be something that you honestly struggle with in professional settings.

Some examples include:

  • I can be disorganized sometimes
  • I feel nervous speaking to large groups
  • I can be very critical sometimes
  • I have difficulty focusing on a single task
  • I can be impatient

By sharing a real weakness you are admitting what everyone already knows: you’re not perfect!

Everyone has their weaknesses and being able to recognize the areas where you need to develop your skills or gain more experience is important for your career development. With that in mind, there is one more thing you need to do in your answer…

Tell the interviewer how you are improving your weakness.

Now that you’ve shared your weakness, tell the interviewer the specific steps you are taking to improve yourself in relation to that weakness.

Talk about the actions you are taking with as much detail as possible and focus on your progress, not your failures.

For example, if your weakness is that you are disorganized, talk about the apps or tools you use to maintain a to-do list or keep track of project files. If you say you are impatient, talk about a breathing technique you’ve practiced to slow down and relax when you want things to move faster. 

By focusing on what you are doing to improve yourself, you’ve shown that you recognize an area that you need to improve and you are taking actions now to address the issue.

If you can do this when you answer the question “what is your biggest weakness?” then you will impress your interviewer and be one step closer to achieving your dream job.

An example answer for “What is your biggest weakness?”

Putting it all together, you get an answer something like this…

“Well, I think my biggest weakness is giving presentations to large audiences. In a small group meeting I feel okay, but as soon as there is more than 10 people or so, I start to feel nervous. I noticed this even more during the Covid-19 pandemic when 30-50 people would be on a Zoom call and I was asked to speak. Once I identified this fear, I started to look for ways to improve my confidence when speaking to groups. I found that practicing a presentation in front of a mirror helps me to feel more prepared and confident so I started employing this strategy. I’m still working on it, but I feel like I’m improving every day.”

In this answer, the interviewee shares a real fear and talks about a clear and active strategy to help overcome that fear. They give a little information about the problem, but they focus more on the fact that they are working hard to improve.

How would you answer this question? Leave a comment below and let me know! Join our conversation on Instagram.