“What are your biggest weaknesses?” is a common behavioral question that employers often like to ask candidates. Hiring managers at the biggest companies continue to closely observe responses to this crucial question, and consequently make hiring decisions after accounting for other related parameters as well. Candidates can often expect to be asked this question regardless of the job role they’re applying to.
In this article, we’ll look at some good weaknesses to mention in interviews. We talk about what weaknesses to mention in interviews and how to elaborate on them.
Interviewers generally ask this question to understand the mentality behind candidates’ responses. They’re also eager to know how you turned your weaknesses around, how you prevented them from having a detrimental impact on your performance, and how you perhaps transformed a weakness into your strength.
The idea of this article is to help you highlight your weaknesses in a positive light - to evince that you’re aware of a certain area being your weakness, and you’re very likely to turn it around.
The main idea behind preparing for this question is to showcase your weakness as a springboard for success in the future.
Let’s move ahead and look at the best weaknesses to mention in interviews.
I find it hard to let go of a project
It is quite natural to hold on to a project despite a string of failures, especially in the wake of considerable effort, time and energy devoted towards it.
This is particularly true if you’re a team manager - there might’ve been times when you were asked to surrender a project because of consistently hitting roadblocks. The project might require you to adopt a different approach, or halt its progress due to resource and related constraints.
I find it hard to say no
While it is important to help your coworkers and sometimes commit to tasks outside your bandwidth, it is equally important to prioritize your work and strike the much needed balance.
While employers certainly appreciate qualities of nobility, generosity and lending a helping hand as they display an eagerness and desire to uplift oneself and others, overly exhibiting these traits can signify an attitude is submissive. More so, what employers appreciate more than qualities of goodness is the ability to finish work within deadlines and deliver at the highest standard.
To answer this question, you can say that there have been times in the past when you cut it too close because of getting involved in an activity outside your established bandwidth. You can also declare that you’ve been making considerable effort to effectively prioritize your work and learning to say no necessary.
I have trouble asking for help from a fellow colleague/superior
Asking for help can serve to benefit your understanding of projects and help you develop in the process. Although learning together and learning from each other has proven to deliver phenomenal results, some people hesitate to ask for professional help from colleagues or superiors. This isn’t an uncommon phenomenon, and can depend largely on the type of work environment that exists in a workplace.
It can feel uneasy to ask a coworker for help over the fear of being shunned, or because of sending across a negative impression - yes, it isn’t alien for people to sometimes think that asking for help can showcase them in a lesser light and dim their capabilities. This, however, isn’t always true, and has to be looked at from the upside of growing as a person in the process.
To answer this question, you can talk about how you sometimes have trouble asking for help from fellow coworkers, and how you believe that it’s important in certain situations, and you wish to change that. Employers often look for honesty in candidates, and appreciate sincere and forthright replies.
I find it difficult to work with certain types of people
No matter how flexible you are, you can find yourself in difficult situations with coworkers or superiors in a corporate setup. While this isn’t uncommon, personalities of certain people can make it difficult to work with them.
Well of course, if someone evidently displays characteristics of disinterest and lethargy, it can be difficult for any upright coworker to work with them.
To spell out this point in detail, you can talk about situations in the past where you've found it particularly difficult to work with people who exhibit certain characteristics and personalities. You can also refer to how you succeeded in bringing them to the negotiating table, made mutual amends, and worked together for the greater good of the project and organization.
I can sometimes lack confidence
Losing confidence, especially when things aren’t looking up in a project, isn’t unusual. In fact, while working on a tough project that runs into a ton of roadblocks, it becomes difficult to maintain motivation and enthusiasm. Even the brightest employees can see a dip in dynamism and zeal when the going gets overly arduous.
The best way to elaborate this point is to talk about how you find ways to regain motivation and confidence, perhaps even reinvent yourself in the process.
As a manager, I have the tendency to micromanage sometimes
Micromanagement isn’t particularly a great thing - it restricts workers from performing to their best by creating an air of discomfort. A survey on the success and limits of employee management by Forbes revealed that even the best performers at a workplace, performers who were exposed to minimal distractions and the highest work standards, found it uncomfortable to work in an environment where they are micromanaged. It also indicated that organizations that practice significant micromanagement displayed the highest attrition rates among employees.
As much as it kills productivity, micromanagement creates an unfavorable environment and precludes workers from giving their best.
I find it hard to point out flaws in coworkers
If your coworker is a slipshod at work, it can impact not just the project, but the overall productivity of the team.
It isn’t easy to point a finger at a coworker and call out his/her flaws, even if it means it’s impacting the progress of the project. Many large organizations have employed the logic of a chain being only as strong as its weakest link, thus incorporating regular appraisal cycles to cut weak links.
While pointing out this as a weakness, you can also state how you did go ahead, after much rumination, with having a constructive dialogue with a coworker who was slacking off, much to the benefit of the ongoing project.
I lose patience when projects overshoot deadlines
Patience is key to victory, especially if you’re working with a fairly long project. Maintaining patience and grit throughout is essential to keeping the momentum going. It isn’t strange for employees to lose patience when deadlines are overshot and projects become more intense and demanding.
To elaborate on how you’d combat the weakness, you can talk about steps you took when faced with a similar situation. You can talk about how you changed certain lifestyle habits to become more composed and calm at work, and how you went on to deal with tough scenarios with a clear head.
I get nervous when I’m faced with new challenges
Facing new challenges can be motivating sometimes, and unnerving at other times. A lot of the time, workers can face anxiety and nervousness when they’re asked to take on a completely new and challenging role.
To elaborate, you can talk about how you were nervous when taking on a new project that required you to develop new skills. You can then go on to mention how there were significant learnings in the process, and how your nervousness transformed into vigor and confidence over time.
I find it difficult to maintain a healthy work/life balance in the face of demanding projects
To maintain a healthy work-life balance is paramount to achieving success at your workplace. Sometimes, however, in light of highly demanding projects, your work-life balance can be thrown out of gear.
You can mention instances in the past where your work-life balance has been impacted after you took on an overly demanding and strenuous project, and how you’d like to make amends.
In recent times, mock interviews have helped candidates prepare for these significantly tough coding interviews with great success.
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