Interviews

List of Weaknesses: Job Interview Answers and Examples

two woman talking and sitting at desk

The interview is your opportunity to impress the interviewer with your skills, knowledge and experience. In the middle of explaining how great you are, you don’t want to be talking about things that could put employers off, but you may be asked to answer: “What is your greatest weakness?”. 

To stop you losing your train of thought when presented with a question you may not have prepared for, here are 10 weaknesses to consider and example responses that put a positive spin on your weakness: 

  1. I’m more productive when working on my own
  2. I’m unorganised
  3. I find it difficult to delegate
  4. I lack experience in X software
  5. I’m petrified of public speaking
  6. At times, I lack confidence
  7. I can be impatient with colleagues
  8. I find it hard to maintain a healthy work-life balance
  9. I can struggle with time management
  10. I take constructive criticism personally

I’m more productive when working on my own

While you may be self-sufficient and are highly productive working solo, the interviewer may be concerned that you won’t fit into their team working environment. So, in your answer it’s important to show that you’re capable of both: 

I believe my greatest weakness is that I’m more productive when working on my own as I can easily get distracted by others. To make sure I’m completing my tasks on time when working on a team project I make a list of priority tasks with their deadline to keep myself on track. I also try to find a quiet space to work from when I feel there are too many distractions.

 

I’m unorganised 

Not everyone is bothered about keeping documents organised but if you’re working on a team project, it’s important that others can easily access them. The interviewer may be worried that bringing someone onboard who lacks organisation will hold up projects. Show them that this isn’t the case: 

My greatest weakness is that once I get absorbed in a project keeping documents up-to-date loses priority. When putting all my focus into doing a good job I’ve also come to realise that it’s vital my colleagues have access to the most up-to-date versions of files. In the past, as a team, we’ve switched to online systems so that changes made to documents are automatically saved.”

Related [50 Most Common Interview Questions

 

I find it difficult to delegate

When an interviewer hears that you find it difficult to delegate, they may interpret this as you don’t trust your colleagues to do a good job. Another worry might be that by trying to do everything yourself, you take too much on and the project suffers. Explain how you’re able to overcome this: 

Because I like to keep control of the project I’m leading on, I sometimes find it difficult to delegate tasks. I’ve learned that greater results can be achieved by trusting others who are more skilled and experienced than I am. While I still feel the need to be in control, I’m learning to let go when it’s needed.”

 

I lack experience in X software 

It might be that the job requires you to use certain software that you’re not familiar with. Don’t shy away from saying that you haven’t used it before as your employer will easily find out when they hire you. In your response show how a lack of experience won’t hold you back. 

Example response involving Xero software: 

From reading the job description I understand that the job involves using Xero.  While I don’t have experience with this software, I have used Sage in the past, and from doing some research I understand this is very similar.  I’m a quick learner and picking up new skills is something I enjoy. So, I’m confident I’ll soon be competent using Xero.” 

Related [How To Answer Some Of The Most Toughest Interview Questions]

 

I’m petrified of public speaking 

Some people are happy to stand in front of a group of people and speak, while others find it petrifying, and some find it causes anxiety. Even if your role doesn’t involve speaking to large groups, you may have to voice your ideas at team meetings or present to clients. The hirer will need to be confident that you’re capable of doing this: 

I feel my greatest weakness is not being confident when speaking in public. In the past, when I’ve been asked to speak publicly I’ve found myself becoming tongue-tied. I don’t want this to hold my career back, so I push myself to speak in public whenever I can. I’ve also enrolled on a course to learn how to overcome my nerves with public speaking.”

 

At times, I lack confidence 

Maybe, you’ve been put down by an ex-boss or your ideas were ridiculed by ex-colleagues? These bad experiences can impact your confidence and affect the quality of your work. The interviewer is looking for someone who can do the job well without being hand-held. When answering, show that you’re able to spot when your confidence is low and explain how you deal with it: 

When I feel my self-belief slipping I remind myself of the value I bring to the team, the wins I’ve had in my career and the positive things I’ve had fed back to me in appraisals. I take a moment to reflect on what is causing my lack of confidence and seek advice or support from colleagues when I feel it’s necessary.” 

Related [11 Perfect Questions To Ask At An Interview]

 

I can be impatient with colleagues

You may approach each project with 100% energy and manage to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously with ease. While this is a huge plus for your employer, if you show impatience for colleagues who aren’t able to do the same, conflict could arise.  Explain how you’re getting on top of this:  

I put 100% effort into my work but I’ve been told I can become impatient when I feel a team project is slipping behind schedule. I’m overcoming this by understanding that my colleagues may have different priorities, that working together will achieve greater results and that it’s important to communicate with each other to keep the project on track.” 

 

I find it hard to maintain a healthy work-life balance

Some may see putting long hours in at work as a sign of dedication, but it can also show that you struggle to complete everything in the hours given. It’s also a potential health and safety risk for your employer, as working long hours can lead to burnout. Explain the steps you take to get a grip on this: 

My dedication to my work has meant at times I find it hard to maintain a healthy work-life balance. I’m recognising that working long hours isn’t good for my health, my personal life or my productivity. I’m overcoming this by setting reminders to take regular breaks, using techniques to focus on a task for a set time and I’m learning to block out distractions.

Related [How To Prepare For A Job Interview]

 

I can struggle with time management 

It can feel like there’s never enough time in the day. And, if you’re someone who is always playing catch-up, whether that’s getting to work on time or taking on too much responsibility so you overrun on projects, poor time management can be a big concern for employers. In your answer, show how you’re working to improve this: 

One of my greatest weaknesses is effective time management. While I’ve never missed a deadline, I can take on too much and these extra tasks/responsibilities can eat into my time. To ensure I’m using my time effectively, I keep a weekly schedule and use a project management app to prioritise tasks. I also delegate tasks to more experienced/skilled members of the team to maximise my productivity.” 

 

I take constructive criticism personally 

If you’re able to see constructive criticism for what it is – a chance to improve, then you’re lucky. Lots of people struggle with criticism, even when it’s delivered with good intentions. If you react negatively to constructive criticism it could lead you to developing a negative mindset and possibly create tension with colleagues. 

In your answer, detail how you’re turning this around:

At times I’ve failed to see that what my peers are saying is helpful and I’ve taken their constructive criticism as a personal attack. Even if I don’t 100% agree with what they’re saying I’m taking the time to reflect, analyse what they’re saying and pick out key points that I use to improve myself in the future.” 

Related [5 Type Of Interviews And How To Ace Them