1 Why Do Interviewers Ask “ What Is Your Greatest Weakness?’’
1.1 To Check Your Honesty
When hiring managers ask "What is your greatest weakness?'' this is to often check if you are open about your professional weaknesses. This shows your vulnerability and honesty which is important in your career.
1.2 To Ensure You Are Self-Aware About Yourself
With a probing question like "What is your greatest weakness?" Interviewers want to ensure you have the ability to analyze yourself and that you recognize the areas that you need to improve upon. This will help you upskill yourself in your field and in the long term.
1.3 To Analyze Your Emotional Quotient
This is an essential quality that managers look for in candidates, as it shows your ability to manage your emotions and identify your motivations. It will help you assess things in situations and also help in decision-making.
1.4 To Evaluate Your Willingness For Self-Improvement
This is a good quality in candidates as it is important to have room for improvement, willingness to learn, and constructive criticism from seniors and managers.
Read our article on 5 Ways to Answer "What Can You Contribute to This Company?” here.
2 How To Answer “ What Is Your Greatest Weakness?”
2.1 Analyze Yourself First
Take time to self-reflect and identify certain things about yourself.
- What are the challenges you encounter regularly?
- What are your personal goals?
- What feedback have you received in the past?
This gives you clarity about what areas you need to improve on.
2.2 Prepare A Structure For The Answer
To tackle the question “What is your greatest weakness?”, ensure that your answer is structured in complete relevance to the role you are applying to. A goal-oriented response with the skills and qualities that are needed will stand out.
2.3 Ensure To Convey Your Weakness In A Positive Manner
Share your weaknesses in a positive manner when you respond to a classic question like "What is your greatest weakness?". It should be displayed as an opportunity for you to learn in your field. Share an example of a time when you asked someone for help in an area you’ve identified as a weakness. This shows you’ll work with the team to balance out the weakness. For instance, if you want to say micromanaging as a weakness, you should convey it in a structured and positive manner.
2.4 Be Honest
Being perfect leads to burnout. Be open about the areas you’re weak in and how you want to improve on them as a smart answer to the classic "What is your greatest weakness?". Mention the tools and software you would like to learn to enhance your skills in your problem areas.
Read our article on 7 Simple Ways to Answer “What Makes You Unique?” in Your Job here.
3 What is Your Greatest Weakness answer Examples?
3.1 Example 1: Talkative
Mentioning this as a weakness shows you’re self-aware of how being talkative can create distractions for others in the workplace. It also shows you are mature enough to build healthy relationships with coworkers but not hamper their productivity.
“I like to bond with my coworkers over conversations. It is a great way to break the ice. However, I do have a tendency to carry on the conversation beyond a point which results in distracting my colleagues. Since then, I have understood that I can use other methods and appropriate times to interact with my coworkers, and I should keep inquiries about their days brief and return to my work.”
3.2 Example 2: Shyness
It can be quite natural to feel shy in a new workplace, meet new people, and get adjusted to your role. By mentioning this to your managers, it could be helpful for them to conduct team-building activities for you to get comfortable. This is a common answer to the question “What is your greatest weakness?”.
“I am a reserved and shy person, and I take time to get comfortable and be a part of the group. This has made it quite challenging to make new friends. Looking forward to the new job where I can introduce myself to others, and feel confident about myself. I’m hoping to be a part of many productive group interactions so I can evolve as a person too”
Read our article on 5 Ways to Answer “Tell Me About Yourself” in Your Interview here.
3.3 Example 3: Procrastination
A lot of people struggle with procrastination, and you should adopt ways to tackle it. Recruiters shouldn’t feel that you might miss deadlines due to this habit. Plan on methods to manage it like using a productivity tool or software to track your time.
“Since college, procrastination has been quite the struggle for me. I used to work all night and never miss a deadline at my first job, due to which I never considered this a weakness. However, I noticed how it impacted my team’s productivity and the outcome of a project, and I decided to work on it. I changed my approach to projects and motivated myself more and it has resulted positively in my work.
I no longer rely on last-minute stress.”
3.4 Example 4: Self-Criticism
Times, when you feel like you, could have done more, or you could have done better, or couldn’t give you all, hampers your self-confidence and motivation. Self-criticism as a weakness should be tackled with a positive outlook towards yourself. Your managers can give you positive feedback from time to time. Below is a self-criticism weakness example.
“One of the aspects about myself that I consider a weakness is that I’m too hard on myself, and I often feel that I am not giving my all. This has caused me to overwork myself, burn out, and feel inferior to my coworkers even though I did not have any issues with my performance by my managers. Last year, I worked on myself in an effort to be fairer to myself”
Read our article on 10 Ways to Answer "Why Are You the Best Person for This Job?” here.
3.5 Example 5: Fear Of Public Speaking
Even though public speaking may not be a part of your role, this shows you’re willing to step out and learn something outside of your business needs. It demonstrates ambition and setting goals for yourself. This is a common answer to the question “What is your greatest weakness?”.
"I find myself nervous when I speak in front of a crowd. Although I didn’t need to do much public speaking in my role as a web designer, I still believe it is a valuable skill, especially when I want to present my views at a meeting. To address this, my manager suggested that I speak in every meeting and discuss the project timeline, deadlines, and goals while creating a website for a client. Because of this, I can now speak with ease and support my team when needed.
Read our article on 20 Top Remote Job Interview Questions and Answers here.
3.6 Example 6: Over-Working
It is important to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and not burn yourself out. You need to manage your time between your personal and professional life. Prioritize tasks and give yourself time. This is a common aspect when answering the question “What is your greatest weakness and how do you overcome it?”
“I overestimated my capacity, both physically and mentally. I was always busy and constantly trying to catch up in my previous stint. I have decided to prioritize my duties in an effort to help myself. Due to this, I can work on my assignments with ease, one thing at a time. When I feel like I have enough time, I work better. I am making an effort to make the most of my time outside of work so that I return to the office feeling renewed.“
Read our article on 5 Ways to Write a Follow-Up Email After your Interview here.
3.7 Example 7: Impatience
Managing your patience in time-bound situations or dealing with colleagues who are slacking can be challenging. It is a skill to be learned to not let your emotions get the best of you in a workplace. This is a common answer to the question “What is your greatest weakness?”.
Oftentimes, my impatience wins. I have a tendency to get irritated when I’m working on a team project and we’re not doing the task at hand in the best way possible. This has impacted my interactions with coworkers at my previous job. So, I’ve decided to join a course to learn to be more patient in the workplace. I am also practicing it outside of work as a daily exercise.”
3.8 Example 8: Timidity
Many times, timidity can be seen as a flaw in workplaces, particularly if a role requires giving feedback to others. Being timid could be seen as being soft. Structure the answer positively and use it as a strength. This is a common aspect when answering the question “What is your greatest weakness and how do you overcome it?”
"I admit that I sometimes hesitate to offer constructive criticism to coworkers as I can be timid or soft while doing so, out of concern for their feelings. Although, in my previous stint, a colleague asked me to review his work and offer suggestions for improvement. I learned that through interaction with him when given in the appropriate circumstances, criticism can be both constructive and compassionate. Since then, I have improved my feedback-giving skills and utilized empathy to give thoughtful suggestions.”
Read our article on How to Answer “Why Do You Want to Work Remotely” here.
3.9 Example 9: Micromanaging
If you are applying to a leadership role or a managerial role, this is an important aspect to convey to a question like "What is your greatest weakness". You are willing to admit your methods aren’t the best and most effective, but you are flexible to learn, improve and grow.
“I used to work in places that required me to develop a strong work ethic among my team members. I’ve become accustomed to this method that I’m not able to tell who might benefit from the coaching and who does not. To address this, I have been reading about productive delegation and team building. Assuring myself that my team will follow if I set clear expectations is one strategy that works for me. I am learning to trust my team.”
3.10 Example 10: Disorganized
Being organized helps keep a clear mind to focus on work. Addressing this weakness shows that you want to perform your best in the role, and you are willing to put in the steps to be more organized. This also shows that you are self-aware. This is a typical answer to the question “What is your greatest weakness?”.
"I have trouble staying organized, be it my desk, my desktop files, and other things. Although it hasn’t impacted my performance, I find that a disorganized desk still bothers my efficiency. I have realized that setting aside time to organize my physical and digital space has helped me improve my productivity throughout the week.”
Read our article on Best Possible Answers and Tips to the Interview Question "Describe your Work Ethic" here.
4.1 What should a "greatest weakness sample answer include?
The greatest weakness sample answer can include - lack of patience, lack of organizational skills, timidity, fear of public speaking, and indecisiveness.