How to answer “Weaknesses” questions

How to answer "About" Questions

Why are recruiters asking this?

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. If you’re not aware of things you need to improve, then you don’t seem self-aware or honest. No one is perfect. But you can strike a balance in responding to this type of question. 

So what can you say? 

          -“I’m a perfectionist” is unoriginal and cliché. Instead you can say “I                          sometimes focus on small details instead of long-term goals.”

          -“I work too hard” has a similar feel – seems like you’re trying to please                  and it’s hard to describe. Instead you can describe how you’re trying to                  use technology to work more efficiently (for example automatically                        scheduling meetings). 

In any instance be sure to tell a story and try to quantify where possible. One person’s view of “too long” or “too much” is another person’s “too little” and “too short”!

Checklist for a great answer

  • Tell a relatable story
  • Explain your approach to fix it
  • 2 to 3 minutes long
  • STAR answer (Situation - Task - Action -Result)

Examples

In my first role as a manager of a sales team, I was responsible for a team of 3 people who were all around my same age. In addition to this role, I was continuing to manage my own accounts. Doing both seemed stressful, and I had previously received feedback that I could improve my time management.
I was happy to be promoted but unsure of how to establish the relationship among my former colleagues and manage my own time so I wasn’t working excessive hours (usually 60+ hours per week). I decided to set 2 check-in meetings with my team each week. With a fixed appointment, I didn’t feel like a micromanager, and my team could also anticipate these times to bring forward issues. Ultimately it is a more efficient use of everyone’s time and helped me to transition into the role as manager.

Other similar questions

  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What are three things your former manager would like you to improve on?
  • What is your least favorite thing about yourself?
  • Why shouldn't we hire you?
Category: Q&A

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