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What Is a Good Weakness to Say at an Interview?

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When it comes to the classic "what's your weakness" question in job interviews, not every candidate should be expected to give the same response. What you definitely should say is something that paints you in a good light. Mention the weakness, but then find a way to show how it's helped you learn and grow as a worker.

What the Employer Wants

Variations on this question include things like "tell me about your biggest challenges" or "talk about a problem you've overcome." However it's worded, this is yet another chance to show the prospective employer that you're the ideal candidate. Review the job posting ahead of the interview to jog your memory about the top skills, qualifications or qualities the employer is looking for. When you find three or four that you can use to describe yourself, think of how you learned those skills. Perhaps you learned something through trial and error or you recognized a weak spot and worked on it. Those things are definitely worth mentioning as a potential "weakness."

Paint Yourself in a Good Light

If you've been bad at organization, tell the employer how you've struggled in the past, and how you've learned to fix it, suggests manager Alison Green of U.S. News & World Report. If you struggled with leadership, describe a course you took and how it's helped you emerge as a leader. An honest assessment of your weak spots is good -- but don't mention weaknesses that don't have anything to do with work, or use boilerplate responses like "I work too hard" or "I am a perfectionist." Those responses are so common that they won't make much of an impact, suggests Enterprise Rent-A-Car group talent acquisition manager Dylan Schweitzer, in an article in Forbes.

References

About the Author

Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

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  • Kim Carson/Photodisc/Getty Images