Weaknesses to list for job interviews

Written by neil kokemuller Google
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Weaknesses to list for job interviews
Fear of heights would not be a good weakness to share in an interview for a window washer. (Highrise Window Washers image by Rick Chesler from Fotolia.com)

The first thing to understand about answering questions about weaknesses in a job interview is that you do not want to offer a "list." Experts universally agree that one specific, genuine and well-positioned weakness is the best method to respond to weakness questions. Weaknesses that you have worked to improve that are not overly concerning to the position you are interviewing for are best.

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Patience

In the CNN CareerBuilder article "Answering 6 common interview questions," an example of turning a weakness of patience into a positive is provided. The first point is to offer a genuine answer to this question because the interviewer wants to know that you are a real human with flaws. You can say something like, "My energy and enthusiasm have previously caused me to lack patience at times. However, I have worked hard to remain calm and use specific [mention them] techniques to exercise patience now." This example is more useful if patience is not a major sticking point to getting the job.

Organization

Organizational skills are a toss-up on appropriateness of use as a response to a weakness question. Steer clear of referencing weak organizational skills when applying for a job like personal assistant where they are important, advises the Job Application & Interview Advice website. If you are entering a highly creative field, or one where relaxed structure is common, organizational skills are less likely emphasised in the position. You could say, "My creative vision has caused some challenges with organizational skills, but I have learnt to successfully manage my schedule with a planner."

Delegation

Delegation of responsibilities is a common weakness expressed in interviews. People that struggle to delegate to others are perceived as either controlling and distrusting, or hardworking and ambitious. In an interview with a company where teamwork and coaching styles of leadership are critical, you should probably avoid referencing poor delegation. In a more autonomous work environment, or one where personal ambition and goals are encourage, it should work. A safe approach is to say, "I used to struggle delegating to others but realised that doing so freed me to better manage my most important job responsibilities. Plus, delegation shows faith in colleagues."

Helpfulness

It is hard to imagine helpfulness as a weakness, which is why the Best-Job-Interview site poses it as a possible effective example. If you are applying for a position in which teamwork is important, you could say, "I love working on teams, but at times, I have struggled with getting too involved in trying to help others solve problems. I have become better through experience, though, at offering support while encouraging teammates to work through challenges themselves to grow and help the team." This emphasises a strength and shows a weakness that likely comes across as a proper attitude for the position.

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