Episode 67: How to Answer the Most Annoying Job Interview Question: What Are Your Weaknesses?

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“Tell me about your weakness” could be the most annoying and confusing question to receive during a job interview. Should you answer honestly? Should you find the silver lining and tell the interviewer how you grew as a result of your weakness? So many questions. In this episode, I discuss: 

  • What this question is really about
  • How to reframe the question in your brain
  • The best way to lean into your blindspots to answer this question

Choose a weakness that doesn’t perhaps prohibit you from succeeding in the job. For instance, if you’re a copywriter don’t say your grammar is bad, if you’re a project manager don’t say you struggle with time management.

Mentioned on the show: 

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Read the Transcript
Tell me about your weakness 

This might be the most annoying question asked when I drop the interview. 

All you really wanna do is focus on your wins, all the things that you’ve done well, and talk about how your skills beautifully translate to the role at hand, 

this is a classic question that I firmly believe it’s more about seeing how you think and how you can deal with transparency and your level of self-awareness than the actual answer. 

That said let’s make sure you have a decent answer.

Reframing your weaknesses positively also feels a bit ridiculous. …I’m a perfectionist I have a quite high standard of work. 

They’ve heard it before and it’s not very original even if it feels true for you. 

You wanna provide self-awareness and transparency but you don’t want to knock yourself for a course skill that you going to need for the job. 

When I work with clients, we start by focusing on what they do well, we look at their beliefs, feelings, patterns of behavior, their career identity, strengths, and then we develop strategies on how to apply them all productively.
A weakness is something that gets in the way of your success. I want you to think strategically before answering this interview question. 

Weakness never becomes strengths. 

You don’t create strength by investing in a weakness. 

Strengths and weaknesses are not opposites. If you don’t have a Strength, it just means you don’t have innate talent in a particular area. No big deal. 

And if you have a weakness or something that gets in the way of your success, there may be incremental improvements…You may not be an award-winning writer or one that will even get published but you can still learn to improve the basics of business writing. Just ask any of your friends who work at FB or Amazon what they go through regularly to state business cases and to justify, well, anything….You just might not have the same vast vocabulary as someone who studied creative writing or has their MFA but you can improve, it’s just not going to turn it into a legitimate strength.

I find the best way to talk about a weakness is when you are in your blind spot of your strengths. So the first thing is to 
Choose a real weakness, be sincere but root it in your strengths. If you are strong in speaking, and writing, then is the weakness – allowing room for others, imperfect grammar, 

If you think about strengths as innate talent or something that you are really good at then even in our excellence we can fall into blind spots when we are hungry angry lonely or tired. It’s called halt. 


In Halt. 

Let’s dig into what I mean but the blind spot in your strengths

Strategy -Need to explain how I got here, and others may think that I’m being critical  – focus on what’s working. 

Communication -Need to create space for others. People may grow tired and it’s important to listen to others

Achiever /activator -Need to make sure that people are seeing and not just checklists. I get impatient

Focus-Get lost in the weeds. And may be slow to respond to others’ needs because I’m head down and I may miss the progress.

Responsibility -Hard to say no, take on too much, and prohibits me from spending time with the team

Strong relationship builder Relator-I can find a challenging to work with an aggressive personality. In the past, I have found it difficult to work with aggressive personality types. While I understand diversity in personalities makes a business strong, I tend to quiet my own ideas and opinions around louder colleagues.

To combat this, I have made it a point to spend more time with colleagues I feel uncomfortable working with. By learning more about them, their communication style and motivations, I am better able to collaborate with these personality types so that we both equally contribute our strengths and skills.

Learner/curiosity -My desire to learn and figure things out may not be everyone’s not everybody loves the journey the way I do. I  need to be mindful of different learning styles.

Here are some solid tips for how to answer: 

Choose a weakness that doesn’t perhaps prohibit you from succeeding in the job. For instance, if you’re a copywriter don’t say your grammar is bad, if you’re a project manager don’t say you struggle with time management.

Talk to them about how you’re working on this and how you continue to overcome this Through mindset or skill development

Talk about skills you’ve improved. Tell them that you’ve been working on your storytelling skills Through online courses, analysis of TED talks, and presentation training.

I want you to practice. If you need to look in the mirror or say it or write a script and then practice it do it I think so often so many people believe that because they are seasoned or have been interviewing for years that they can run from the hip. I’m sure many of you can but just to be double sure it might be best to write out what it is that you want to say and then make it your own.

Simple, truthful, and effective. Don’t overthink. 
You got this. 

Before I go I wanted to tell you about a new offering I have just dropped.

It’s a Strengths and Strategy Session. Understanding Your Unique Talents is the Fastest Way to Create Confidence, Clarity, Focus, and Possibility. 

You’ll Discover Your Top 34 Strengths and Learn How to use them in any scenario – resume, job interviews, networking, linked profile, and your day-to-day conversations with bosses, clients, and peers. I work at the intersectionality of strengths -think of me like a strengths tarot reader. 

Check out the link to the details in the show notes. I look forward to helping you Gain career clarity and strategize what’s now, what’s new, and what’s next.