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What's your weakness?

College student seeking internship position.

Well, no one is perfect, we all have weakness.
During the interview, I found this question a bit tricky.

I would like to know how you approach this kind of question.
What does HR really want to know from this question?

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Emily J.’s Answer

Hi Cindy!

I think there are a few things you should keep in mind whenever asked this question:

1) Always reframe their question in your answer as an "opportunity". For example: "My greatest growth/development opportunity is...". Because really, it is! See part 2.

2) Employers are looking to potentially learn a few things in asking this question:
-- If they like you for the role, they may want to know how they can make the job/internship most fruitful for you/where they can help develop you
-- Also, if they like you for the role, they may be checking to be sure that they're placing you under a manager/in position that would be complimentary to your weaknesses
-- It's a good thing to be self aware, be HONEST about flaws, and be able to articulate flaws well with others.

3) Always, always, always show that you have a plan on how you can improve in these "weaknesses", how you plan to develop. (i.e. reading books/watching educational YouTube videos/consulting with a mentor/accountability partners/etc.)

Hope this helps!

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Christine’s Answer

Hi Cindy,
Potential employers want to know that you're self-aware. You're not expected to be perfect, but they need to know that you have an authentic answer to demonstrate that you're actively trying to improve this weakness. For example, if you've had a difficult boss or colleague in the past that was a challenge to collaborate with, you could say that you made efforts to make sure that communications were clear by parroting back with your own words what someone requested you to do so that you didn't waste time doing something unrelated. Or if you're naturally an introvert, you could say that you've joined a monthly group where you take turns giving a presentation on a topic related to your field so that you gain experience and comfort at public speaking.
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Stephanie’s Answer

Hi Cindy! I would try to think of it more as "areas of improvement" or "areas for growth" within your trade. The word "Weakness" is often assumed to be negative. However, I would use this as an opportunity to show that you are self-aware and are eager for opportunities to learn and become a more well-rounded candidate/co-worker. In answering this question, you can also think about including specifics on why that company would be great for helping you grow in the identified areas.

As a designer, I was recently tasked with mapping my skills on a spiderweb matrix for better clarity on my strengths and helping identify areas where I would like to improve. Regardless of career focus, this might be helpful to do something similar. Here is the exercise for design: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/569bed615a5668a5944e9662/t/588a830af5e23191381feeda/1485472560965/UX+Skills_Activity.pdf

Hope this helps! Happy to help with any next steps!
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Alyssa’s Answer

Hi!

This is always a tricky question. I think for the most part, when someone interviewing you asks what you're weakness is, they are looking to see how honest you can be, and how willing you are to take ownership and acknowledge something you aren't naturally good at. When answering this question, I would definitely recommend combatting your answer with a tangible activity that you are proactively doing to better yourself in this area.

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Yassine’s Answer

Hi Cindy,

It is indeed a tricky question. The way i usually handle it is to state a weakness and state what i have been doing to overcome this weakness.

For instance, i would say that i used to be a shy person, however lately i have been engaged in Ressource groups, i've been volunteering & teaching English classes which helped me overcome this issue.

Hope this helps,

Cheers,
Yassine
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Jovana’s Answer

Hi C,

I like to believe that there are always company or companies who will evaluate us as very good and others who will reject us (it's the same in life, there is always someone who wants to be with you, and someone who wants to have you with all your strength and weakness as a friend).
So when you go on an interview and had this question always try to be honest (don't think about that what is the "good" answer).
There is no good or bad answer, there is just something that you might find as your weakness. When you share it, you can add that you understand that at this time it is a weakness but you are working on it to improve it and be better over time.

Good luck with all future interviews.
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Charlie’s Answer

its a pretty old interview question, when i ask the question i am looking to see how a candidate thinks about themselves and how honest they can be. There is no problem in discussing weaknesses we all have them just don't dwell on them and be sure to talk about strengths at the same time..p
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CHARU’s Answer

Hi ,
This question itself has lot of answers but being a professional answering becomes a tricky part .
According to me always be straightforward but professional at the same time . for eg. you may answer that i need to learn better time management, or balancing my professional and personal life .
By this you are not being diplomatic in fact you know you have this drawback and you are working on it.

Hope this helps, Good Luck!
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Karen L.’s Answer

This is a tricky question however utilize your weakness to a strength or something you've learned about yourself. My weakness is multi tasking which sometimes means I take on too much at once so I need to prioritize and focus on the task at hand.
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Ian’s Answer

Spin it...
My greatest weakness is that I have difficulty giving up on hard projects.
My greatest weakness is that I get anxious when I'm running late.
My greatest weakness is that I have to clean my work space before I can move on to the next project.
Make it something that you actually do but look at the question from a different point of view.
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Brett’s Answer

I have always found this question tricky over the years and a lot of this was due to my misunderstanding of what the real ask on this question was.

What an employer is looking for are more concrete answers vs the standard "I lack organizational skills" be more clear in the approach of "My opportunities are organization., what I mean is that in my email box I have a tough time keeping all of my emails from everyone in sync"

When you state what your opportunity is and then present why it is an opportunity the reply becomes more meaningful and thought out.

I hope this helps.
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Eduardo’s Answer

From my perspective, this question creates a great opportunity; it should be answered by first sharing a weakness, immediately followed by how have you been working on fixing it.

Example: "My weakness is that I rush through things in order to quickly deliver, I have been working on taking a step back, breathing and reviewing my work before I turn it in"

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Jay’s Answer

C L,

This is always a tough question. I think the point behind the question is twofold:

1. Interviewers want to know that you have a good understanding of yourself. As you said, everyone has their weak points, but the most successful people are those that know how to identify those areas so that they can continue to grow and improve. Having that level of self-awareness really shows that a candidate is well rounded and centered

2. Interviewers like to see how you turn a negative into a positive. How can you highlight your areas of growth and show how your strengths can help cover those areas and allow you to succeed

The one thing I would suggest is avoiding the typical responses such as: "I work too hard" and "I am a perfectionist". Also, don't say you have no weaknesses. Instead, really think about the question and identify what are those actual areas that you want to focus on and grow.

Best of luck
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Fiona’s Answer

This is a tough question. Think about this in advance - for example what is an example of a time in the past where you have not performed so well and use this opportunity to tell the interview what you learned and how you know you can improve. Also, lack of experience in a particular area may also be an obvious weakness (something that is expected for newbies) - use this to tell the interview that you are a fast learner and persistent.
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Dorien’s Answer

I found this question to be tricky too during interviews. Although after getting asked it the first time I went back and brainstormed about all the things I find difficult in both my personal life and school-related. After doing this I further broke down these weaknesses and thought about how they truly impacted me. This helped me identify what I needed to work on in order to make me a better professional, it also gave me some ideas on what to share during interviews. I also found it useful to use this process because it prepares you to answer possible follow up questions related to how you cope with these weaknesses.
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Fran’s Answer

Cindy,

The answer to the question should convey a knowledge of oneself, specifically knowing what you, as an individual, need to improve on. However, I recommend going against explicitly stating personality "flaws," e.g. being messy or shy. Rather, these should be rephrased in a more professional manner that applies to the job; "shy" is implied in "I don't have a lot of experience when speaking in front of a group, or much public speaking experience at all for that matter."

If it's too difficult to assess yourself in the moment, you can always reply that your greatest weakness is your inexperience, and fine tune the answer to fit the position from there. As a college student, this is a given.

The important this is to *always* make sure to end every weakness with a positive, like a strong willingness to learn about whatever field you are interviewing for.

Hope this helps :)

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Ashley’s Answer

What is something that has always been difficult or hard for you? Like my biggest weakness is i have always struggled with math my whole life.
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