List of Weaknesses With Examples
During job interviews, hiring managers will ask about your weaknesses as a way to determine whether you are qualified for the job. Questions about your weaknesses also help the interviewer understand how well you know yourself.
Be careful when sharing weaknesses. You don't want to knock yourself out of contention for the job because the interviewer thinks you're not qualified. You want your answer to be honest, but as positive as possible. Focus on steps you are taking to improve on your weaknesses and avoid mentioning skills that are important for the job.
Read below for tips on what types of weaknesses to provide based on the job you are interviewing for. Also read below for a detailed list of weaknesses you might mention in an interview.
Examples of Weaknesses
Below is a list of weaknesses you might mention when answering job interview questions about weaknesses. However, do not blindly choose a weakness from this list. Make sure the weakness you select is not critical to the job, and consider ways you can improve upon this weakness.
A - M
- Advanced mathematics
- Any area of knowledge like a software package (something which can be easily learned)
- Coursework (a particular course you struggled with)
- Covering for co-workers
- Creative writing
- Discomfort with leaving a project unfinished
- Expecting too much from colleagues
- Expressing frustration with underperforming staff or colleagues
- Focusing on details too much
- Internalizing the problems of clients
- Lack of certain experience (if it is obvious from your resume)
- Mastering foreign languages
N - Z
- Neglecting to take credit
- Not skilled at delegating tasks
- Not spontaneous, better when prepared
- Overly involved in on-campus activities (if a student)
- Presenting to large groups
- Procrastination (as long as you still meet all your deadlines)
- Providing constructive criticism
- Providing too much detail in reports
- Public speaking
- Shifting from one project to another (multitasking)
- Taking on too many projects at once
- Taking on too much responsibility
- Taking too many risks
- Too critical of other people’s work
- Too detail oriented
- Too helpful
- Too honest
- Work too many hours
Tips for Talking About Weaknesses
When you consider which weaknesses to mention in an interview, keep in mind that you should focus on qualities that are not central to the requirements of the job for which you are interviewing. For example, if you are applying for a job in accounting, you don’t want to say your weakness is mathematics.
You also want to try and remain positive. It may seem impossible in a question about weaknesses; however, you can do this by simply avoiding negative words like “weak” and “failure.” You might also explain how your weakness could be seen as a positive in the job. For example, if you say you are too detail-oriented, you might explain how it is a positive in a job as an editorial assistant.
You should also explain how you are overcoming (or plan to overcome) your weakness. It is particularly useful when your weakness is a hard skill that can be easily learned. For example, if you are unfamiliar with a software package, you might explain that you are taking an online course to learn the package. You might even phrase your answer as, “One skill I am currently working on…”
Finally, while you want to be positive, you should also be honest. Answers like “I don’t have any flaws” will come across as insincere.
If you think carefully about the job ahead of time and prepare an answer, you will be able to remain positive while still being honest.
It's just as important, sometimes even more so, to be able to discuss your strengths during a job interview. When describing your strong points, focus on your strengths that are most relevant to the job for which you are applying (unlike when discussing your weaknesses).