10 Positive & Honest Weaknesses for a Job Interview

Published October 8, 2021
Woman interviewing for a job

When you're interviewing for a job, it's important to be prepared to answer a question about what you perceive to be your greatest weakness. You should answer this question honestly, but in a way that will improve your odds of getting hired. That means you should share something you find to be challenging, along with information on how you are able to leverage that weakness to actually help you be successful in the type of job you are seeking.

1. Extremely High Standards

If you tend to be a bit of a perfectionist, consider admitting that you have a tendency to hold yourself and others to extremely high standards. If this sounds like you, it's possible that you've been told you might need to work on resetting your standards to a more realistic level. That can be good information to share in an interview, as long as you also explain how you have learned to adapt to maintain high standards while not pushing for a level of perfectionism that may be unattainable.

2. Competitive Nature

If you have a competitive nature that makes you strive to be the best of the best in everything you do, this may be a good weakness to share with a job interviewer. Make sure the interviewer knows that this means you maintain laser focus and work extremely hard to be the best, rather than letting them think you have a "win at all costs" mentality. For a job that requires teamwork, you may want to explain how you can channel your drive to succeed to contributing to the success of the overall team rather than self-promotion.

3. Somewhat Risk Averse

If you tend to be hesitant to take risks, you may want to mention that taking risks without proper preparation is not your comfort zone. You could explain how this tendency means that you are very detail-oriented and you take the time to make sure you fully understand instructions and expectations in order to minimize potential problems. Emphasize that you are adaptable and open to trying new approaches, but that you tend to do so in a cautious manner.

4. Constantly Seeking New Approaches

If you aren't satisfied with "good enough," that means you're probably always looking for ways to improve on what you're doing. This may mean that others perceive you as someone who is never satisfied, even when things work out well. This type of weakness can easily be positioned as a positive. You just need to frame your response in the context of how you strive to always find ways to improve things so that future results can be even better than past results.

5. Uncomfortable With Uncertainty

Do you prefer to know what to expect? Are you more comfortable when things go exactly as planned, rather than thriving when faced with unexpected challenges? If so, you may be someone who isn't comfortable with uncertainty. Consider explaining this in the context of how it impacts the way you approach work. For example, this probably means you put a lot of effort into planning and organizing your work to minimize your chances of encountering unexpected surprises along the way.

Man interviewing for a job

6. Overly Independent

Do you prefer working on your own? If so, this probably means that you're hesitant to ask for help, and you tend to stay focused on moving forward with tasks to accomplish results efficiently and effectively. Of course, most jobs do require collaboration, so you'll want to elaborate on how you are able to adapt to work well in a team environment, while still being able to work effectively with minimal supervision.

7. Impatient With Time Wasters

If you lack patience with people or processes that you feel cause you to waste time, that probably means that you are very focused on efficiency. If this is a weakness you decide to share, explain that you like to have a clear understanding of how your actions contribute directly to the results. Explain that you feel your job is to achieve results for the company, so you like to focus your energy on making sure the organization's resources are being used wisely.

8. Relentless Optimism

If you are a person for whom the glass is always half full rather than half empty, and you're determined to see the good in every person and situation, chances are that others see you as extremely optimistic. If you use this as your weakness, be sure to explain that it's your goal to remain positive and to influence others to be positive as well. Let them know that it's not that you think everything is good all the time, but rather that you feel it's important to look for the positive in every situation, instead of overly focusing on what may be less than ideal.

9. Reluctant to Speak Up

If you have a tendency to focus more on supporting the team rather than being the most outspoken member of the team, you may come across to others as someone who is not comfortable voicing your opinions. Chance are, though, that you're just most comfortable when things are harmonious with the team. Explain that when you're not quick to voice your ideas, it's often because you want to get a sense of what others are thinking first. That way, you'll have a clear picture of how you can best support the team before you do share your thoughts.

10. Hesitant to Let Go

If you have a high level of pride in your work, that can translate into having difficulty letting go of tasks that you know you perform extremely well. If this is a challenge you face, explain to the interviewer what strategies you employ to get comfortable letting go of tasks that need to be delegated to others. For example, maybe you often offer to mentor team members who are assigned to tasks that used to be your responsibility.

Prepare to Share Both Weaknesses and Strengths

Keep in mind that there is not a "right" or "wrong" weakness to share in a job interview. Interviewers ask about weaknesses for the same reason they ask about strengths. They want to get a sense of how you see yourself, and what workplace factors are likely to motivate you versus which are likely to cause you stress. Any time you go on a job interview, you should spend time thinking about answers for strengths and weakness questions, as well as other typical interview inquiries.

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10 Positive & Honest Weaknesses for a Job Interview