What is your unusual weakness

The question of one's own strengths is sometimes difficult, but for many applicants, the question of weaknesses is often the most unpleasant part of the interview.

Why this is so is obvious. In an interview, you usually try to emphasize your strengths. So asking about your weaknesses can throw you off your balance.

This question has the potential to bring you, as an applicant, very far forward in the eyes of the HR manager. The hackneyed question about weaknesses reveals three things: your honesty, ability to self-reflect and your tolerance for frustration. Each of these three qualities are worth more than any weaknesses that you think will cost you the job.

But how do you as an applicant package an answer in such a way that it is also clear to the HR manager? First of all, it is important to understand what exactly is behind the question of the weaknesses in an interview.

The question of the weaknesses in the interview. A hidden opportunity.

Very few applicants consider the question of their weaknesses to be an opportunity. More like a pitfall. On the surface, it looks the same.

The HR manager can only find out two things with it: Firstly, whether the applicant can spontaneously become creative. And secondly, whether he has read guides for his application beforehand. Neither of these are normally recruitment criteria.

And it is precisely for this reason that there is a lot more behind the question of weaknesses in the interview.

In essence, the HR manager wants to check how honest and self-critical the applicant is. Neither the perfect résumé nor a whole list of strengths provide information about this.

As every company and also the applicant knows, there will be difficult situations in the job. And every company is grateful for employees who admit a mistake and still continue to be motivated.

You can show exactly this attitude when answering this question. So it's not about finding weaknesses that actually aren't.

Rather, it's about putting your character on the table. With mistakes. But not with all of them, of course, because an interview is not a therapy session. Therefore, you should think about your weaknesses beforehand.

Prepare for a successful answer to the interview weakness question

There are plenty of tips and examples out there for the perfect answer to your interview weakness question. However, it is not a good idea to study examples.

After all, as you now know, this interview question is about honesty. Examples that have been adopted have about as much to do with it as a pear does to an apple. It's just not the same.

That is why you should deal with your weaknesses before your interview so that you can respond in a reflected manner.
The following strategy has proven itself:

The two weaknesses strategy

Basically, this strategy is about picking two weaknesses that won't cost you your job.
For this, a weakness has to be somehow related to the job, but at the same time it has to be easy to compensate.

The other weakness shouldn't have anything to do with the job. But how exactly do you go about finding these weaknesses?

These four tips can help you:

1. Make a list of your weaknesses. If you can't think of any, you can definitely note it down as a weakness. Alternatively, you can ask your friends or family. At least the family will be happy to help.

2. Read the job requirements profile carefully. There are mostly hidden tips included as to which properties are beneficial. And which ones don't. So delete the weaknesses that are more of a hindrance to the job.

3. Identify a weakness that won't get in the way of your job. Here you have weakness number 1.

4. Identify a weakness that could cause you problems and think about how you have dealt with it so far. Here you have weakness number 2.

Now you have two weaknesses that you can express as an applicant in the interview without hesitation. Your application will remain consistently good and you show that you have dealt with yourself, your strengths and weaknesses and the job offer.
A solution strategy is particularly important for weakness number 2. This shows the HR manager your personal strengths.

How you show your weaknesses. And how better not.

You now know that the question of your weaknesses represents a great opportunity for you as an applicant. It gives you the opportunity to add a whole lot of honesty to your application.

In addition, the 2 weaknesses strategy gave you a lot of tips to help you choose the right weaknesses for your interview. Now the question is how exactly you answer. There are a few golden rules for doing this:


✔  Think.
This helps in general, but especially in job interviews.
So instead of answering like a shot, it should at least look like you're thinking for a moment before answering.

✔  Link the interview questions.
The strategy to solve your weaknesses has something to do with your strengths?
Or with a station on your résumé? The more you tell about yourself, the more likeable you appear as an applicant.

✔   Emphasize weakness 1 more than weakness 2.
After all, only the weaknesses that are directly related to your application are critical in an interview.


✘  Your weakness is your perfectionism.
Honest? First of all, you're just showing that you're pretty good at Googling. Second, perfectionism is far less enjoyable than it sounds.

✘ impatience.
Even if you are actually one of these types, it would be better not to mention that in the interview.
According to statistics, negative traits are automatically associated with this character trait.

✘ You take your work too seriously and work too long.
This is a difficult answer because, first, you are questioning your time management.
And secondly, more work than weakness. Not a good idea.

Bonus tip: Recognize the question of the weaknesses in the interview.

As if the question wasn't challenging enough in itself, it rarely comes across as straightforward. Often the question about the weaknesses in the interview is hidden behind formulations such as:

  • What qualities do you value in colleagues?
  • How would your family or friends describe you?
  • What quality of a colleague would you have difficulty with?
  • What are the three characteristics of a good leader?

These formulations are the same question, only in different packaging. So it is worthwhile (not only in this case) to listen carefully and answer honestly. Nothing can go wrong with good preparation.