How To Answer “What Your Greatest Weakness?” In A Job Interview

You’re going to get asked.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

You’re going to get asked.

At some point in the interview process, whether it’s first round or further down in the sequence, you’re going to get asked questions about your strengths and weaknesses. Whether the interview is going well or going poorly, you can count on running into the question “What would you say is your greatest weakness?” And not having a good answer prepared can make a good interview suddenly start to go very poorly.

So what does a good answer look like?

Well before we answer that, it’s important to understand WHY this question is asked so much. An interviewer isn’t just throwing out this question because it’s on a list of “top interview questions” they found online. If they ask you this question, it’s likely for one of two reason (if not both). First, they’re wanting to get a feeling for your level of self-awareness. Do you actually know yourself well enough to know your weaknesses? And second, if they manage a team, they’re looking to see how your potential answer would fit into the team they already have. It’s okay to have certain weaknesses if most of the team is strong in that area…but a relatively minor weaknesses might be a deal killer if everyone on the team is also weak there.

When we take these two reasons into consideration, we immediately see why trite advice like “turn a strength into a weakness” is such bad advice. No one believes “I’m a perfectionist” or “I work too hard” is a serious answer anyway, but more importantly it doesn’t help the interviewer with either of the aspects they’re looking for.

So the best answer is an honest one. Not a job-killing honest one like “I struggle with deadlines” when you know ahead of time the job involves working under a time crunch…it’s better to just not apply for the job. But an honest answer that demonstrates you know where you add value and you know where you need develop.

But after your honest answer, follow up with a simple phrase: “But I have learned…” and then go one to mention what you’re doing to work around that weakness or to personally improve upon in.

An honest answer and an honest attempt at bettering oneself.

These things tell your interviewer that you’re self-aware enough to know your weakness, and serious enough to work to improve it. They also let him or her know how you’ll fit onto the team. That’s what interviewers are looking for when they ask “What’s your greatest weakness?” and that’s what you’re looking for when you prepare your answer.

This article originally appeared on and as an episode of the DailyBurk, which you can follow on YouTubeFacebook, LinkedInTwitter, or Instagram.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


Follow These 10 Tips to Ace Your Next Interview

by Jonathan Alpert

4 BEST Interview Tips – The Ultimate Formula to Interview Success

by matt jacob
Courtesy of Fedorova Ekaterina-84/Shutterstock

How to Give Original Answers to 7 of the Most Cliché Interview Questions

by Heather Huhman

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.