How to Talk About Your Weak Points in a Job Interview

One way of testing yourself is to ask yourself about your weaknesses. In this article, we tell you how to respond in a job interview conerning your weak points.
How to Talk About Your Weak Points in a Job Interview
Cristian Muñoz Escobar

Written and verified by the psychologist Cristian Muñoz Escobar.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

In a job interview, it’s almost inevitable that the recruiter will ask you about your strengths and weaknesses. There are no sneaky tricks to avoid answering them, and you should simply be honest. Indeed, making up answers won’t do you any good at all.

Testing your ability to react

Honesty is essential when talking about your weak points in a job interview. If the recruiter asks about them, be prudent and stay calm. They simply want to analyze your reactions and the way you present yourself.

Try to demonstrate that, even with your flaws, you possess better qualities and characteristics than the rest of the candidates.

Also, keep in mind the following points concerning what recruiters tend to look for in applicants.

Job interview

1. The recruiter’s questions

During a job interview, it’s usual for the recruiter to ask about your weak points. For example, they might say “Tell me your three weakest points” or “What’s your biggest flaw?” or “What weaknesses do you think you have as a worker? ”. They want to see how you react, test how honest you are, and check if you have the ability to be true to yourself.

According to Jaume Masip Pallejá and María del Carmen Herrero Alonso, doctors in psychology, evidence exists to suggest that telling lies requires more mental effort than being honest.

Therefore, being honest makes the task easier for the interviewee. In fact, the more present and active the truth is in an individual’s memory, the greater effort will be needed to inhibit it.

2. Don’t say “I’m too much of a perfectionist”

Avoid giving answers, such as “I’m too organized”, “I’m a workaholic”, “I work too much”, or “I’m too much of a perfectionist”.

If they ask you about your weaknesses, answer honestly. Try not to turn them around and present them as strengths. If you do, the recruiter may think you’re not telling the truth and are hiding your weaknesses.

3. Defects as aspects to improve

Nobody’s perfect. We all have flaws, areas in which we could improve. Try to answer the questions that the interviewer asks you and not what you want them to hear.

Once you tell them about your weaknesses, you can also tell them what you’re doing to improve them. However, this isn’t an easy task because your weaknesses often form a pattern of behavior that’s developed over time. Therefore, it also takes time to realize this and change it.

4. Think before you speak

Responding wisely means thinking before speaking. Don’t rush when you talk about your weaknesses. Verbalize your observations and share your considerations.

Avoid fillers like “Well”, “Let me explain”, “Basically”, etc. It’s important to mention what you’ve learned from your shortcomings and to highlight, without exaggerating, what you’ve done to transform them into strengths.

How to respond when asked about your weaknesses

When you talk about your weaknesses, briefly explain when they tend to happen and what you’re doing to improve them. For example, you could say:

  • I know I’m shy. However, I try and make use of any social situations and take the initiative in conversations when I think it’s necessary.
  • Sometimes, I’m too impatient. When I realized this wasn’t working in my favor, I decided to be patient concerning what I can’t control or immediately manage. This has really helped me to stay in control and not rush.
  • One of my weak points is that I have no experience. However, I’m a really fast learner and I adapt well to change. I know it’ll take me a little while to adapt, but I don’t think it’ll take me long to fulfill the responsibilities associated with my position and to start doing it independently.
  • I like to work alone because I feel like I have more control. Nevertheless, experience has taught me that it’s important to also work with others to achieve certain goals. This means I understand the principles of solidarity and cooperation.
Girl talking about her shortcomings at a job interview

Other aspects to consider

In addition to the way you answer the recruiter’s questions about your weaknesses, your body language is also important. That’s because it says a lot about you. Therefore, you should make sure your gestures are natural and fluid. Also, accompany your non-verbal language with a good attitude and disposition.

The way you conduct yourself in a job interview demonstrates how suitable you are for the company’s work environment. Make sure you choose your vocabulary well to avoid any confusion or misunderstandings in the concepts discussed in the interview.

Finally, make use of your sense of humor, but don’t force it. For example, you could tell the interviewer how certain of your weak points have caused you some embarrassing moments in the past. Consequently, you’ve learned not to behave in that way again.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Bravo, L.; García, U.; Hernández, M. & Ruiz, M. (2013). La entrevista, recurso flexible y dinámico. Investigación en Educación Médica, 2(7), 162-167.
  • Masip, J. & Herrero, C. (2015). Nuevas aproximaciones en detección de mentiras II. Estrategias activas de entrevista e información contextual. Papeles del Psicólogo, 36(2), 96-106.
  • Terol, E. (1997). Buscar Empleo. Todo sobre tu curriculm y las entrevistas de trabajo. EOI Escuela de Organización Industrial.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.