What Is Your Weakness?

posted on February 6th 2017 in Employment

This question inevitably comes up during an interview. It’s important to remember that interviewers are looking for two things when they ask this question. They are as follows:

Are You Humble and Self Aware?

Every person, no matter how senior or how accomplished, has areas for improvement and should have professional development goals. You don’t need to cite every criticism you’ve ever gotten over the course of your career, but do be honest. Think about the recent feedback you’ve received from your manager and peers. Consult recent performance reviews and 360 feedback.

I’d be surprised if there are not a few themes that have followed you throughout your career. Pick the top two or three and share examples of when they got in your way and how you overcame them, as well as what you’re actively doing to improve. This will demonstrate that you’re open to feedback and that you take your professional development seriously. It also shows you’re able to accept your shortcomings and are to address them in an insightful and productive manner.

What Tools Do You Need In Order To Improve?

Is your weakness in an area that can be learned on the job, or something you’ll need to fix before you start working in order to hit the ground running? If your development area is “teachable”, a good company will use what they learn about you during the interview to put together a robust onboarding and development plan. Part of the development plan may include assigning a mentor or sending you to a conference where you can learn the skills you need to succeed. If the company writes you off and is unwilling to invest, then it probably wasn’t the right ‘fit’ to begin with.

Be thoughtful and honest in how you answer this question, and you can’t go wrong.


Mikaela Kiner

Mikaela is a native Seattleite who’s spent the last fifteen years in HR leadership roles at iconic Northwest companies including Microsoft, Amazon, PopCap Games and Redfin. She has an MS in HR Management with a certificate in Organizational Development and is an ICF credentialed coach. Mikaela delivers results by building trust and engaging her clients in creative problem solving. Clients appreciate her strategic thinking and hands on execution.