Interviewers often potential employees about their positive and negative qualities. While you will no doubt be excited to talk about the areas that you excel in, it can be difficult to discuss the ways you need to improve. After all, you don’t want to decrease your chances of landing a job by admitting your flaws to your interviewer.
Every person has good and bad traits. When you are asked about your negative personality qualities during an interview, it is important to keep in mind that your potential employer is really looking to see how adaptable you are. Learning the positive and negative traits of an employee is essential to deciding whether or not they will be a good fit in the workplace.
By learning how to frame your weaknesses in a positive light, you will stand a much better chance of landing the job you are interviewing for. There are several strategies you can use to be prepared to discuss your weaknesses during any interview.
Prepare Yourself for the Question
One of the best things you can do is to be prepared for the question. Think carefully beforehand and have a few weaknesses in mind so that you can gracefully answer the question when it comes up. If you don’t have any thoughts prepared, you will likely end up stuttering and fumbling your way through the interview.
Job interview coaching is a great way to be prepared to answer this question. There are many sites and services that offer mock interview coaching, and with a little research, you should be able to find plenty of local coaches and workshops in your area.
Coaching for interview preparation is absolutely essential when it comes to explaining weaknesses, so you can answer the question smoothly and professionally. A coaching interview will give you plenty of practice beforehand, which will ensure that you feel confident when it comes to your real interview.
Explain How You Overcame Your Weaknesses
When interviewers ask about your negative personality qualities, they are testing your self-awareness and adaptability. Everybody has flaws, but not everyone is aware of those flaws. Interviewers prefer employees with good self-awareness, because that is the first step to overcoming your weaknesses.
To put a positive spin on your flaws, you should explain the ways in which you have learned to overcome them. Interviewers love specific examples. Be sure to explain ways in which your weaknesses have affected you, but also describe the ways in which you learned and grew from those experiences. At the same time, however, be succinct. Your interviewer doesn’t need to hear a long, drawn-out story about each of your weaknesses. A few sentences will more than suffice. If you are still struggling with some of your weaknesses, offer the ways in which you are actively working on them. Nobody expects their employees to be completely perfect, but they do expect effort and growth.
Avoid Common Answers
Many interviewers try to play the system by using common flaws that can easily be viewed as strengths. Some of these common “weaknesses” include being competitive, being a perfectionist, or working too hard. Dig deep and find weaknesses that are unique to you. Or, if you do seriously struggle with one of those weaknesses, be honest and provide specific examples so you don’t come across as overconfident or in denial about your flaws.
Use Expert Phrasing to Put a Positive Spin on Your Weaknesses
Even though you are telling your interviewer flaws about yourself, there are ways you can make it sound more positive. Are you a perfectionist? Try saying that you have a tendency to focus on the details. If you’re careful, you can even make your weaknesses sound like strengths. While being a perfectionist certainly has its downsides, it can be a strength at times. However, be careful not to fall into the trap of sugarcoating things. Be honest and straightforward about your weaknesses, or your interviewer will think you don’t take your flaws seriously.
As with any part of an interview, be very careful about how you phrase things. You don’t want to make any of your weaknesses seem uncontrollable or devastating. If you make any of your weaknesses sound like they have a hugely negative effect on your work, this will impact on your chances of landing the position.
Think About How Your Weaknesses Relate to the Job
Seriously consider how your weaknesses relate to the position you are applying for. If you are interviewing for a position that requires a lot of public speaking, it might not be the best idea to mention that you have stage fright. Of course, if you have a weakness that will majorly affect the job you are applying for, it might be a better idea to search for employment in a different field.
While interviewing, be honest about the ways that weakness might affect your performance within that position. This shows forethought, as well as determination to overcome your flaws. Discuss specific ways you can master your negative traits.
Be Prepared to Explain Gaps in Your Employment
Another question you may dread answering is about gaps in your employment. Employment gaps are often seen as a big red flag to companies, so it’s understandable that your interviewer would want to address them. Just like when it comes to explaining your weaknesses, however, it is possible to put a positive spin on your answer.
The most important thing is to be honest. Your interviewer will be able to tell if you are floundering for excuses. The best way to leave a positive impression is by having a good referral or two. You can also explain personal projects you worked on during that gap. If you spent any portion of that employment gap volunteering or freelancing, make sure to mention that. Prove to your interviewer that you didn’t spend your gap idly, and you’ll have a much better chance of landing the job.