How to Turn Your Weaknesses into Strengths
Published on http://www.careersavvy.co.uk
16 October 2014
Conquer your weaknesses and deal with that question.
It is often the most dreaded question in an interview: ‘What is your biggest weakness?’ Is it a trick question? No, your interviewers aren’t trying to set you up to fail; they just want to see that you are aware of your different attributes and are not afraid to admit them. It shows honesty and also a willingness to improve. No one is perfect and some people are just better at certain things than others. Here are some of the best ways to answer this question.
Be honest but not too honest: If you aren’t brilliant at working with people you’ve just met, but this job involves working in a big team, saying you’re shy is much better than stating that you cannot work in a team.
Pick something that challenges you: Your employer needs to know where you’re genuinely going to need a bit of support from them.
Always say how you’re trying to improve: Give examples of how you’re working on this weakness and how you feel that this role will help with this improvement. Turning the question back to how you would fit into the role is a good idea.
Turn a negative into a positive: Use positive language to avoid negativity. Maybe you are really pedantic about grammar and insist on checking documents multiple times? Don’t describe yourself as fussy or demanding; this can be a really useful tool in certain professions and shows that you display strong attention to detail.
However, if something is holding you back, how do you turn it into one of your strongest attributes?
Be truthful with yourself: Forget your ego and have a real think about it, everyone has at least one aspect of themselves that they could improve; sometimes it just takes a while to admit it. If you are struggling ask family and friends who know you best for their help and suggestions on how to improve.
Break it down: Smaller chunks are easier to swallow. Plus by breaking it down you can begin to discover why it’s a weakness: have you always struggled with it or have you had a bad experience in the past?
Find useful resources: Maybe maths wasn’t your strongest subject at school but now you find yourself having to help out with the accounts. There are many resources out there that can help you brush up on your numeracy skills.
For an example of how these tips can help you, imagine your weakness is shyness and a lack of confidence. Maybe you are just an introverted person so you would never pick a career where you are always in the limelight, but if you do want a career where public speaking/giving presentations is required, you’re going to need to build up your confidence. Work out why it makes you feel nervous, maybe you have had a bad experience before or you are just worried about messing up. Once you’ve faced up to your fears, you can start to practise speaking in front of family and friends – this should help boost your confidence and you can also gain feedback on your performance.
So next time you’re asked the dreaded question, just remember that you are not expected to be faultless. You cannot be brilliant at everything, but you can show your eagerness to improve and work on your weaknesses so they don’t hold you back.