Do you have weaknesses?

At some point in the application process, everyone has to deal with the issue of strengths and weaknesses. Our strengths? It's usually easy for us to list some of them. It is different with our weaknesses. Not with our weaknesses in general, but with those that an employer may know about. Which ones do you name and how do you deal with them? Let's take a look at how different people try to overcome this hurdle.

Let's start with Mr Stark. During the interview, the personnel manager wants to know: "And Mr Stark? We have now heard so many good things about you. What weaknesses do you have?" Our applicant leans back in his chair and crosses his arms. "Let me think!" A few effective seconds pass. Until Mr Stark has come to a conclusion. "Weaknesses? I don't know of any. At most, that as a perfectionist I demand too much from myself and my colleagues!" A broad grin underpins his statement.

Fräulein Blümchen has a completely different attitude. "Weaknesses? Oh, I have a few. It's difficult for me to get out of bed in the morning, I'm a little forgetful at times and I need a little support now and then to motivate myself...."

Admittedly, our fictional examples are a little exaggerated and any resemblance to living persons is purely coincidental. Nevertheless, it is easy to see that both persons have done themselves no good.

"I have no weaknesses!" - that doesn't make us more likeable, Mr. or Mrs. Perfect usually only exists in self-perception. And even if he/she exists - do you want to work with them? Our Fräulein Blümchen exaggerates in the other direction. She mercilessly tells things that may be true but are unacceptable to a recruiter. Who wants an employee who is constantly late, schedules her tasks and then needs motivation and help from colleagues or the boss?

What weaknesses do you have?

Think for yourself and ask other people you know well. Then write down these qualities and see what you can make of them. Our tips:

  • When asked, you should never name a weakness that calls into question the success of your job. For example, our Miss Blümchen is an accountant. For this position, no company in the world needs an employee who is planned and cannot structure her day.
  • Admitting weaknesses such as "I like to eat too much" or "I can't refuse my children any wish" may be honest, but it is of no interest when it comes to selecting applicants.
  • Turn your weaknesses into something positive. You can work on everything if you want to. This is exactly what an employer wants to see and hear and what you should do for yourself. Companies don't want perfect employees (because they don't exist), but people who stand by themselves and know what they could improve and where.
    How can this look like? A company wants employees with very good English skills and exactly those are the highest acceptable at your company? You can work on that and attend intensive language courses, for example. You should convey this during the interview. You know about your weakness, but you have a solution for it.

Sometimes the question about the applicant's weaknesses may be packaged differently. For example, "What strengths do you not have that you like in your superiors?" or "What would colleagues say about you? What qualities do you like about yourself and what qualities do you dislike?"

There is one weakness for your job interview that you must not allow yourself under any circumstances: not preparing adequately for it!