Evaluating Your Greatest Weakness: Best Examples of What to Mention in Interviews

An interview is an integral step in securing a job position and making a positive impression on your potential employers. However, one question that often catches candidates off guard is when they are asked to discuss their greatest weakness. And we get it! This question can be daunting to answer, as you don’t want your personality to appear to be overly negative and you want to avoid having your professional qualifications second guessed. At the same time, you want to be honest and provide an answer that effectively showcases your desire for self-improvement. It’s a tricky balance! But that’s why we’re here to help. In this article, we will provide you with practical tips that will help you confidently answer the question, “What is your greatest weakness?” in an interview.

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Top Reasons Why Interviewers Ask About a Candidate’s Weaknesses

There are a plethora of reasons why interviewers may ask candidates about their weaknesses. Some include:

  • To assess your self-awareness. The interview question, “What is your greatest weakness?” is designed for employers to get a clear understanding of your weaknesses while also gauging if you have the desire for self-improvement.
  • To test your honesty. Oftentimes, interviewers are looking for candid, honest answers to this difficult interview question, as opposed to rehearsed responses.
  • To see if you have a growth mindset. Employers don’t expect you to be perfect. However, they do expect you to have the self-awareness that is needed to seek self-improvement.
  • To get an understanding of your soft skills. The interviewer may want to see if you are aware of how your weaknesses impact the entire team and if you can pinpoint those areas of concern before they extend the job offer.
  • To assess your confidence and determine if you fit within the company culture. The interviewer is tasked with seeing if your personality aligns with the company’s values and business goals. This question helps them determine if you have a growth mindset that will fit seamlessly with their approach to business development.

Variations of This Difficult Interview Question

While many folks have heard the question “What is your greatest weakness?” in an interview; it may not always be asked this exact way. Some variations of this difficult interview question can include:

  • Can you discuss an area that you need to improve in?
  • What is your biggest challenge in the workplace?
  • What do you believe is your worst or weakest attribute?
  • Have you faced any challenges in your previous roles that you would like to improve upon?
  • Can you discuss a time when you struggled in the workplace?
  • In what ways would you like to improve as you step into a new role?
  • Can you discuss a time when you faced a failure or unsuccessful project in the workplace?
  • What would your previous coworkers say is your biggest weakness or area of improvement?

Essential Tips for Answering the Interview Question “What is your greatest weakness?”

  • Be honest but avoid being overly critical of your past mistakes. Discuss your weaknesses but err on the side of caution when it comes to be self-critical. While your employer wants to see that you have self-awareness, it is not necessary to demean or belittle oneself. 
  • Frame your weakness as an area of improvement. Show your desire to grow professionally by framing your weakness as an area of improvement that you are actively working on.
  • Keep your answers job-related. When discussing weaknesses, be sure to stay on topic. Avoid bringing up personal flaws that you want to work on. 
  • Transform the negative into the positive. Focus on a weakness that does not severely impact your ability to perform the position you’re seeking. Instead, focus on how you’ve learned from your past mistakes and how you actively working to transform weaknesses into strengths
  • Avoid generic answers. While it may be tempting to copy and paste answers from helpful Job blogs (like ours), we don’t advise that you do that. Instead, use this content as a source of inspiration. Then formulate your own answers that are unique to your specific life and work experiences. 
  • Offer real-life examples. Remember, while you don’t want to give a long-winded answer to a weaknesses question, it is important to offer real-life examples. 
  • Be confident and concise. Talking about weaknesses can be hard. However, try your best to be concise and exude confidence as your critique yourself and discuss how you’re actively working to improve. 
businessman in a brown suit jacket sitting at the end of a conference table

Best Examples of How to Discuss a Weakness in an Interview

When a potential employer asks you to explain your greatest weaknesses, it can be hard to come up with the words. Luckily for you, we’ve curated a few examples that can guide you on how to discuss your downfalls while still winning over your employer.

1. Work-Life Balance

Finding balance between work and home is essential, especially if you don’t want to risk burnout or feeling unmotivated in the workplace. 

Do you struggle with work-life balance? If you choose to highlight this weakness during an interview, we recommend mentioning the ways you’ve learned how to balance work and home life.


“I am very passionate about the work that I do so, it can be difficult for me to find a good balance between my career and my personal life. In the past, I’ve felt burnt out due to neglecting my own personal needs. 

However, I am actively working towards establishing a healthy work-life balance. These days, I maintain a schedule that allows me to make time for my important work, as well as, spend time with my family and take care of myself.”

2. Confidence

Confidence can play a key role in successful work experience. After all, folks tend to their best work when they feel confident and secure in their job role. 

Do you, sometimes, struggle with confidence? It happens to the best of us! But, if you decide to mention this in an interview, make sure you counterbalance this by discussing the ways you are working to improve your self-esteem.


“In the past, I have struggled with maintaining confidence in the work that I’m producing. However, I’ve found that setting aside time at the end of the week, to review my goals and accomplishments, helps to keep me focused and in tune with my work – which helps build my confidence.”

3. Asking for Help

Workplaces are collaborative. However, it is common for folks to struggle with asking for help. If that sounds familiar, consider mentioning it as a weakness in an upcoming interview. However, don’t just leave it there. Discuss the ways you are working to overcome hyper-independence and learn how to lean on your colleagues more.


“Sometimes, I struggle with asking for assistance, even when I no longer have the bandwidth for a project. However, after doing some deep introspection and talking with my mentor, I have been working on learning how to accept help from my colleagues. Learning how to be more collaborative is very important to me. So, I move forward in my career, I will continuously challenge myself to stray away from hyper-independence and act as a team player.”

4. Ambiguity

Sometimes, we receive ambiguous workplace directives and project prompts. And in many cases, that’s okay. However, for some folks, ambiguity can cause a great deal of anxiety. 

Are you someone who struggles with ambiguity? Talk about it in your next interview. But don’t forget to mention the ways you’re working to become more comfortable with projects that lack specific directions.


“In the past, I have found it difficult to get started on projects that are very ambiguous. However, over time, I’ve learned to take the initiative when it comes to brainstorming solutions and to ask for help when I am absolutely stuck. Moving forward, I hope to establish more confidence when working on ambiguous projects.”

5. Public Speaking

Speaking in public can be a hard skill to hone. However, it’s not impossible! Are you one of thousands of folks who prefer to avoid public speaking altogether? You’re certainly not alone.

But, if you decide to mention this weakness in an interview, we advise that you also discuss the ways you are working to overcome your fear of public speaking. 


“Early on in my career, I found it rather difficult to speak in public. I struggled to speak up in public settings, including internal work presentations and meetings with board members. However, I have been working to overcome that. And in my last role, I was able to successfully lead 4 presentations – 3 with internal colleagues and 1 with a client. As I build my career, public speaking is a skill that I will continuously work on.”