How to use your weaknesses in your job search

4 minutes
Bita Heffernan

By Bita Heffernan

Interviews and Using Weaknesses

Interviews can be a daunting prospect! Added pressure may also arise from unexpected questions where you’ll be asked to talk about your weaknesses.

This method is frequently used as it provides an insight into how you perform under pressure. Therefore, it is essential to prepare for curveball questions by assessing your own strengths and weaknesses.

Additionally, it’s equally important to keep in mind that the recruiter is looking to find out something about your way of working, rather than conducting an audit of your past shortcomings.

To help you prepare for these types of interview questions, I have put together some top tips on how to use your weaknesses in your job search.

1. Be aware of your own weaknesses

Recruiters and hiring managers are looking to find out if you’re aware of your own weaknesses. Passing over the subject or claiming you have no weaknesses won’t paint you in a positive light - but will instead communicate that you’re not self-aware or emotionally intelligent.

Recognising your own weaknesses and shortcomings shows you are beginning to take steps towards improving them. Furthermore, being transparent about your weaknesses will help the hiring manager understand how they can help you work around them and build an environment that facilitates your success.

2. Tailor your approach

As long as weaknesses are highlighted and discussed, they won’t be detrimental to your success. It’s not about the answer itself but how you respond to the situation.

It’s important to remain calm and think about the answer. Presenting yourself as a ‘perfectionist’ will tell the interviewer that you are telling them what you think they want to hear and don’t fully understand yourself or the role you’re applying for.

By carefully looking at the job description and trying to understand how you can tackle the challenge using your skill set, you will be able to highlight the key areas that you don’t understand or have experience in. This shows that you’re aware of what’s needed to be successful in the role, and you’re willing to work on improving the other skills in your arsenal.

3. Keep it professional

When addressing the question about your weaknesses, it’s important to focus on your professional life - such as being too critical of your work or always wanting to please people. It’s even more important to avoid talking about personal weaknesses such as running late for work or not being a team player - as this can ultimately lose you the job!

While it’s commendable to be aware of your weaknesses, this is not the opportunity to list your flaws, as this is a sales pitch for yourself after all.

4. Turn a negative into a positive

When discussing your weaknesses in an interview, it’s important to address how you have gone about fixing them - and ultimately, how you have turned a weakness into strengths.

When answering this type of question, interviewers are looking for one thing - how you overcame obstacles. It’s important to lead with your weaknesses, but then talk about how you addressed them and moved forward despite them. Another way to address weakness in a positive tone is to mention 'areas of improvement'.

I hope you have found these top tips useful! If you have any questions or would like to know more about interview techniques, please contact me at or call 020 7198 6050.

  • 020 7198 6000
  • TPP Recruitment, Northern & Shell Building, 4th Floor, 10 Lower Thames Street, London, EC3R 6AF