What Are Your Weaknesses: Job Interview Answer Examples

Wondering how to answer the dreaded question “What Are Your Weaknesses” during an interview for a Monitoring and Evaluation job? Then you are in the right place.  

In this article, you will learn why recruiters or hiring managers ask this question in the first place and how to answer the question. We have included one sample to inspire you to better craft your own answer.

Why Recruiters Ask The Question “What Are Your Weaknesses” #

While there are so many reasons why hiring managers and recruiters ask this question, one secret you should know is that hiring managers are not really after what you answer but how you answer. Generally, hiring managers or recruiters are on the lookout for these three qualities in their ideal candidate:

#1. Self-awareness 

The perfect candidate for the job would not deny that they have real weaknesses but should explain to the recruiter that the weaknesses will not affect their performance on the job. For instance, you can say something like “certainly, I have a number of weaknesses, of which the biggest among them is my inability to work well in a team.

#2. Honesty 

There is always a price for claiming what you know is fake. If the recruiter or hiring manager ever finds out a false claim that you made during the interview, you are likely not to get the job. The perfect candidate for the position of an evaluator is someone that is truthful at all times. Choose a weakness and then explain the steps you have taken to improve that weakness. If your weakness is time management, you can explain to the hiring manager that you have enrolled for a time management course at a local college close to your home.

#3. Self-improvement 

During the interview session, you should endeavor to prove to the hiring manager or recruiter that you are open to self-improvement. You should also explain the steps you have taken to improve yourself. 

Other Ways Recruiters Might Ask The Question “What Are Your Weaknesses?” #

As you prepare for your next interview, don’t expect to always see the question “what are your weaknesses” in a generic way. There are other ways recruiters or hiring managers can ask you this question, which you need to be aware of. Below are some variations to the question:

  • What do you consider to be your weaknesses?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Describe a difficult work situation and what you did to overcome it. 
  • Tell me about a time you failed.
  • What are your weakest skills?
  • What would your current boss say is your weakest area?
  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • What are some of your weaknesses?

How to Answer the What Are Your Weaknesses Job Interview Question #

Before we show you how to answer the question “what are your weaknesses during a job interview,” here is a list of professional skills that align with the position of an M&E expert that you can mention during a job interview:

  • Patience
  • Focus 
  • Shyness
  • Teamwork
  • Time management
  • Sharing responsibility
  • Overtalking 
  • Delegating tasks
  • Humor
  • Organization skills
  • Sitting still
  • Writing skills
  • Spontaneity (you don’t like to work unprepared)
  • Multitasking
  • Presenting to public
  • Public speaking
  • Speaking too honestly
  • Command of a particular foreign language.

Now, to answer the question, start by asking yourself the following:

  • Has there been a time I failed in my academics?
  • Have I ever been criticized for doing my work in a particular way?
  • Has a superior colleague ever cautioned me for doing something different?
  • Has there been a time that I failed in my job responsibilities?
  • Is there a skill that I struggle with on the job?

The best response to the question “what are your weaknesses” has two parts – the weakness itself and the steps you have taken to correct the weaknesses. 

Sample #

Right Answer 

Since I finished college and took up my first appointment as a junior evaluator in one of the most reputable firms in my city, I’ve always struggled with the lack of focus, especially for extended periods of time. While I was in school – from high school up to collect level, I was never a bookworm. I used to prefer hands-on activities and athletics over academic work. However, to ensure that I graduated with good grades I had to set study goals for myself and arrange for extra classes during the holidays. This taught me discipline and also helped me focus on anything I am into. Today, I am happy to say that I graduated from high school and college with honors.

If you closely take a look at the answer above, you will know that the answer did not disguise weaknesses as a strength, instead, the candidate mentioned his/her strengths and what he/she is doing to improve on the weaknesses, and this is exactly what hiring managers want to hear during an interview session. 

Wrong Answer

One of my biggest weaknesses is that I have anger management problems. Whenever a junior or superior colleague offends me, I tend to blow up so easily. As a matter of fact, I am what you can best describe as the opposite of a Little Miss Sunshine. I like working in a group but cannot tolerate any nonsense from any individual on the team. The moment I discover that I cannot tolerate you in a team, I will escalate the issue to the management of the company so that the management can either replace me or the person I am not comfortable working with.

If the job posting includes that the company needs someone positive or friendly for the role, then the response above does not qualify the candidate for the next round of the interview process.

Ways to Improve Your Weaknesses  #

There are different ways you can improve your weaknesses so that you can be a great addition to the company that we employ you. Top among the list of the ways include for you to enroll in a class or get training. Enrolling in a class or getting trained in the subject matter that you are not good at can help to improve your self-awareness. 

Other ways to improve your weaknesses include joining groups or workshops, as well as doing volunteer work or an activity outside of work. You can also get help from an advisor or a mentor. The bottom line is for you to improve your weaknesses and self-esteem so that recruiters or hiring managers can put you in their good books after a successful interview session.

Key Takeaway #

Failure to provide an appropriate answer to the question what are your weaknesses has denied a lot of candidates seeking a job offer as an evaluator the opportunity to work in a firm they’ve always dreamt of being part of. In today’s highly competitive and saturated job market, hiring managers and recruiters usually look for a way to catch candidates off guard by asking questions like “what are your weaknesses” during the interview session. To properly answer this question, you should:

  • Understand why recruiters ask the question in the first place.
  • Focus on being honest, self-aware, and dedicated to the job.
  • Highlight your real weaknesses and the steps you have taken to improve on them.
  • Answer the question constructively and remember you are human too. 

Finally, if you are still struggling on how to answer the question “what are your weaknesses,” then contact us. We will help you better answer the question.