What are your

If you've ever been kept awake at night stressing about an upcoming job interview (and let's face it, who hasn't?) we're here to help. And one of the toughest parts of any interview is trying to describe your professional weaknesses.

It's a make or break question for a lot of candidates, which is why we've analysed the question, found out why it's important and given some examples of some key weaknesses you can talk about in the interview.

What are professional weaknesses?

Most people associate weaknesses with faults. But in reality, a professional weakness is best thought of as an opportunity to improve. Don't speak negatively in an interview, but communicate strength by showing you're smart enough to recognise where you need to improve and evidence how you've done this.

How often does this question come up in interviews

Almost every time. This is a favourite of any interviewer and it's definitely on the list of the top 10 questions. Always be ready for it, and even if the interviewer doesn't ask you this directly, you can still usually find a way to work your answer into another question as it's quite an overarching topic.

How hard is this question to answer

It's definitely one of the harder questions to answer as most of us have a lot of difficulty describing our weaknesses. Our advice is to write out a full list of professional weaknesses in advance of your interview and try to match a couple of them back to the job description.

Then, come up with some specific examples of how you've worked to improve on that weakness. This presents your weakness in a strong light, shows you've read the job description carefully and evidences that you take active steps to improve yourself.

Why would an interviewer ask this question

As one of the most common interview questions, interviewers love this one because it presents something of a challenge to the candidate. How will you react? Will you squirm uncomfortably in your seat? Give a cliched answer? Give an overconfident answer?

Asking what your weaknesses are is a great way to drill down into your personality, as well as show your commitment to self improvement.

List of 6 professional weaknesses

You're too passive

You don't take the initiative as much as you could, even when you have good ideas.

Too details oriented

While keeping an eye on the details is great, some can lose sight of the big picture. Promote yourself as a person of quality and detail, but recognise you need to take note of the wider project at hand.

Control freak

Some of us have a really hard time trusting others in the team to do what they need to do.

Panic under pressure

A lot of us perform badly when out of our depth. Expose yourself to as many different situations as you can to overcome this fear.

Lack assertiveness

Some people just can't say no, or won't stick up for themselves. Mention any steps you've taken to combat this, like additional training.


On the opposite end of the scale there are those who are too assertive and overbearing, and try to dominate the workplace.

Need more advice?
Why not head on over to UPChapter.com/interview-questions. There you'll find helpful resources, guides and tools that can help you nail that interview and take your career to the next level.
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