How to explain your weaknesses during an interview

Q. Just had a phone interview with someone from Chips Quinn. How can I better answer broad questions like: "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" without it seeming like I am dodging the question?


A. This is a standard job interview question, and you should have an answer to it. There is no need to dodge it. Let's be honest -- we all have weaknesses.

When you mention weaknesses, do not mention character flaws or personal traits: "I lie. I steal. I am just a little bit lazy." These things seldom change.

Instead, mention areas where you have determined you need to grow your skills and are already working on that: "I need to get better at video and I just bought a sweet camera." "My InDesign skills need a refresher course and hey, I am taking one."

Do not try to use strengths as weaknesses: "I am a perfectionist. I take on too many stories. I am always helping the people around me."

Describe actual weaknesses, but view them as skill deficiencies that you want to improve upon.

  • Joe Grimm

    Joe Grimm is a visiting editor in residence at the Michigan State University School of Journalism. He runs the JobsPage Website.


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