Not every job candidate is perfect.
The reality is, nearly every professional has had an experience where they made a mistake or missed a deadline. Instead of allowing these flaws to ruin your interview, it’s important to explain how you’ve improved as a professional and what you learned from each experience.
When hiring managers ask about your weaknesses during an interview, they’re simply trying to discover how you’ve conquered obstacles in your career. Here are some flaws you might have, and how to explain them during a job interview:
1. Low GPA.
Although most employers don’t pay attention to GPA, it can be a determining factor when the hiring manager is trying to decide between two candidates.
Many college graduates have lower GPAs because they had to balance part-time jobs, extracurricular activities, volunteering, or simply slept through too many classes. Regardless of your reasons for a low GPA, employers don’t want to hear an excuse. Employers want to know how you learned from the experience and what changes you’ve made in order to improve.
For example, if you had a low GPA because you were too involved with extracurriculars in college, explain how you learned the importance of time management. Tell the employer that you’ve learned not to overextend yourself in your professional career and have discovered how to prioritize projects and tasks.
2. Employment gap.
A number of professionals and recent graduates have gaps in their resumes. Whether they took six months to travel abroad or simply couldn’t find a job, it’s not uncommon for people to have gaps.
In the case you have a gap in your resume, employers want to know what you accomplished during that timeframe. The best way to explain the gap in your resume is to be honest and talk about the skills you gained during unemployment.
3. Job hopping.
While most employers are open-minded about job hopping, some hiring managers might wonder why you worked for an employer for only three months.
If you’re asked about the frequency of employment changes in your resume, highlight the skills you gained, as well as any accomplishments achieved in each position.
It’s also important to explain how these skills and accomplishments prepared you for the position you’re interviewing for. This way, you can show the employer how you’ve gained valuable experience despite only being with an employer for a short period of time.
4. Little or no industry-related experience.
Lacking industry-related experience is a common weakness among recent grads. Especially when not every college student is required to do an internship, talented graduates may have not taken advantage of them.
If an employer asks why you don’t have much experience, be honest but explain how you made up for the lack of experience. You can talk about how you gained experience through other part-time jobs, gained experience through your classwork, or held leadership positions within student organizations.
5. Lack of hard skills.
While you might have years of experience, an employer might expect you to have a specific skill set. If you don’t have a particular skill the employer is looking for, then it’s important to highlight your soft skills and explain that you’re a very coachable professional.
Show the employer that you are friendly, professional, and overall a great cultural fit for the organization. Hard skills can be learned in any position; it’s soft skills that set you apart from other candidates.
As you explain your weaknesses during a job interview, it’s essential to put yourself into the hiring manager’s shoes. Think about the things they’d look for in a candidate and figure out how you can fit their qualifications. By being honest, transparent, and thoughtful with your responses, you’ll likely show the employer you’re a great fit for the position despite your weaknesses.
How have you explained your weaknesses during a job interview?