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Turning Your Weaknesses into Your Strength During a Tech Interview

Isha Sharma
Published: October 7, 2022

When you go for an interview in a product or service-based company for an SDE role or any role for it matter, the interviewer will try to haze you as much as he/she wants just to know about your personal and professional background, experience, and your personality. This is where you should play a fair game. Interviewers will ask you about your strengths and weaknesses to gauge your ability to tackle the challenges. So, how do you manage to answer this tricky question without looking as imperfect and turning around your weakness into your strength? 

Turning Your Weaknesses into Your Strength During a Tech Interview


How to Tackle ‘What Are Your Weaknesses?’

When meeting with this impending doom of a question, “What are your weaknesses?”; every interviewee thinks about how to tackle this question without highlighting your weaknesses in a bad light. Ultimately, you want to discuss your weaknesses in a job interview in a way that strengthens rather than weakens your position. The hiring manager is interested in your ability to handle adversity at work.

The first step is to consider the limitations that have challenged you at work. The best way to gather information about areas for improvement is from past performance evaluations and notes from supervisors.

Here are some attributes recruiters and interviewees may be looking for within your response:

  • Self-awareness: Recruiters want to understand how well you know yourself. A sense of self-awareness means that you are willing to acknowledge your weaknesses and work on improving them.
  • Honesty: When you show your vulnerability in front of a total stranger, you’ll come off as an honest person. Your weakness will become your strength at that moment. 
  • Emotional quotient: Just how your IQ matters, the same way your EQ or Emotional Quotient or Intelligence matters as well. It shows that you can observe and handle your emotions and identify your motivations.
  • Self-improvement: Your answer can show that you are willing to improve specific aspects of yourself and learn new things.

It’s humbling to reflect on your own flaws. It is critical to consider your flaws before your interview so that you may provide an answer that demonstrates your awareness and desire to change. Instead of misrepresenting a strength as a weakness, utilize this as a chance to address abilities or personal attributes that might be improved.

As a software engineer, you should aggressively recognize your weaknesses since it demonstrates that you are constantly striving to improve yourself. Everyone should have weaknesses; the good candidates will likely discover what those are quick since it reveals whether or not they are actively working to improve their skills.

Few bad examples of bad weaknesses on the job

Weaknesses are only weaknesses when you make them your weakness. Don’t get it? Check out these weaknesses that you might be having on your ‘flaws list’. Note that these aren’t good choices for your answer if the job requires specific skills in these areas.

  • Inexperience with specific software or a non-essential skill
  • Tendency to take on too much responsibility
  • Nervousness about public speaking
  • Hesitancy about delegating tasks
  • Discomfort taking big risks
  • Impatience with bureaucracies
  • Being too perfect 

So, check off these answers from your list forever! First, you need to think about why the interviewer is asking you that question. Either it can be to observe how you tackle tricky questions or whether you’ll fumble up while trying to find answers. The interviewer looks for signs that may make you panic, feel worried, or become flustered. Whatever your response, it’s critical that you retain the same degree of confidence, tranquility, and positivism as you would for any other inquiry.

With that in mind, let’s look at how to correctly answer the question in a true, thoughtful, and sincere manner without making it cliche!

Turning Your Weaknesses Into Your Strength During An Interview

Here are some of the weaknesses you can consider telling the interviewer that will make you look confident instead of a fool.

1. I’m not good at estimating how long a task takes to complete. But this is something I’m working on by segregating my task into a roadmap and trying to find out how much time each phase needs to be completed.

2. I usually get frustrated when I’m blocked. I feel this is one of the weaknesses that have been holding me off to achieve greater results. To curb this, I take breaks whenever my mind gets blank. Be it an hour or so – to give my mind a break from the monotonous routine. It helps me to generate new ideas which I implement while coding which in turn makes it more efficient. Sometimes pause is necessary to prance back with greater zeal. 

3. I get stuck when my manager asks me to voice my input. It makes me way too nervous and of which my mind freezes. Well, it’s something I’m aware of and I’ve been practicing a range of visualization techniques before going into meetings. This has given me a lot of confidence and I’ve improved significantly over the last year.

How to Choose a Good Weakness?

1. Choose a weakness that is appropriate for the work at hand – You may highlight abilities that are not required for the position. Don’t bring up a shortcoming linked to the job you’re applying for. If you’re seeking a job as a software developer, don’t mention that you despise coding.

2. Choose a modest and easily remediable weakness- A weakness that is easily mended with basic motivation. Your weakness should be one that you may potentially improve with personal effort. If you are applying for a Backend developer job, you can say, “I am not familiar with front-end development. Instead, I focus mainly on new tools related to back-end development because I’m interested in back-end development.”

3. Choose those skills that you’ve done improvement in. So when they ask you about weaknesses, you can say – Assume, you are applying for a Software Developer job and this position doesn’t require interaction with clients. You can say – “Conducting group presentations was one of the skills I worked on in the past. As a software engineer, I always write code and have one-on-one contacts. I thought it could help me enhance my presentation abilities. So I attended soft skills training and worked on my presenting abilities. It was quite useful in presenting a product to clients.”

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve got an idea of what to answer when the interviewer asks you, “What are your weaknesses and strengths?”. As a software developer, you’re expected to take on new tasks and complete them within less time frame. Your agility is tested in the organization. To do that, your mind needs to be clear and sharp. Making weaknesses into a strength is not challenging if you know how to tackle those weaknesses and having flaws only make a person more humane. Don’t be nervous and answer this tricky question as you do with other questions – with poise!