How to answer, ‘what is your greatest weakness?’ in a HR, IT or Marketing interview?

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It is a question that makes most candidates nervous to answer, but only if unprepared: “What is your greatest weakness?” 

As far as interview questions go, ‘what is your greatest weakness’ is a pretty scary one and one that nobody wants to answer. After all who wants to reveal their weaknesses to a potential employer.  

I’ll confess that there is almost an expectation that people will not be completely honest during this round of questions, but however you answer the question it will still be very revealing to the person doing the asking.  

There are two main routes to go down when answering this question. You can mention a weakness with regards to a skill that isn’t a major component of the job. And the classic answer of turning a negative into a positive  

General weaknesses that apply to any role and are frequently said are:  

  • A completer finisher – when you struggle to switch off a task that can’t be immediately completed in order to move onto to a new task 
  • Attempting to please everyone 
  • Being unfamiliar with the latest software 

These three answers also sit within three distinct categories, which we would advise sticking to as a rule for answering this question: 

  • Soft skills 
  • Interpersonal skills 
  • Hard skills 

As a general guide, a really great way of answering this question is to demonstrate that you are actively working to improve whatever weakness you have flagged. Showing a potential employer that you are dedicated and committed to personal improvement is always a strength.  

How to use our blogs for interviews

This blog is part of series of blogs, looking at ways to help you improve your interview technique by honing one question at a time and really considering what that question means, whilst considering the context of HR, IT and marketing. 

How to answer, “why should we hire you?” in a HR, IT or marketing interview 

In this blog we drill down on answering the question, focusing specifically on how to highlight your experience, what you hope to get from the role and any soft skills that complement the position.  

How to answer, “what are your future goals?”, in a HR, IT or marketing interview  

In this blog we broke down the goals into short-term goals and long-term goals, focusing on each area of HR, IT and marketing.  

Our advice is to always tailor answers to the role itself, which is why we have broken the question down within each sector. 

How to answer, ‘what is your greatest weakness?’ in a HR interview

Hard skills are not always as vital as interpersonal skills to HR roles, therefore make sure you think carefully about what skills the role requires 

Think of weakness such as ‘software packages require a bit of extra learning’ and explain why you struggle in those areas, as well as what you think would help, when it comes to overcoming them – always have a solution ready! 

Research the job role thoroughly and make sure you don’t inadvertently say a weakness that is crucial, unless of course you have already overcome it, which employers love to hear 

Search for the latest HR jobs here 

How to answer, ‘what is your greatest weakness?’ in an IT interview

Arguably interpersonal or soft skills are areas that aren’t traditionally associated with most IT roles, as hard skills are the most important part of an IT role. Therefore, it is best to lead with those as weaknesses  

Think of key personality traits such as being sensitive or shy, many would say this was a weakness. But in your interview, you can use these traits to say why being sensitive means you can empathise with others in the workplace, which is good for teamwork. Shyness is also something that can be worked on by setting yourself small daily tasks to assert yourself.  

IT has its stereotypes, so it is refreshing for employees to see a candidate demonstrate with a weakness, how they’ve set about breaking that mould.  

Search for the latest IT jobs here  

How to answer, ‘what is your greatest weakness?’ in a marketing interview

It is best to avoid weaknesses that are useful for marketing roles, such as soft skillsfor example creativity is a skill that employers will want to see.  

Think of a hard skill that you would like work on, it may not have a direct impact on the role, but it will demonstrate that you are keen to learn and develop. For example, learning how to be an excel wizard or picking up another language, these show a wider understanding of how roles can develop by being organised or merging into other geo-markets. 

Remember that weaknesses are cultural constructs and somewhere in the world right now, weakness isn’t even weakness   


Alex Smith

Recruitment Specialist

I’ve worked in recruitment for the same agency for over 12 years, covering finance, office support, construction, and engineering. Temp and perm. Previously, my line of work was within banking and estate agency.
Favourite food: “Curry (Hot)”
Favourite film: “Heat”

Outside of work

“Gym 5 days a week. Home life consists mostly of entertaining a 3 year old! (for clarification – my son)”

Alex on ACR

“Very refreshing to work for a recruitment agency that genuinely care for their candidates and clients”

T: 01733 235298

Sarah-Jane Bond

Recruitment Specialist

I have spent the majority of my career working in Operational and Project Management roles. I first worked with ACR about 25 years ago as a candidate. ACR secured me a role at RNIB, where I stayed for 15 years, finishing as Head of Operations. Recruitment has always been a big part of the roles I have undertaken and is something that I really enjoy. When you match a fantastic candidate with the right client there is no better feeling!
Favourite food: “Has to be any dish from the Mediterranean”
Favourite film: “There are many, love a chick flick, especially ‘The Holiday at Christmas”

Outside of work

“I love socialising with friends, can always squeeze a bit of retail therapy in around volunteering at Deeping Rangers FC, running their hospitality on match days.”

Sarah-Jane on ACR

“I couldn’t have been more delighted when Nel asked me to join the company and have felt at home since day one. They really do care about providing the best service for their clients and candidates, building genuine relationships with both. The team culture is second to none, everyone supporting and looking out for each other. It is a pleasure to come to work every day.”

T: 01733 235298

Emily Roach

Recruitment Specialist

Emily was a Primary School Teacher for 10 years, before moving into the EdTech space, as a Relationship Specialist for MATs. She joined ACR in July 2023 and particularly thrives when recruiting for Account Management, Customer Service and Sales roles.
Favourite food:
“Spag bol or pizza”
Favourite film:
“The Notebook – or any romantic chick flick really!”
Outside of work
“I have a 1-year-old, so love fun family weekends with my fiancé and son more than anything. Time socialising with friends and family is where I’m happiest.”
Emily on ACR
“The unique culture, values, and style at ACR is polar opposite to other recruitment agencies and what I believed recruitment was. Having previously been a Relationship Specialist, I feel I’m doing the same thing! No hard sell, we truly care about our candidates and clients, and the team culture is 2nd to none!”
T: 01733 235298

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