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Interviewing Tips/Describe one of your weaknesses



I have a job interview early next week, and I was told that the employer had asked the following question to other candidates: "Describe one of your weaknesses as an ESL teacher and what you have done to address it over the course of your career."

I know that I should not talk about a weakness related to the position I applied for, but I can't find an answer to this tough question. Do you have any suggestions or examples of weaknesses I should mention?  Please be specific.

Thanks a million for your help!

Hello Zakaria,

It is quite common for interviewers to ask about your greatest weakness, so it is smart for any job seeker to be prepared with an answer to this question.

I have answered this question previously on AllExperts, and I have also written about it in detail on my own site.

You'll find my AllExperts answer here:
It includes a sample answer as well as an analysis of the answer so you'll understand why the answer is effective.  I used to teach adult education, (not ESL, but there would be similar expectations) and the sample answer is a real weakness and an answer I would consider giving in an interview for a similar job.

You mentioned "please be specific". I'm not sure what level of specificity you were hoping for.  To clarify, both pages I've linked to do provide specific examples of how to answer that question. However, I have never simply provided standard answers for people to give in a job interview because a standard answer that a career coach told you to say would not sound sincere, and, therefore, is very likely to work against you in a job interview.  As a job search workshop facilitator, I would always teach clients how to formulate their own good answers to interview questions, but I would never simply tell them what to say in response to a question.

In a job interview, employers want to get to know you personally and professionally, and the best way to ensure that happens is to provide answers that are a sincere reflection of you and your work style and that also show you at your best.

In general, to answer this question well, think about something that is a real weakness of yours and describe how you handle it so it is no longer a weakness.  Please do read the two pages linked above. They will provide you with specific examples and instructions, and the worksheet on my site will guide you step by step through the process of coming up with your own sincere answer that shows you at your best.

Best of luck with your job interview!

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Lisa McGrimmon


I can answer questions about resume and cover letter writing, how to find job leads, and all facets of the interview process including how to prepare for an interview, common techniques used by employers, how to handle specific interview questions, and what to do after an interview. I facilitated a job finding club for five years and have helped approximately 2000 clients find work. I have written almost 1000 resumes and have conducted approximately 2000 mock interviews for clients.


As a job club facilitator, I ran weekly workshops which covered resume and cover letter writing, maintaining your confidence through the job search process, how find good job leads, and job interview skills. I worked one on one with each participant in my workshops. By the end of the week, each client received an individualized resume written by me, with the client's input, and each client participated in a mock interview that I observed and critiqued.

Career and Work Counselor Program, Sir Sandford Fleming College, Bachelor of Education Degree, Queen's University

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