Yes, I know, we all hate this interview question. But you will inevitably have to answer it someday, whether you are applying for a cabin crew position, or not.
So, buckle up, we’re going to tackle the best way to answer this question in a flight attendant interview.
Why Do Employers Ask Interview Questions About Weaknesses?
There are a few reasons employers ask this question, and no it’s not because they are simply sadistic and want to torture you or set you up for failure.
Here are a few good reasons why recruiters will ask you about your weaknesses:
- It tells them a lot about how you perceive yourself. They will not only be paying attention to the weakness you choose to highlight; they will also be looking at how confidently you answer the question, and whether or not you portray yourself in a positive or negative light while answering.
- It tells them whether or not you understand the types of skills you need to be successful in the role you are applying for. If you pick a weakness that is completely unrelated to the job you are applying for, your recruiter might interpret your answer as a lack of understanding about the position.
- It tells them about your willingness to take responsibility: Most employers want their employees to be able to take responsibility for themselves and their actions, even when it is uncomfortable. Being able to admit a weakness, identify why it is a weakness, and explain how you plan on overcoming it, tells an employer that you will take responsibility when you need to, and modify your actions/behavior to better suit the company’s goals and values.
Now that we understand the why, let’s tackle how to best answer the question so you can impress the recruiters.
How to Answer: What Is Your Weakness?
You may want to get out a pen and piece of paper for this section because you will need to do some brainstorming.
➡️ I want you to start by making a list of your weaknesses.
This process may feel a bit prickly and uncomfortable but it’s necessary. These don’t need to be super deep weaknesses that you would share with a therapist, rather, focus on professional weaknesses that might impact your performance as an employee.
➡️ Next, research the company you want to work for.
Pay close attention to their values and goals. If you can, check out blogs by current employees to learn more about the company culture.
➡️ Once you have done your homework, circle the weaknesses that are most relevant to the job you want and the company you want to work for.
When selecting the one to talk about at your interview, make sure that it is not serious enough to give your recruiter a red flag.
You want it to be just relevant enough, that you are being accountable to the job you want, without making yourself look like a terrible candidate.
A weakness you might discuss as a flight attendant is being nervous about public speaking. It’s relevant because you will need to make PA announcements, but it is something you can work past, and that you will clearly still be willing to do, despite your nervousness. It’s also only a small part of what you need to be good at to be a great flight attendant.
Now, I want you to reflect on ways you have been working to overcome this weakness and how you have improved in a professional setting. You are going to immediately follow your confession to the recruiter with this explanation.
Returning to the public speaking example, you could talk about a time in the past when you got over your fear by practicing what you needed to say.
Speaking of practice… Practice makes perfect!
You will want to practice your answer a few times before your interview to make sure you can deliver your answer with confidence.
What Is Your Greatest Weakness: Full Example of an Answer
Here’s an example of an answer that could work well at a cabin crew interview.
Interviewer: Tell me about a weakness of yours.
You: I get a little nervous when I have to do public speaking. In the past, I did a poor job of articulating myself in the spotlight, but I have been working on becoming a better public speaker by writing down what I want to say ahead of time and practicing it, so I feel confident when the time comes. Though I might be a bit nervous announcing things over the PA system at first, I’m sure that I’ll get more and more comfortable with practice.
Some Other Examples of Weaknesses You Can Mention in an Interview
Maybe you’re a great public speaker and the example given above doesn’t apply to you.
Fret not, there are plenty more to choose from.
Here are a few other examples that would work well in the context of a flight attendant interview.
Lack of Confidence
Being a little unsure of yourself is fine, especially if you are young!
Admitting you can question or doubt yourself at times shows that you are contentious and want to do the right thing.
Possible solutions to discuss include practice, time spent studying protocols so you will feel confident you know what to do in a given situation, and stepping out of your comfort zone so you get hands-on experiences that will grow your confidence.
Saying you are competitive at work tells an employer you are driven, but maybe not the easiest person to work with.
Possible solutions to discuss include reminding yourself not everyone wants to turn accomplishing work into a game, asking coworkers about whether or not they want to participate in a little friendly competition with you.
Basically, anything that tells the recruiter you aren’t going to be an obnoxious colleague.
Flight attendants need to be people-oriented, being shy can make interactions with passengers challenging, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Possible solutions to discuss include focusing on one passenger at a time, so the number of people on board won’t overwhelm you.
Common Mistakes When Answering: What Is Your Weakness
So far, we have discussed the best ways to go about answering the dreaded “weakness” question, but I also want to be clear about some common mistakes that are made when approaching this question.
Some people will give you bad advice, so be sure to steer clear of these mistakes:
❌ Denying any weakness
Nobody is perfect, and if you deny any weaknesses at all your employer is going to get the impression that you are a little delusional, if not narcissistic and I’m pretty sure that’s not the impression you want to leave them with.
❌ Talking about serious weaknesses
Whatever you confess to your recruiter it should not be something that will disqualify you from the job.
Keep those fatal flaws to yourself and discuss them with your therapist.
Things to avoid include bad communication skills, being bad at reading people, not being a great listener, being an alcoholic… I think you get the gist.
❌ Using something positive to say it’s a weakness
“I’m a perfectionist” or “I pay too much attention to detail,” are not weaknesses, no matter how much your perfectionism may impact your personal work-life-balance.
These answers are also cliché and overused.
They will not make you stand out as a candidate, and your recruiter might literally roll their eyes in exasperation because you missed the point of the question.
Basically, don’t take the question too seriously, but also don’t try to weasel your way out of it, and you’ll be fine.
There are a few common interview questions, and the “what are your weaknesses” question can come up quite frequently at cabin crew interviews.
Therefore, it’s best to be prepared for this question.
I hope this mini-guide has helped you gain some insight on how to best answer this dreaded interview question. I wish you the best of luck at your upcoming interviews!