In an interview, you will be asked a lot of questions about yourself. One of the most nerve-racking parts may be when a recruiter or prospective boss asks you “What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?”
“What would you say is one of your weaknesses?” you’re bound to hear. In almost every hiring process you’ll ever go through, you’ll be asked, “What is your greatest strength?” or “What is your greatest weakness?” or both. While this may be frustrating—really, every time?—it also means you can anticipate questions and prepare thoughtful responses that will impress the interviewer.
In other words, with a little practice, you can master the art of selling your strengths without sounding conceited and discussing your weaknesses without undermining your candidacy.
How to Address Your Greatest Strengths & Weaknesses:
1.Consider carefully what you should reveal
Use the job description to frame your answer: Your greatest strengths and weaknesses should be in line with the role’s requirements. Make a point of emphasizing your skills that are listed in the job description, as well as explaining how you plan to gain or improve critical skills that you lack.
In general, your strengths should be skills that can be supported through experience. For example, if you list communication as a strength, you may want to recall a situation in which you used communication to achieve a goal or solve a problem.
Your weaknesses may include a hard skill listed in the job description, as long as you emphasize your desire to learn this skill through a course or programme. Similarly, listing a soft skill that you lack should be accompanied by a plan for learning or improving this skill.
Try not to reveal too much: While it is important to be honest about your weaknesses, there are a few characteristics that should not be mentioned in a job interview. This includes being late, paying poor attention to detail, and failing to meet deadlines.
Tips for Talking About Greatest Strengths and Weaknesses in an Interview
1. Be Honest
Honesty is one of the most important things to get right when discussing your strengths and weaknesses in an interview setting. It may sound trite, but it is true. A genuine and authentic response will impress, whereas one that sounds generic, calculated, exaggerated, or humblebraggy will not.
A boss does not want to hire someone who is unable to recognize and own what they bring to the table as well as what they need to improve. You’ll be a better employee if you can recognize and capitalize on your strengths while also acknowledging and learning from your weaknesses. So you want to demonstrate in the interview that you are capable of such self-reflection.
2. Tell a Story
Another adage you should remember: “Show, don’t tell.” Everyone who has ever taken a writing class, from seventh grade to graduate school, has heard it. It’s something you should keep in mind when answering almost any interview question, and it’s especially useful here.
“It’s a good idea to have a real-life or concrete example whenever possible.” “It just helps to contextualize the response a little,” Smith explains. “With a story, we just understand concepts and situations better.” So it’s always helpful if you can tell a story that supports your thesis.”
3. Remember to Get to the Insight
A genuine answer with an illustrative anecdote is a good start, but it’s not complete until you add some insight. This applies to both strengths and weaknesses, but it appears differently in each case.
When discussing a strength, the final beat of your response should connect whatever skill or trait you’ve been discussing to the role and company you’re applying for. Tell the interviewer how that skill would be useful in this specific position at this specific company.
“Since things move quickly at [Company], this would allow me to come in and earn a new team’s confidence and foster a trusting team culture while also ensuring we’re all hitting our goals and delivering high-quality work,” you might add to the revamped client proposal example.
4. Keep It Short
You don’t have to devote half of the interview to these responses. Depending on how the question is phrased, you can keep your response brief and focused on one or two strengths or weaknesses.
To add to our list of overused-but-useful phrases: Think quality, not quantity. Don’t just jump in and rattle off a list of things you think you’re good or bad at without explaining anything. Instead, narrow it down and go into detail.
“What Are Your Greatest Strengths and Weaknesses?” Answers
- One of my greatest assets is my ability to lead. During my time as a department head, I successfully merged two teams and organized training programmes for all team members to ensure that everyone was comfortable in their new role. As a result, we were able to increase sales by 5% in our first month as a new team.
- My experience as an HR representative has given me excellent communication skills. I was in charge of facilitating informational workshops for staff members as well as mediating any workplace conflict. I also completed a UCLA course on effective communication.
- I’ve worked as a copywriter for 7 years and consider myself to have excellent writing skills. After five years at the company, I was promoted to an editorial position, and my editing skills have improved as a result of my new position.
- I am very honest. When I feel my workload is too heavy to accept another task, or if I don’t understand something, I always notify my supervisor.
- My strongest suit is my ability to interact with others. I can easily connect with almost anyone, and I frequently know how to empathize with others in an appropriate manner.
- I am afraid of public speaking and have frequently struggled with presentations. As a result, I am currently enrolled in a public speaking course at a community college in order to gain confidence and learn how to structure a speech more effectively.
- I frequently struggle with delegation and prefer to take on a larger workload to ensure a task is completed flawlessly. This increases the amount of pressure I put on myself, so I’ve been using software to assign tasks and track their completion. So far, this has enabled me to trust my coworkers and concentrate more on my own tasks.
- In large groups, I struggle with shyness. I find it intimidating to ask questions or raise concerns, so I have often remained silent in the past. I’ve been trying to be more vocal in smaller groups to gain confidence.
- In my previous position, I primarily used Python, so I don’t have as much experience with Java. I took a Java course at university for one semester, but I haven’t used it since.
- After receiving notes from a supervisor, I struggle with negative criticism and can become obsessed with perfecting my work. While I appreciate the advice, I believe I can learn to be kinder to myself.