If you’re seeking for work and are fortunate enough to be booked for an interview, one of the questions you’ll be asked is to outline your strengths and weaknesses. They may be asked separately by an interviewer, but most of the time these questions are asked simultaneously.
Don’t be surprised if this happens. These types of questions are to be expected during a job interview. As an interviewee, you must be ready to respond intelligently if you are asked about them.
However, if you are requested to address both your strengths and weaknesses, you may want to start with the weaknesses and work your way up to the strengths so that you may end your answer on a good note.
You’re probably stumped as to how to respond to this question honestly and thoughtfully. The capacity to answer in such manners demonstrates your professionalism and self-awareness.
The best answer to this question depends on your ability to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Strengths are your positive traits and weaknesses are areas where you need improvement.
For both questions, the formula is to highlight your strengths and weaknesses, add more information, and describe a story or circumstances about how these attributes manifest.
For more clarity, here are some examples of strengths and weaknesses, as well as sample responses.
Use the job description as a guide if you’re confused on how to respond to this question. You can craft your response and use examples from your own experiences where you have demonstrated such strength. Choose three to five skills you think are important for the position you’re applying for.
Remain humble while highlighting your strengths as you don’t want to come out as boastful to the interviewer. Be confident but don’t try to sell yourself too hard!
Leadership skills: “I’ve always had a natural leadership ability. I’ve exceeded my KPIs every quarter for more than ten years in finance and sales, and I’ve been promoted twice in the last five years. When I reflect on those accomplishments, I realize that I would not have been able to achieve them if I hadn’t developed and led teams composed of highly skilled and varied individuals. I’m pleased with my ability to bring together cross-functional teams. ‘ve frequently improved my management abilities through 360 assessments and candid conversations with my team, and I believe that my future post will allow me to continue to grow as a leader.”
Collaboration skills: “I’ve always preferred to work in groups and consider collaboration to be one of my best qualities. On projects that I directed, I was able to motivate and collaborate with a varied group of people to meet the project’s objectives. In fact, during the last two years, I’ve raised my productivity by 10%.”
Interpersonal skills: “I’m an empathic individual who excels at relating to others and comprehending their needs. I was working as a customer service representative and received a call from an angry client. I talked her through the various options available to her, ensuring that she had a pleasant experience with the organization. I understand the value of a satisfied customer, and I’m eager to keep a positive attitude and focus on finding solutions.”
Technical skills: “I have exceptional writing abilities. For the past three years, I’ve worked as a copywriter in a variety of businesses, and I’m dedicated to both creative excellence and performance metrics in my work. I’ve got to learn how to strike the right mix between creativity and data, and it’s a personal goal of mine to show what good writing can do for a company.”
Organization skills: “My work ethic has always been a strong suit of mine. I am dedicated to meeting deadlines and accepting responsibility for my work’s quality.”
- Extremely shy/personable
- Not a risk-taker
- Unfamiliar with a particular software or tool
- Limited skills/Inexperienced
When enumerating your weaknesses, it’s essential to be truthful and humble in your response.
Choose a trait and present a solution to overcome such a weakness. You must give your interviewer the impression that you are eager to improve in these areas.
The capacity to acknowledge your own weaknesses and understand the need for growth shows your interviewer that you are flexible.
Extremely shy: “I’m a naturally shy person. This has made it difficult for me to share my thoughts during team meetings. I remained silent and a listener, no matter how wonderful my suggestions were. But, for the benefit of my team, I began to be more transparent. I gradually started to speak up and participate in group brainstorming and discussions.”
Procrastination: “I’ve always been a procrastinator. However, after seeing how it affects the productivity of my team, I began to manage my schedule. I prioritize work based on its urgency and ensure that it is delivered in a timely manner.”
Self-critical: “I have a tendency to be harsh on myself. Even if my work is well appreciated, I can’t help but feel that I could have done more when I finish a project. This frequently leads to me overworking myself and leaving me exhausted. Over the last few years, I’ve attempted to take the time to objectively assess my accomplishments and to celebrate those victories. This has helped me not only with my personal self-esteem, but also with actually appreciating and acknowledging my colleagues and other support systems.”
Unfamiliar with a particular software or tool: “I am not familiar with this particular tool at work. However, because this technology is necessary for me to complete my assignment, I make an effort to learn how to use it.”
Practice makes perfect
Aside from preparing a script, practice saying them out loud. A good story requires a good story teller, too.
Job interviews can be a nerve-wracking experience. But it makes a huge difference to be well-prepared. In the end, your interviewer will appreciate your readiness and confidence in handling yourself during the interview. And who knows, you will get the job offer right away!