Answering Strengths & Weaknesses Questions in an Interview
Assessing Your Strengths and Weaknesses
When preparing for an interview, it's important to make sure you know how to talk about yourself.
Besides the request, "Tell me about yourself," the next most common topic covered in an interview is some variation of, "Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses." The interviewer might bring this up by asking a variety of questions, including:
- What separates you from other employees?
- Name a time when you used your skills to successfully handle a conflict in the workplace.
- What was your greatest accomplishment at your last job?
- What is your strongest soft skill?
- Tell me about the successes you’ve had in the past.
- What was your greatest difficulty at your last job?
- What steps are you taking to grow as an employee?
- Tell me about a time you made a commitment and did not deliver on it. How did you handle it?
- What is one thing you want to learn, either in this role or outside of work?
- What is one trait your past supervisors would say you need to work on?
The questions may sound different, but the purpose is the same. The interviewer wants to know more about you as a professional and how you use your skills to deal with problems in the workplace. There is a right way and wrong way to answer these questions, and the way you answer will have an impact on your overall success.
Talking About Your Strengths
All too often, there is confusion about the correct way to talk about your strengths. When talking about your strengths, here are a list of things that you should and should not do:
Speaking honestly about your strengths will go a long way in gaining your interviewer's trust.
It's important to make sure your answers are relevant and concise.
Have Specific Examples in Mind
Don't ramble about your past experiences; have a specific example planned out.
Be Too Humble
Sometimes candidates are hesitant to talk about their strengths.
Be Too Arrogant
Being too arrogant can be off-putting, and interviewers will see it as a red flag.
Not Standing Out
If you are using a strength that anybody can use, you aren't going to stand out in an interview.
Find out exactly how to discuss your strengths and weaknesses by signing up for the premium version of this training program.
"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."
- Albert Einstein
How to Assess Your Strengths
It can be difficult to figure out what your strengths are. Luckily, everybody has something they're good at! Follow these steps to identify your strengths:
Step 1: Brainstorm
Think about tasks, projects, and activities that you enjoy.
Step 2: Think About Your Past Experiences
Looking back at past successes can give you clues as to what your strengths are. You may have a strength you didn't even know about!
Step 3: Ask For Feedback
Asking for honest feedback about your strengths can help you gain a new perspective on what you're good at. It also has the added benefit of giving your self-confidence a boost!
Remember - Nobody's Perfect
Now that you know how to assess your strengths let's take a look at something else that's just as important — identifying your weaknesses.
Talking About Your Weaknesses
When talking about your weaknesses, here are a list of things that you should and should not do:
You'll notice a theme here —honesty is a big deal in interviews! This is especially true when talking about your weaknesses.
Choose a Weakness That Doesn't Effect Your Job
When speaking about your weaknesses, it's a good idea to choose a weakness that won't be a huge handicap for the position you're applying for.
Show That Your Weakness is Fixable
Once you've decided on a weakness, determine ways to show that you are actively working to overcome it.
Lying about your weaknesses is one of the worst mistakes you can make in an interview.
Attempt to Disguise a Strength as a Weakness
Some candidates will try to pass off a strength as a weakness.
Choose the Wrong Weakness
You don't want to choose a weakness that will raise a red flag for the interviewer.
How to Assess Your Weaknesses
Now that you know how to talk about your weaknesses, let's work on how to assess them.
Step 1: Identify Stressors
Think about your most stressful times at work.
Step 2: Analyze for Weaknesses
For each of these past situations, ask yourself why you were stressed.
Step 3: Ask for Feedback
Sometimes, candidates have trouble recognizing their weaknesses. Luckily, people within your network are often very receptive to providing constructive criticism.
Like what you are seeing? Learn more about answering questions on your strengths and weaknesses by signing up for the premium version of our training program.
How Your Strengths/ Weaknesses Are Transitional
Many people don't realize that their strengths and weaknesses are transitional. When identifying these transitional skills, there are several things to keep in mind:
This is just a preview of the actual Strengths & Weaknesses Guide. We've outlined some necessary information here but go into much more detail in the real thing. Here is the information we cover in more detail:
- Identifying your strengths for any interview, even if you are switching careers.
- Learning to assess weaknesses in a productive way and talking about them honestly without ruining your chances at getting the job.
- Talking about your strengths without coming off as boastful as well as accurately assessing your strengths and presenting them in a positive manner.