“What are your strengths and weaknesses?”. Sooner or later, at one of the job interviews, you will hear this question.
At this moment, the main thing is – do not to get confused, but give an honest and thoughtful answer with the right overtone that will emphasize your professionalism and impress (in a good sense) the employer.
The question about strengths and weaknesses is one of the most common interview questions. So try to prepare your answer in advance.
Why Is It Important to Prepare for an Interview?
Even if during the interview the question “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” does not sound like such a formulation, it will indirectly affect all the topics of your interview. Therefore, a pre-thought-out answer will be useful to you.
In any case, the interview is a kind of advertising, but the advertised product is yourself. Therefore, you should be able to present yourself to an employer, focusing on your strengths and professional qualities.
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In this article, you will find tips for preparing the best answer to the employer’s question, a list of weaknesses and strengths, recommendations, and example answers to the question “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”.
“What Are Your Strengths?”. Job Interview Question
Surprisingly, many people find it difficult to talk about their strengths. After all, the balance between modesty and self-confidence is not easy to maintain, especially during such a stressful situation as a job interview.
The first thing you need to do before preparing a story about your strengths and weaknesses is to study the main requirements for the position. You will use these requirements as the basis for your answer later.
Instead of saying to the employer “I am very hardworking and responsible”, try to prepare a short story about yourself. Highlight those strengths and skills that you need for this position. Be sure to give specific examples from your professional activities.
Tell at the job interview what your strengths are, and what skills and knowledge you have as a professional. Do not forget to mention personal qualities.
Convince the employer that you are not only an excellent professional but a good person too.
The List of Strengths for Job Interview
Examples of strengths:
- The ability to make decisions.
- Ability to work for results.
- Hard work.
Do not list all the qualities from this list at the interview. You must understand which of your strengths are necessary for the position you are applying for.
Example Answers to the Interview Question “What Are Your Strengths?”
“I have always manifested myself as a natural leader. I have ten years of experience in finance and sales. At the end of each reporting period, I exceeded all key performance indicators. I got promoted three times in the last four years.
Of course, this is not solely my achievement. I always choose only highly qualified specialists for my team. And I am proud of my ability to see potential in an employee.
I never stop working. I am always on the go and develop my management skills. In this position, I plan to improve my leadership qualities.”
Strengths: communication skills and focus on results.
“I prefer to work in a team, am a non-conflict person, can cooperate and work with colleagues.
At Company X, I had to work in project teams with creative people. We did a variety of technical tasks. But this did not stop me from getting a promotion – for the last two years, I headed the technical department. During this time, I achieved a 20% increase in the company’s production capacity.”
Strengths: responsibility, organization, and discipline.
“I think that responsibility and discipline are my strengths. I easily obey the rules and work conscientiously. I just can do no other.
There was a case when my colleague forgot about the project, and there was only one day left before the deadline. The editor-in-chief asked me to at least try to fix the situation. Since the article was important for our newspaper, I immediately set to work and wrote it right on time. By the way, the article turned out to be very worthwhile, and our reader took it with enthusiasm.”
Interview Question “What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses”: Mistakes to Avoid
- Do not list all of your strengths. One or two (maximum three) qualities will be enough, but precisely those that are directly related to the position being applied for. And don’t forget to give examples.
- No jokes.
- Don’t be arrogant, don’t exaggerate your abilities, and don’t lie.
- But don’t be too modest, don’t undervalue yourself.
What Are Your Weaknesses? How to Answer
The question of strengths and weaknesses is quite complicated. For one part of this question (about strengths), you are already prepared and know what to answer the employer.
But what will you say when asked to tell about your weaknesses? After all, if you answer that you have no weaknesses, you will seem arrogant to the interviewer. Conversely, if you list too many negative qualities, it will destroy all your chances of getting the desired job.
In the eyes of the employer, you should look modest and at the same time show that you are working on yourself. For example, you could tell a story about the steps you take to transform your weaknesses into strengths.
Build your answer using the following circuit:
Weakness – > context, example, or story of how this weakness shows up in your work.
The List of Weaknesses
Of course, it is not easy to admit your shortcomings, and even more to tell a stranger about them. But still, nothing can compare with a truthful and sincere answer.
When answering the interview question “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”, follow one rule:
You need to tell about a shortcoming that will not directly affect the performance of job duties at a new place of work, or about a negative quality that you are actively working on and trying to improve.
Examples of weaknesses:
- Lack of organization.
- Perfectionism (if you notice negative consequences).
- Fear of public speaking.
- Increased anxiety.
- Excessive scrupulousness.
- Lack of experience.
- Fear of flying.
- Gullibility towards people.
If you are lazy, not punctual, do not take responsibility, and do not like to make decisions, it is better not to tell your potential employer about this at the interview.
Example Answers to the Interview Question “What Are Your Weaknesses?”
“I am overly critical of myself. Throughout my career, I notice the same pattern: no matter how well I completed the task, I still feel that I could have done even better. As a result, burnout.
I decided to do something about it and started working on my confidence. Therefore, for the past two years, after I finished any project, I took a break: celebrate my achievements and praise myself for the work done. I began a different attitude toward my colleagues: notice their successes and rejoice in common achievements.”
Weakness: procrastination or putting stuff off “for tomorrow”.
“I have a weakness: I like to postpone. I used to think that procrastination was just my problem. But while working at Company X as an engineer, I realized that because of my habit, our team began to suffer. Colleagues were nervous about whether we would complete the project on time at all. As a result, the atmosphere in the team was heating up.
At that moment, I realized that it was time to change something, otherwise I would lose my job. I began to write a list of tasks for the day and perform them in a strict sequence. Thanks to this planning, I became much more organized.”
Weakness: fear of public speaking.
“Complete a project and preparing a presentation is a mere trifle for me. But when it needs to speak in front of colleagues or potential investors, all my confidence evaporates somewhere.
The boss was aware of this problem and usually asked someone from the team to present the project to the public. And one day, while listening to my colleague’s speech, I realized that only I, its author, can present my project, my brainchild in all details, with all nuances.
I began to prepare for the presentation in advance, rehearsed, and even recorded myself on video. This helped me look at myself from the side and notice mistakes – the voice trembled, the intonation was wrong, or there was no eye contact. Now the more I speak in front of an audience, the more confident I become.”
Asking a question about strengths and weaknesses, the employer, first of all, wants to understand how adequately you evaluate yourself, and what qualities you think you have.
Be sure to take the time to prepare for the questions you may be asked in the interview. This experience will stay with you for the rest of your life. Have an easy job interview!
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