Ah, that age-old job interview question. What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses? Indeed, this is a type of behavioral interview question. You might have the perfect skill set and experience for a job. But recruiters want to see in job interviews that you can work well in the company’s culture.
Table of Contents
- What do employers want to know about you in an interview?
- How relevant are your strengths and weaknesses to the position?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- How to Answer “What are your weaknesses?”
- Examples: How to answer what are your weaknesses?
- How to Answer “What are your greatest strengths?”
- Examples: How to answer what are your strengths?
What do employers want to know about you in an interview?
Your strengths and weaknesses will determine if you are able and qualified to succeed in a job. In short, the employer wants to understand why you think you’re a good match for the position and the organization. They might also want to consider what challenges could arise. Overall, it’s an opportunity to evaluate your capacity for self-reflection for them. Thinking about and naming your strengths and weaknesses effectively is a skill you will use in every interview, whether the question focuses on your positive or negative attributes.
How relevant are your strengths and weaknesses to the position?
There are a few things you should do to prepare for an interview. Reviewing your skills, qualifications, and strengths relating to the job you are interviewing for is one of the most crucial steps. During an interview, aim to demonstrate why your skillset is the best fit for the job. Apart from that, explain what makes you a strong cultural fit for both the business and the team and why you are uniquely equipped to excel in the position.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
When asked about your strengths and weaknesses, prepare an honest and objective answer. To achieve this, take some time to think about your strengths and weaknesses. Write down at least five examples for each. To ensure you are being truthful, think of the times you have displayed these in your career. You should have an example of your strengths and weaknesses to explain during your interview.
How to Answer “What are your weaknesses?”
This question is an excellent opportunity to emphasize how you’ve overcome your past issues and shortcomings or are still working on them. Most career coaches would advise applicants to choose a weakness in their response and transform it into a strength. While this is partially applicable, there are other things you can also do to improve your response. You want the interviewer to believe your response is genuine and inventive while being completely honest. Thus, avoid giving generic answers to this question and know that everyone has flaws, so there’s no point in claiming you don’t. By following up with how you overcome these weaknesses, you can demonstrate that you’re self-aware, capable, and committed to continuous growth.
What is your greatest weakness?
- A weakness that isn’t critical for the position – First, keep in mind to steer clear of any response directly connected to the required qualifications for the job. If leadership skills are essential to succeeding in the role, you don’t want to appear lacking in that area. So, compare your weaknesses to the job description, and find ones that are not directly connected to the position. This way, you can honestly talk about your shortcomings without diminishing your chances of success.
- A known weakness – Secondly, try to choose something that the recruiter could have already identified as a weakness. For example, you could say: “I often go off topic when talking about things that excite me. I’ve been trying to catch myself doing it and stop myself, but I could do better.” You can easily modify this response to fit whatever minor weakness you may have shown during the interview.
- How you are working on eliminating the weakness – Third, explain how you are working on eliminating the weakness. Elaborate on your proactive approach to learning and improving. This part is vital to the answer. It shows that you can be self-critical, but it also highlights your drive to become better.
- Be honest and choose a real weakness.
- Think of an example of how this weakness affected your performance in the past.
- Highlight your self-awareness and the ability to accept criticism and help from others.
- Avoid coming off as arrogant or insecure in your answer – neither will leave a good impression.
Examples: How to answer “What are your weaknesses?”
Focus too much on details
One of my most significant weaknesses is that I focus too much on details and overthink projects. To improve on this, I have been practicing focusing on the bigger picture instead of details. For example, I check in with my team to ensure we work towards the goal and do not waste time on small details. By doing this, I have been able to meet deadlines without compromising the quality of my work.
Lack of experience
I am not yet experienced in using the newest sales software (Zoho). In my previous jobs, I focused on other software. Essentially, a positive user experience has always been and will continue to be at the forefront of my efforts. The software I worked with before has changed many times. Thanks to this, I believe I will learn to operate the software that you use. I am very proactive and learn things easily and quickly.
I can be very impatient at times. Subsequently, this causes my team to stress due to unnecessary pressure from me. However, I am constantly learning to trust my team and avoid micromanaging them. I am now more focused on the quality of work than the time it takes to finish it.
Sometimes I procrastinate on projects and don’t hand in work until the last second. As a result, I sometimes cause team members and managers to stress when it looks like I’m not going to make a deadline. I’ve thus started making schedules that map out all the work I have to do weeks in advance. I also set personal deadlines for myself that are in advance of public deadlines. That way, I can better stay on top of my work and not let my team down.
Lack of confidence
Sometimes I lack confidence in my ideas. In meetings, I can be pretty shy. In turn, I’ve missed opportunities to speak up about good ideas or solutions to problems. I recently joined a theatre class, which has helped me open up to talking in front of others. I’ve also adopted a strategy of setting more one-on-one meetings with colleagues. I feel more comfortable in those settings.
Some examples of weaknesses include:
- Multitasking too much
- Over talking
- Public speaking
Can being a perfectionist be considered the biggest weakness?
While perfectionism can be spun into a positive trait, it may come off as a rehearsed cliché. Interviewers are aware that it’s an elaborate pretense. So instead, put a positive spin on a real weakness of yours. Prove that you’re aware of the problem and follow up with how you’re working to improve. For instance, you can say: “I tend to leave things until the last minute and often cause unnecessary stress. I’m learning to focus on time management and emphasize the quality of my work by setting shorter deadlines for myself. I see an improvement in both the quality of my work and my productivity.”
How to Answer “What are your strengths?”
Your answer to this question should showcase your greatest skills. Consider the essential qualifications for the job. What skills does the prospective sales manager need to have for their team to be as effective as possible? Other qualities not directly tied to what the company needs to succeed should not be included. If you write songs, for instance, you should remember that a sales, or engineering career won’t consider this sort of creativity an advantage. Answer the question about your strengths using three or four of the core skills that are also your strong suits.
- When preparing your answer, find a critical strength for the role. Start with the topic that will have the most impact on the sales manager’s ability to succeed, then go down the list until you reach the one that will have the least significant impact. That way, you can choose two or three additional traits you can mention.
- When describing the core competencies, use synonyms and paraphrase. Avoiding using the exact words from the job description will make you appear more knowledgeable and is nearly always safer.
Keep these three rules in mind when answering, “What is your greatest strength?”
- Define your strengths
- Identify a strength that is relevant to the position
- Prepare to demonstrate your strengths with examples
Examples: How to answer “What are your strengths?”
I have excellent leadership skills. Many of my accomplishments relied on my team. Thus, my ability to put together and lead diverse teams is one of my core abilities. I was born a leader. Yet, I always try to grow my skills and knowledge in this area. This is why I would be a great fit for this job.
I use my analytical skills to improve my work. I adopt a rational and creative approach to tackling new tasks and projects. In all my work, I strive to achieve the highest standards and effectiveness. I do this by engaging in practical research, data analysis, and communication with my team. Moreover, I always keep up with the newest trends in the industry and continue learning. This allows me to analyze what the best approach to a task may be and use it efficiently. Essentially, I am committed to consistently delivering top-tier work on time.
I’m a natural-born problem solver. When a problem arises, I stay calm and focused. In other words, I brainstorm many solutions and then set out to test them. If one solution doesn’t work, I don’t get discouraged. Instead, I move on to the next solution. In times of crisis, I’m always a beacon.
I’m a team player. I work well in groups. Apart from that, I’m also good at facilitating connections between team members. When two teammates aren’t getting along, I’ve often played the role of mediator. Fundamentally, I’m good at making people set aside their differences and work towards a common goal.
I can communicate clearly and efficiently. Throughout my career, I have learned to communicate with diverse groups of all backgrounds. Moreover, my work in sales enabled me to learn to negotiate and converse with clients successfully.
Some examples of strengths include:
- Management skills
When you’re answering strengths and weaknesses questions in job interviews, it’s essential to be genuine. On top of that, always tell a story about your strengths and weaknesses. Give an example to highlight your point. When you’re answering questions about weaknesses, always put a positive spin. Make it clear what you’re doing to address that weakness. With that, you’ll ace your next job interview.