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 does the employer want to know about you in an interview?
- 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 does the employer 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. Apart from that, your answer will also highlight some of your soft skills. For example, it may show that you are a quick learner or that you like to take on new challenges. Take this question as an opportunity to prove that you have what it takes to succeed in the job.
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 5 examples for each. To make sure you are being truthful, think of the times when you have displayed these in your career. You should have an example of your strengths and weaknesses, so you can explain them 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 how you’re still working on them. It’s imperative to admit that you have areas you want to improve upon. After all, everyone does. But by following up with how you overcome these weaknesses, you will demonstrate that you’re self-aware, capable, and committed to continuous growth.
What is your greatest weakness?
A great answer to this question consists of two parts:
- A weakness that isn’t critical for the position
Look at the essential skills and requirements for the position you are applying to. Then, analyze your weaknesses and find ones that are not connected to the job. This way, you can honestly talk about your shortcomings without diminishing your chances of success.
- How you are working on eliminating the weakness
Elaborate on your proactive approach to learning and improving. This part is vital to the answer. Not only does it show 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?
1. Focus too much on details
One of my biggest 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 are working towards the goal and not wasting time on small details. By doing this, I have been able to meet deadlines without compromising the quality of my work.
2. Lack of experience
I am not yet experienced in using the newest sales software. In my previous jobs, I was focusing 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 learns 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 always 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 for 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.
5. Lack of confidence
Sometimes I lack confidence in my ideas. In meetings, I can be quite 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.”
TIP: If the interviewer asks you about your strengths and weaknesses in one question, start with your weaknesses. The interviewer is more likely to remember the end of your answer, so you want to end on a positive note. Always make sure the last thing you say leaves a positive impression.
How to Answer “What are your strengths?”
Your answer to this question should showcase your greatest talents. More importantly, it should highlight those strengths that make the perfect fit for the job. When preparing your answer, find a strength that is critical for the role. Then, prepare two or three additional traits you can mention if need be.
Keep these three rules in mind when answering “What are your greatest strength?”
- Define your top 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?”
1. Leadership skills
I have great 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.
2. Analytical skills
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 effective 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 always 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 important 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 interviews.