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Job Interview Tips-Strengths & Weaknesses

Posted 16th December 2019 • Written by People First •

Job Interview Tips - The Best Way to Talk About Your Strengths and Weaknesses in a Job Interview

One of the trickiest questions to answer is when you’re asked to talk about your strengths and weaknesses.

You are almost certain to get asked it in one form or other and it’s not the kind of question you can easily answer without planning beforehand.

So, plan your answer!

Probably, what you say isn’t as important to the interviewer as how you answer it.

Unless you say something terrible like “I’m lazy” or “I’m impossible to work with” or “I’m perfect” the content of your answer is less important than convincing the interviewer that you are honest, are self-aware, professional and mature; that they won’t need to spend lots of time on your growth and personal development and that they and other colleagues will be able to work with you.

1. Be Honest

One of the most important things to get right when talking about your strengths and weaknesses in an interview setting is honesty. Don’t be fake and give them the answer you think they want to hear.

2. Use examples

We’ve said this in many of our articles about interview tips, but it really does make a positive difference if you can use a real example from your life/career to demonstrate your point.

This is something you can plan before the interview. Show how your strength helped you achieve something at work or when your weakness impeded you. For example, if you’re talking about how you’re calm under pressure you can talk about when you rewrote a successful report after a last-minute change of plans. If your weakness is presenting in front of people you might start by briefly describing the time you got so nervous presenting your plan for a new strategy that you weren’t able to effectively convey your ideas and your boss had to step in and help get the plan approved.

Not only will sharing a real example make your answer stand out, but it’ll also make it sound thoughtful and honest and highlight all those other characteristics interviewers are actually looking for.

3. Remember to Get to the Insight

A real example is valuable, but only if you can show what you learned from it.

When you’re talking about a strength finish by saying how that strength would be useful in this particular job at this particular company.

For a weakness, show how you’ve grown and developed from that past problem, or how you deal with it on a daily basis to show how you handle and solve problems. So, if you describe how you get nervous when presenting you can also talk about how you get over that by undertaking extra training to help you gain confidence.

4. Keep It Short

Always important.

Don’t get lost in too much detail. Get to your point.

How to Answer “What Are Your Strengths?” in an Interview

Study

When doing your interview preparation, study the company and job spec in detail so you can see what strengths are important to them so you know which of your strengths to focus on.

Don’t be too arrogant and cocky, the interviewer might not like that, just be confident and honest in your assessment to make sure it shows off your skills.

How to Answer “What Is Your Greatest Weakness?” in an Interview

When talking about your strengths make sure you talk about things important to the job but when talking about your weaknesses make sure you do not do the same.

Again, study the job spec and make sure the weaknesses you describe are not things you will need to do every day in the new job. For example, if the job needs excellent verbal communication skills, you shouldn’t say one of your weaknesses is thinking on your feet during phone calls.

Focus on the requirements you do have, not on the ones you don’t.

Talk about a weakness that doesn’t stop you doing this job but thst still shows you are self aware and can admit the weakness but can also end on a strong note to show how you deal with it.

Finally, avoid clichés like, “I have no weaknesses”, “I’m too much of a perfectionist”, etc. as they are fake or too general.

Click to see more interview tips to help you in your search for a job with Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Multilingual or in Supply Chain.