One of the most commonly asked questions in job interviews are “What are your strengths?” and “What are your weaknesses?“. Some variations of that question may include words like “key”, “greatest” and “good”. If you do not prepare a response, you may notice panic begins to set in.
Your heart may start racing and visible signs of nervousness may be displayed. When this occurs, your interviewer is not seeing the best version of you.
In fact, this reaction only makes you seem overly anxious and unprepared. This, not knowing the response to this question could lead to a missed job opportunity.
But there’s a way to help you avoid this frustration – learn the proper response to this popular query. To do this, you must identify your strengths and weaknesses.
This article will help you assess your shortcomings and assets. Read on to find the best way to skillfully address this question and charm your interviewer.
What Are Your Strengths? 6 Example Answers
Sample answers to the question: What are your greatest strengths?
1. “Leadership comes naturally to me. Over the past decade, I have grown a small technology startup to a thriving business producing over a hundred thousand dollars in revenue annually.
I have been promoted numerous times and have exceeded the growth rate goals set by the CMO. Being able to work with a diverse group of skilled individuals certainly helped my ability to lead.
Everyone was able to unite under our company’s values. Through consistently asking for feedback, I have been able to further develop my leadership abilities and hope to continue doing so in my next role.” – Shows leadership skills.
2. “I have dedicated over 15 months toward perfecting my Python skills. Taking courses on Coursera and meeting with professors helped me improve my technical skills drastically.
In fact, a local startup even offered me an internship program ½ a year ago. I am most excited when I’m developing new code.
I am excited to further your company’s Python capabilities by spreading my joy about this coding language.” – Shows technological experience.
3. “I always strive for perfection. When starting a project, I am sure to keep track of all the details. I ensure that the project is broken into manageable tasks and set and meet deadlines efficiently. This is reflected in my coworker’s and manager’s feedback.” – Shows organization skills.
4. “I am a collaborative individual and have enjoyed teamwork since being in middle school. My experience in team projects is lengthy and I excelled in all my group positions, from leader to listener.
When leading, I utilize a strength-based approach to ensure everyone has tasks they excel in. Since starting my last management position two years ago, my team’s productivity has increased by 30% and turnover rates have fallen by 18%.” – Shows collaboration skills.
5. “I have gained great communication skills through working as an HR representative. My daily duties included task delegation to junior staff and managing conflict in the workplace.
Additionally, I volunteer as a mentor to young entrepreneurs at a local college.” – Shows communication skills.
6. “Honesty is my greatest strength. I can understand my own limits, and if a workload overwhelms me, I always let my supervisor know. If I cannot understand something, I ask my coworkers for an opportunity to grow.” – Shows honesty.
17 Examples of Strengths To Mention During a Job Interview
Key strengths you can mention in a job interview include being:
What Are Your Weaknesses? 6 Example Answers
Sample answers to the question: What are your greatest weaknesses?
1. “My last position focused mainly on coding in Python, so I do not have much experience in C++. My only experience with C++ was over 10 years ago when I took an introductory course in university.” – Shows a lack of technical skills.
2. “I often have self-doubt and can be overly critical of myself. Anytime I receive constructive criticism from my supervisor, I react harshly to it. Over time, I will have to learn to be less harsh to myself.” – Shows being self-critical.
3. “As a child, I have always been shy. Unfortunately, I still struggle with shyness. It can be frightening to speak up, for I do not want to be judged by others.
So, I find myself remaining quiet during meetings. However, I have started to become more confident when speaking in small groups or with people I trust.” – Shows shyness.
4. “At times, I can lack patience when working with a team. I have become very independent in my personal and professional life, so relying on others is challenging to me.
To address this weakness, I have participated in team-building activities and workshops. Even though I prefer independent work, learning to trust my coworkers and ask for help is important to me.” – Shows impatience.
5. “Organization has been a struggle for me. Even though it has not impacted my performance yet, my cluttered desk and disorganized schedule could start interfering with my productivity.
Throughout my career, I have tried to set aside I ever to declutter my inbox and organize my physical space. I plan to continue doing this as it improves my efficiency levels.” – Shows disorganization.
6. “As a leader, my bluntness has helped me get work done efficiently, and some of my employees appreciated my honest critiques. However, I noticed bluntness can be counterintuitive toward producing personal growth in some employees.
I now try to be more understanding and empathetic by deepening the relationships I have with employees.” – Shows candidness or lack of empathy.
Examples of Weaknesses to Mention in a Job Interview
Good weaknesses you can mention in a job interview include being:
- Lack of knowledge
- Poor handling of criticism
- Bad leadership qualities
- Lack of confidence
- Perfectionist (could be a strength in some roles)
- Overly competitive
- Uncomfortable with risks
How and Why is it Important to be Ready to Answer a Job Interview Questions
Creating a response to the question “what are your greatest weaknesses?” or “what is your greatest strength?” takes time, but will ultimately benefit you in the long run.
If you have an answer prepared, you will feel more comfortable and relaxed during the interview. The stress of coming up with an answer on the spot is avoided.
Plus, employers see that you care about the job. They acknowledge the fact that you took time to prepare, making you look more professional (read more on employee strengths and weaknesses).
To prepare a response, try to look back on past job experiences. Note which projects succeeded and find out why you performed so well.
Continue recalling multiple projects and look for similarities between the approaches you took to succeed. This will help you identify some of your personal strengths.
Capitalize on your prior leadership experience if you have it, for it is extremely valuable. Displaying your leadership strengths to an interviewer involves recalling a time you lead a team to success.
Specify how a strategy you used helped create a beneficial outcome for the team. If you had poor leadership qualities, it can be useful to detail a time you improved your leadership ability.
Finding weaknesses can be a bit more challenging, for you still want to maintain a positive mindset as you search for your flaws. Similarly, try to recall times when you failed.
Note the root cause for each of the failures and tie these causes to the weaknesses they reveal.
How Do You Present Your Key Strengths & Weaknesses in a Job Interview?
Think Carefully About What You Will Say About Yourself
Improper planning can give your interviewer the impression that you do not care about how you are portrayed.
When asked about your strengths and weaknesses, do not simply list all your accomplishments. You will simply come across as arrogant.
And by avoiding the mention of weaknesses, you will display an immense lack of self-awareness. When you do choose a strength, make sure you identify with it.
You want to reveal a strength that is both beneficial to the job and something which is truly your strength. Revealing a weakness in an interview should be done delicately.
Ensure the weakness you reveal is not crucial for obtaining the job.
You should actively be taking steps to improve this weakness so you can show your interviewer you care about personal development and are able to recognize what you need to work on.
Use the Job Description to Frame Your Answer
Mention strengths and weaknesses which align with the role you are applying for. Note how your skills are similar to those which are listed in the job description.
Create a plan for how you can improve or gain the skills which you currently do not possess. Your work-related strengths should be supported by prior experience.
If you were a manager for the past 5 years, make sure to mention leadership skills as a strength. Recall a moment in that job where these skills were clearly displayed to give a real-life example of your strengths being utilized.
The weaknesses you speak of should be something that you can acquire with proper training. You should emphasize you are willing to dedicate time to improve your work-related weaknesses.
Try Not to Reveal Too Much
Honesty is extremely important when speaking about your weaknesses. However, revealing too much about your flaws can make you seem unprofessional.
Do not mention tardiness, struggling with deadlines, or poor attention to detail as one of your weaknesses. These qualities are universally recognized as signs of carelessness.
Also, do not reveal any weaknesses which are listed as job requirements. This simply shows you are unfit for the job and did not take the time to review the job description.
How To Identify Strengths and Weaknesses for a Job Interview?
Identifying strengths without seeming narcissistic can be difficult. However, the key to remaining professional is, to be honest. Strengths are aspects of your job in which you excel.
They are characteristics that are positive. Strengths will differ from individual to individual, and the development of strengths stems mainly from your prior experiences.
This is why creating a story around your strengths can give interviewers a better understanding of your personal growth. On the other hand, weaknesses are character flaws or imperfections.
The easiest way to identify your strengths is to take a strengths test or to ask your friends, and colleagues about your strengths and weaknesses.
The simple yet insightful questions “what are your strengths?” and “what are your weaknesses?” have become one of the most dreaded interview queries. But when you plan a thoughtful response, you can create a unique answer which sets you apart from all the other applicants.
Ensure your weaknesses are portrayed as obstacles you have overcome and your strengths are what make you skilled and an ideal employee.
By doing this, you transform a potentially anxiety-inducing question into an answer which propels you to the top of the interviewer’s “must-hire” list.