How to Answer “What are Your Strengths and Weaknesses” in an Interview?
During a job interview, when candidates are asked – “What are your Strengths and Weaknesses”, most of the time they either opt to become too humble while answering this question or they become a braggart – and let us tell you both the approaches are not ideal or recommended one. In fact, some of the candidates don’t even answer this question and prefer to keep quiet and reserved considering the question not that important which is also a wrong thing to do.
You need to understand when an interviewer asks a question about your strengths and weaknesses in the interview – he actually wants to assess your personality, particularly with respect to the company and the job role for which you’re applying. In general, the interviewer wants to identify if you are a right fit for the job opportunity or not, if you would be able to handle your job responsibilities or not, what are those personality traits of yours that will be really helpful in that particular job role, etc. by knowing your actual strengths and weaknesses.
Hence, you need to consider this question equally important as others. Moving further, now let’s understand what are those doubts or problems that a candidate, especially fresher, usually face while preparing an appropriate answer for such strengths and weaknesses related interview questions:
- From where to start my answer to this question?
- How can I praise myself in front of interviewers while talking about my strengths?
- How to make my answer sound authentic and natural?
- What if the said weaknesses of mine make a negative impact on the interviewer? etc.
But…you need to know if you follow the right set of approaches, you can easily resolve these above-mentioned issues or queries. And if you’re wondering about what are those correct approaches to prepare an impressive and accomplished answer to the “What are your Strengths and Weaknesses” question and to face it in a better way – we’ll tell you in this article but before that, let’s first take a look at an ideal sample answer to this question to understand things better:
“To start with my strengths, let me tell you that I’m a disciplined, team player, creative, and adaptable person. Also, I can say that I’m a quick learner. *You can mention those strengths of yours that you think will add value in the particular job role* There were many instances in the past that made me feel that these are some of my core strengths. Just for an example – *here you can opt to narrate one or two such incidents where you’ve actually used or applied the said strengths whether it be during your previous job or internships, college life, or somewhere else.*
Also, I do guess that these strengths of mine are perfectly suitable for this job role such as *here you can opt to describe how your strengths would be an added advantage in that job position*
Moreover, talking about my weakness – *here mention a general and genuine weakness of yours that wouldn’t impact much on the particular job position* However, let me tell you this as well *describe what you’ve done or are doing to improve the said weakness*”
Now, to help you out in compiling the perfect answer to “What are your Strengths and Weaknesses” – below we’ve provided the most effective approaches that you all can consider:
Step 1: First and foremost, what you need to do is read the job description thoroughly. Yes, if you’re thinking that the job description has nothing to do with this general strength-weakness-related question then you are entirely wrong. After going through the job description, you will be able to find out what strengths or personality traits this particular job expects from the candidate – and then you can easily filter out your strengths and weaknesses accordingly to prepare your answer.
Step 2: Now, you can start your answer by mentioning your strengths. The strengths you will tell here to the recruiter should be related to the job profile – however, it doesn’t mean that you’re mandatorily required to mention here technical strengths or skills relevant to the job profile, but you can mention those real-life strengths that you think will directly or indirectly help you out in the job role for which you’re applying.
For example, if the particular job role requires you to work in constantly changing working conditions, you simply can mention ‘adaptability’ as your strength. Do remember to avoid mentioning any unnecessary or irrelevant strengths such as “I can do 100 sit-ups within 30 minutes” unless and until it is related to the targeted job role such as if you’re applying for a Gym trainer post or any other job that requires physical strength you surely can mention your pushups or sit-ups records.
Step 3: Okay, once you’re done with telling your strengths to the interviewer, now what…?? So, now you need to give examples of those times when you actually used or applied the said strengths. Just for an example, if you’ve mentioned ‘Discipline‘ as your strength – you need to describe what made you feel so. It can be during your previous job or internships, college life, or somewhere else. The reason behind it is to justify to the interviewer that the strengths that you’re talking about are genuine, and you’re not faking it.
Also, if you’re thinking to skip this strength-justification part and giving an example then let us tell you that there are many chances that the interviewer may ask you directly about it in the next question. Hence, it would always be better if you will get already prepared for it.
Step 4: Then, you can opt to describe how can you apply the said strengths or how they would be useful in the job role you are interviewing for. It will also help you to show the recruiter how well you’ve researched for the particular job role and company.
Step 5: Now, move to the weaknesses part. Firstly, you need to remember that we all have weaknesses, and it’s quite a natural thing as nobody is perfect. You need to show that you are self-aware with all your personality traits whether it be your strengths or weaknesses. Hence, try to avoid giving answers like – “I’m a perfectionist”, etc. Also, you don’t need to mask your strengths as your weaknesses by saying something like – “I work too hard”, etc. as it is a very outdated and not-so-effective approach. You need to mention those genuine weaknesses that will reflect your honesty to the interviewer. And most importantly, you’re strongly recommended to not tell more than one weakness.
Step 6: So, it would be clear to you in the above point that you can admit your weakness in front of the interview and one weakness would be sufficient – now you need to know what kind of weakness should you mention. Do remember that, the weakness should not be related to the core skill or requirement of the particular job role. Just for an example – if the job role requires a technically sound person, you can’t say like “I’m a little weak or slow in grasping technical things” or if it requires good communication skills, you can’t say like “Public Speaking is not my cup of tea”. You can go with several general and genuine weaknesses like “I find it difficult asking others for help”, etc.
Step 7: Lastly, you can’t end your answer just by mentioning your weakness, but you need to tell about those things as well that you’ve done or are doing to overcome the said weakness. For example – if you’ve said that you’re not good with public speaking and even if it would not make a significant impact on the particular job role – still you can add something like “I’m constantly trying to improve this area. I’ve even started out to give some seminar sessions to my juniors to become proficient in it” in your answer. The main point is when the interviewer identifies that you’re not able to successfully acknowledge your weaknesses, but you also take relevant steps to get better at it – it really creates a positive impact on him/her.
Key Points to Remember While Answering – “What are your Strengths and Weaknesses”:
- Try to avoid the use of weak words like “probably”, “maybe”, etc. while telling your strengths and weaknesses – they depict the lack of self-awareness in the candidate.
- Always take a pause and be thoughtful while giving the answer. It should sound genuine and shouldn’t look like something memorized.
- Try not to appear overconfident or too modest while giving the answer.
- Customize your answer as per the job role and company’s requirements from the candidate.
Now, after knowing the utmost significance, importance, and correct approach to answering these strengths and weaknesses-based questions in the interview – no one can stop to get ideally prepared for this question and to excel in your upcoming interviews. And honestly, it will really help you to stand out among other candidates and increase your chance of securing that job opportunity!!