Answer Guide: What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?

Think fast, what’s your state of mind before a job interview? Are you composed and collected or are your “palms sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy…”?

How much of your interview answers are chopped up versions of answers you’ve found online or in print? If you said yes or nodded, you’re not the only one. Especially when it’s a question as common as this: what are some of your strengths and weaknesses?

If your mind hasn’t drawn a blank, you’re probably good to go. However, if you’re struggling to find the words, even on the eve of the interview, you need reinforcements.

While Googling answers well before a big interview is a norm (with this being the Information Age) – how would you discern which answers are the best for your interview? Have you taken into account that your interviewer may have seen the same answers (that you are carefully memorising) too? What if they called you out on it? What if you end up sounding so rehearsed, you give yourself away?

Don’t let the ‘what ifs’ get you down, here are some pointers on how to highlight your strengths and acknowledge your weaknesses.

Stop. Reflection time

Your answers should be personal. Sure, you can look for examples online but, make sure the answers are an honest reflection of your own traits. It’s also important not to overshare or mention details that are too personal.

Suss out your strengths

As you reflect on your strengths, you can try separating them into the following three categories:

  • Knowledge-based skills: things you learned in school and university (example: Computer skills)
  • Functional skills: team player, presentation skills.
  • Personal traits: hard worker, good listener, detail oriented.

Next, make note of how you used each of those strengths (pick the best 3 – 5) in your previous workplace or find a related example of how it worked in your favour.

Once your list is in order, take another look at the job description and keep it in mind as you craft your answer. Some opinions may differ here and it would be best for you to use your own judgement to decide on your next move. Keeping it relevant is the key, the rest is just dressing.

To strengthen your answer and leave a more memorable impression, try mentioning trait(s) that are required for the position. Avoid being too general, vague or nonchalant with your answers.

Face your weaknesses

“Winners evaluate themselves in a positive manner and look for their strengths as they work to overcome weaknesses.” – Zig Ziglar

Everyone has a weakness, so the first thing you want to avoid is saying that you don’t have any. This is a test of character and to see how well you know yourself. That being said, don’t be too forthcoming either. Highlight the positive aspect of your shortcoming and how you plan to overcome it.

Another helpful tip is to avoid mentioning a weakness that is actually a strength. Like being a workaholic, for example. At this point, it’s an expected answer, which means it’s best to avoid it.

Script your interview answers and tailor them specifically for the position. Preparing a positive statement that you can deliver convincingly and with confidence can make a difference. You will feel like you’re in your element while simultaneously making your interest and enthusiasm clear to the interviewer. Double score!

It’s time to take that leap of faith. Apply for your dream job on today!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *