One of the most common interview questions that most of us experienced or will experience at some point is “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”.
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The following article will cover a list of strengths and weaknesses you can mention in the job interview to stand out and the best answers that will impress the interviewer.
During the interview process, it’s likely that the hiring manager will ask you to describe your strengths at some point. Many candidates probably wonder how to answer what are your strengths without bragging too much or risk appearing narcissistic.
You want to craft your answer with a high degree of self-awareness and professionalism.
It’s important to be prepared for this question and have a statement ready. Even if you aren’t asked this question, you will be aware of your strengths and what you can bring to the position.
This will help you articulately weave those strengths into other areas of the interview.
Having a story ready to tell when you are asked this question will help you stand out from the other people interviewing for the position.
Rather than just blurting out, “I'm detail-oriented and hard-working,” or merely listing off your strengths, you can craft a compelling way to deliver your story while highlighting what you can bring to the position.
When the time comes to answer this question, you’ll need to be very specific. Take stock of what you believe to be your personal strengths or ask a friend to help you identify what you’re good at.
Make sure to include a range of strengths, including knowledge-based skills, transferable skills, and personal traits to demonstrate your versatility.
Even the most experienced candidates can struggle with the question of describing their strengths, so we’ve compiled a list of examples to inspire your strength story. You can take tips from each of these key strengths examples to craft a compelling reason that the hiring manager should choose you.
#1)Whenever new software is released, I’m always the first one to test and get familiar with it. I love pushing the edge and learning every aspect of the new software. In fact, just last week I found a software issue with one of my video games. I called the developer, and they fixed it right away. This position will give me the opportunity to apply my passion and help make programs better for your company.
#2)I’ve always preferred to work in groups and find that my collaborative nature is one of my strongest attributes. On projects that I directed, I work well to inspire diverse team members and work side by side with them to achieve the project goals. In fact, I’ve increased productivity by ten percent over the course of two years.
#3)My greatest strength is my writing skills. I work well under pressure, and I've never missed a deadline. One specific example that comes to mind is when I was asked to complete a project that a fellow colleague forgot about. My editor didn’t realize this until two hours before the deadline. It was an important piece, so I got to work, and with feverish precision, I was able to complete the article. Not only was it finished on time, but it was received very well by readers of the publication.
#4)I’m relatively new to the finance industry, but I find that I’m good at working with numbers and I truly love it. I love helping people save money and finding new investment opportunities for my clients. Learning about their needs and finding ways to help them achieve the lifestyle they want is so gratifying to me, and I’ve helped my clients increase their net worth by 10% collectively.
#5)I’m an empathetic person who is skilled at relating to people and understanding their needs. At my internship over the summer, I was working the support line and received a call from a disgruntled customer who had been dropped from our service. While the company couldn’t find a solution for her, I walked her through other options she might have so she walked away with a positive interaction with the company. I know the importance of a happy customer, and I'm willing to remain upbeat and solutions-oriented.
#6)I believe that my greatest strength is the ability to solve problems quickly and efficiently. I can see any given situation from multiple perspectives, which makes me uniquely qualified to complete my work even under challenging conditions. That problem solving allows me to be a better communicator. I am just as comfortable speaking to senior executives as I am junior team members. I think my ability to see all sides of an issue will make me a great asset to the team.
#7)I know the industry inside and out. After working in sales and marketing for over 15 years I know I have the skills to maximize your marketing dollars and improve your bottom line. In fact, when I started at my last company, their sales were declining, and under my leadership, I was able to increase revenue in consecutive years, by 7% and 5%, respectively.
#8)My strongest asset is my work ethic and my willingness to step in when needed. I’m not afraid to take on a difficult client or do a project that nobody else wants because those are the clients and projects that teach me the most. I typically love to work outside of my job description and do whatever is asked of me. I'm not above any single task, and I take great pride in my ability to step in and adapt to any situation to get the best results for the company.
As you can see, the ability to tell a story with your response will give you a leg up on the competition. The better you can articulate your biggest strengths while providing examples will serve you well in your job search.
If you’re struggling with how to find your strengths, ask a close friend or former colleague to help you or draw upon feedback from previous performance reviews. Once you can clearly identify your strengths, the stories and examples will fall into place.
As you already know, throughout the interview process, you will be asked to answer some tough questions. By now you should have a solid answer to that “What are your strengths?”, but what do you say when you are asked to describe your greatest weaknesses?
After all, you’ll seem arrogant if you say that you don't have any flaws, but if you respond with too many negative attributes, you may jeopardize your chances of securing a position.
You need to appear humble and willing to learn without scaring off the hiring manager with a monumental weakness that you can’t overcome.
Preparation and having a response ready are paramount to a successful job interview. When thinking about your weaknesses, it's essential to choose attributes that you are proactively working on or demonstrate steps you are taking to turn that weakness into a strength.
Telling a relevant story or elaborating on how you are working to change this weakness can only strengthen your case.
If you cannot identify how to find your weaknesses, turn to a friend or close coworker to help you determine what you can improve on. Always remember that weaknesses are not permanent, and just because you have a few weaknesses does not mean that you are doomed.
Being able to identify areas of improvement demonstrates that you are a well-rounded candidate.
Knowing how to answer, “what are your weaknesses” will set you up for success in your job search. If you have trouble crafting a response to this question, here are some examples to inspire your response. Read them and apply the structure to your own professional attributes.
#1)I tend to be overly critical of myself. Whenever I complete a project, I can’t help but feel that I could have done more even if my work received a positive response. This often leads me to overwork myself and leaves me feeling burned out. Over the past few years, I’ve tried to take time to look at my achievements objectively and celebrate those wins. This has not only improved my work and my confidence, but it has helped me to appreciate my team and other support systems that are always behind me in everything I do.
#2)I am incredibly introverted, which makes me wary of sharing my ideas in a group setting or speaking up during team meetings. I feel that I had good intentions, I just wasn't always comfortable speaking up. After my team didn’t meet expectations on two consecutive projects, I decided to start making changes to get more familiar with sharing my ideas for the benefit of my team. I took local improv classes and started trying to get comfortable discussing my thoughts. It's still a work in progress, but it's something that I've improved dramatically over the past year.
#3)I tend to want to take on complete projects all on my own without any outside help. In the past, this caused me to experience unnecessary pressure and stress. One specific example was last year when I was responsible for planning our annual event. I tried to do everything on my own, from the most substantial decisions like the venue to the tiniest things like organizing the table settings. I was so stressed leading up to the event, and I narrowly pulled it off. This taught me to take a step back and analyze when I need help. After that experience, I am trying to teach myself how to ask for help so I can keep my sanity. I've also found a team of people can produce a better outcome than one harrowed person.
#4)I'm not familiar with the latest version of the software that you use. I’ve spent my time recently focused on generating a positive user experience and have always been willing to learn new things. Throughout my career software has always changed and I’ve always been willing to adapt to changing technology. I will put in the time it takes to learn this new software.
#5)I always try to avoid confrontation, in both my personal and professional life. This caused me to compromise sometimes on the quality of my work or what I needed to complete a project just to keep the peace. This became a real problem when I became a manager. One of the most critical aspects of managing people is telling them what they need to hear and not what they want to hear. I recognized this weakness and had been actively working to voice my opinions constructively and helpfully for the betterment of the team.
#6)When I’m given a task, I am very goal-oriented and work hard to complete that task. However, when new projects come across my plate, I sometimes jump right into those projects and halt work on the projects I had in progress. Having to jump between tasks, so many times throughout the day hinders my productivity and prevents me from delivering my best work. I have been using a project management tool to help me manage my tasks and my time, which has helped me become more aware of prioritization. Since implementing this project management mentality, I have only improved my efficiency and productivity.
The better you can articulate your most significant weaknesses while providing examples and how you are attempting to overcome those weaknesses will serve you well in your job search.
You ALWAYS need to show how to turn your weakness into a strength. If you’re struggling with how to find your weaknesses, ask a close friend or former colleague to help you or draw upon feedback from previous performance reviews. Once you can clearly identify your weaknesses, the stories and examples will fall into place.
Practice, practice, practice. Rehearsing is one of the most crucial steps before your interview. If you aren't well versed in your examples and your stories, you may forget it or sound ingenuine. With the right amount of practice, you will nail your response and impress the hiring manager with your answer when they ask, “What are your strengths?” or “What are your greatest weaknesses?”.