How to Answer: What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?

Tips for how to answer the question: What are your strengths and weaknesses? in an interview.

How to Answer What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses

September 16th, 2020

In most job interviews, candidates will be asked to describe their strengths and weaknesses. In preparation for an interview, candidates should consider how best to answer this question so that the information is useful to employers while not damaging your chances of being hired.

What employers are looking for:

Strengths

Weaknesses

Analytical skills

Hard skills (defined by the job description)

Communication skills

Soft skills (such as public speaking)

Leadership skills

Ability to work in a team

Using the Job Description to Frame Your Answer
Using the Job Description to Frame Your Answer:

Your strengths and weaknesses should reflect the requirements of the role. Ensure that you highlight your skills that are listed in the job description, and explain how you will gain or improve critical skills that you lack.

In general, your strengths should be skills that can be supported through experience. For example, if you list communication as a strength, you may want to recall a situation in which you used communication to reach a goal or resolve a problem.

Your weaknesses can include a hard skill set out in the job description, provided that you emphasize your desire to acquire this skill through a course or program. Similarly, listing a soft skill you lack should be supported with a plan to learn or improve this skill.

Example Answers:

Strengths:

  1. I consider my leadership skills to be one of my greatest strengths. During my time as a department head, I successfully merged two teams and organized training programs for all team members to ensure that everyone was confident in their new role. As a result, we were able to increase sales by 5% within our first month as a new team.

  2. Thanks to my experience as an HR representative, I have gained excellent communication skills. I was responsible for facilitating informational workshops for staff members and mediated any conflict in the workplace. I have also completed a course on effective communication from UCLA.

  3. I have 5 years of experience as a copywriter and consider myself to have strong writing skills. I was promoted to an editorial position after five years at the company, so I have also improved my editing skills thanks to my new role.

  4. I am very honest. When I feel that my workload is too large to accept another task, or if I don't understand something, I always let my supervisor know.

  5. My people skills are my greatest strength. I find it easy to connect with almost anyone, and I often know how to empathize with others in an appropriate way.

Examples of Strengths
Examples of Strengths:
  • Communication skills.
  • People skills.
  • Writing skills.
  • Analytical skills.
  • Honesty.
  • Leadership skills.
  • Patience.
  • Writing skills.
  • Empathy.
  • Initiative.
  • Self-motivation.
  • Computer literacy.
Try Not to Reveal too Much
Try Not to Reveal too Much:

While it is important to be honest about your weaknesses, there are a few traits that are not appropriate or beneficial to mention in a job interview. This includes tardiness, poor attention to detail, and an inability to meet deadlines.

Weaknesses:

  1. I find public speaking intimidating and have often struggled with presentations. As a result, I am currently taking a public speaking course at a community college to become more confident and learn to structure a speech more effectively.

  2. I often struggle with delegating and choose to take on a larger workload to ensure that a task is completed perfectly. This puts more pressure on myself, so I have been using software to assign tasks and track their completion. So far this has helped me to trust my co-workers and focus more on my own tasks.

  3. Shyness is something that I struggle with in large groups. I find it intimidating to ask questions or raise points, so I have often remained quiet in the past. I have been trying to be more vocal in smaller groups to become more confident.

  4. I mainly used Python in my last position, so I don't have as much experience with Java. I did a course on Java for one semester at University, but I haven't used it since then.

  5. I struggle with negative criticism and can become obsessed with perfecting my work after receiving notes from a supervisor. While I appreciate the guidance, I think I can learn to be less harsh on myself.

Examples of Weaknesses
Examples of Weaknesses:
  • Self-criticism.
  • Shyness.
  • Lack of knowledge of particular software.
  • Public speaking.
  • Taking criticism.
  • Lack of experience.
  • Inability to delegate.
  • Lack of confidence.

FAQs:

How do you answer what are your strengths and weaknesses in an interview?

Keep the job description in mind and think of skills that you have that match what the company is looking for. When listing your strengths, try to support them with your experience or training. Your weaknesses should be honest but not detrimental to your prospects.

What are good weaknesses?

Good weaknesses should be honest but not bad enough to disqualify you from being hired. Weaknesses should preferably be followed by a way to improve any skills you lack.

What are good weaknesses for a job interview?

  • Self-criticism.
  • Shyness.
  • Lack of knowledge of particular software.
  • Public speaking.
  • Taking criticism.
  • Lack of experience.
  • Inability to delegate.
  • Lack of confidence.

What are some common strengths and weaknesses?

Common strengths include leadership, communication, or writing skills. Common weaknesses include a fear of public speaking, lack of experience with software or a program, or difficulty with taking criticism.

What are some employee strengths?

  • Communication skills.
  • People skills.
  • Writing skills.
  • Analytical skills.
  • Honesty.
  • Leadership skills.
  • Patience.
  • Writing skills.
  • Empathy.
  • Initiative.
  • Self-motivation.
  • Computer literacy.