What Are Your Strengths & Weaknesses for Interviews?

About The Author

Tracy-GardnerTracy Gardner Global Chief Marketing Officer
LinkedIn|7 Jun 2024

In any job interview, you're likely to encounter the common question: "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" Initially, this query might seem like a potential trap. 

But it's an excellent chance to showcase your capabilities and personality. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses enables you to show self-awareness, your capacity for growth, and your suitability for the role. 

Ultimately, the key lies in delivering a well-crafted response - and that's precisely what we're here to assist you with.  

In this blog, we will explore why interviewers ask this question, list examples of strengths and weaknesses, and provide tips to help you answer wisely. 

Why Interviewers Ask About Strengths and Weaknesses 

“What are your strengths and weaknesses?” is essential question interviewers ask to ensure you are good fit for their company’s culture or not. It also helps them understand how you handle challenges and leverage your skills, ensuring a good fit for the role and the company’s culture.  

Here are a few things hiring managers evaluate by asking about strengths and weaknesses.  

  • How do you conduct a self-assessment? 
  • Your awareness of your positive traits and their application in the workplace 
  • Your ability to address weaknesses and your efforts to improve them 
  • How do your skills and traits complement those of the current team members 

Tips to Talk About Your Strengths

Tips to Talk About Your Strengths 

Whether you’re preparing for a job interview, writing a cover letter, or networking, showcasing your strengths effectively is crucial. Here are five tips to help you talk about your strengths with poise and impact. 

#1 - Know Your Strengths and Back Them Up with Examples 

Before you can talk about your strengths, you need to identify them clearly. Reflect on your past experiences, feedback from colleagues, and personal achievements to pinpoint your key strengths. Once you have a list, think of specific examples that demonstrate each strength in action. 

#2 - Align Your Strengths with the Context 

Tailor your strengths to fit the Context of the conversation. If you’re in a job interview, align your strengths with the job description and the company’s values. If you’re networking, consider what would be most relevant or impressive to the person you’re speaking with. 

#3 - Use the STAR Method 

The STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) is a powerful way to structure your examples. This method helps you provide a clear and concise narrative that demonstrates your strengths in a structured manner. 

#4 - Be Honest and Humble 

Honesty is crucial when talking about your strengths. Exaggerating or fabricating strengths can lead to unrealistic expectations and may backfire. Be honest about your abilities and experiences. Humility also plays a key role. Acknowledge the contributions of others and the learning experiences along the way. 

#5 - Practice and Get Feedback 

Like any other skill, talking about your strengths improves with practice. Practice on questions, record yourself or ask your friend to listen and provide feedback. It will help you become more comfortable. 

List of Strengths You Can Mention in Your Interviews

List of Strengths You Can Mention in Your Interviews

  • Entrepreneurial 
  • Detail-oriented 
  • Collaborative 
  • Creative 
  • Empathetic 
  • Passionate 
  • Problem solver 
  • Flexible 
  • Patient 
  • Honest 
  • Dedicated 
  • Positive 
  • Leadership skills 
  • Team player 
  • Writing skills 
  • Expert in a particular skill or software 

Sample responses to “What are your strengths?” 

Here are some common strengths that you can mention in your interviews, along with examples of how you might present them: 

#1 - Communication Skills 

  • Example: "I have strong communication skills. In my last role, I led weekly team meetings where I clearly articulated project goals and updates, which helped keep everyone aligned and on track." 

#2 - Teamwork 

  • Example: "I excel in a team environment. While working on a cross-departmental project, I collaborated closely with colleagues from different departments to ensure we met our deadlines and exceeded our targets." 

#3 - Problem-Solving 

  • Example: "I have a strong problem-solving ability. At my previous job, I identified a recurring issue with our inventory system, developed a new process, and reduced discrepancies by 30%." 

#4 - Leadership 

  • Example: "I am a natural leader. I led a team of 15 on a complex project, delegating tasks based on team members' strengths and ensuring we met our objectives ahead of schedule." 

#5 - Adaptability 

  • Example: "I am highly adaptable. When my company underwent a major restructuring, I quickly adjusted to new roles and responsibilities, which helped maintain our productivity during the transition." 

#6 - Time Management 

  • Example: "I have excellent time management skills. I consistently meet deadlines by prioritizing tasks and managing my schedule effectively, which has led to successful project completions." 

#7 - Attention to Detail 

  • Example: "I have a keen eye for detail. In my previous role, I meticulously reviewed documents for accuracy, which significantly reduced errors and improved the quality of our reports." 

Tips to Talk About Your Weaknesses

Tips to Talk About Your Weaknesses 

Here are five tips to help you talk about your weaknesses effectively: 

#1 - Be Honest but Selective 

When discussing your weaknesses, honesty is crucial, but it's also important to be selective about the weaknesses you choose to share. Avoid mentioning weaknesses that could significantly impact your ability to perform the job you're applying for. Instead, choose a genuine weakness that won't raise red flags and that you have taken steps to improve. 

#2 - Show Self-Awareness 

Demonstrating self-awareness indicates that you understand your limitations and are proactive about addressing them. Employers highly value this quality because it shows you are open to feedback and personal development. 

#3 - Highlight Your Efforts to Improve 

Discussing the steps you are taking to overcome your weakness shows that you are committed to self-improvement. This approach reassures employers that you are actively working on your limitations to become better. 

#4 - Frame Weaknesses Positively 

Try to frame your weaknesses in a way that also highlights a positive aspect of your personality or work ethic. It helps to balance the negative with a positive trait and shows a nuanced understanding of your abilities. 

#5 - Avoid Clichés and Overused Weaknesses 

Avoid typical clichés like "I'm a workaholic" or "I'm a perfectionist" unless you can provide a unique angle or specific examples that make your response authentic and believable. Overused weaknesses can come off as disingenuous or rehearsed. 

List of Weaknesses You Can Mention in Your Interviews 

  • Self-critical 
  • Insecure 
  • Disorganized 
  • Prone to procrastination  
  • Uncomfortable with public speaking 
  • Uncomfortable with delegating tasks 
  • Risk-averse 
  • Competitive  
  • Sensitive/emotional 
  • Extreme introversion or extroversion 

Sample Responses to “What Are Your Weaknesses?” 

#1 - Self-criticism: 

"I'm working on quieting my inner critic to boost my confidence. But, I've been working on cultivating a more positive self-talk and focusing on acknowledging my accomplishments rather than dwelling on perceived shortcomings." 

#2 - Fear of public speaking: 

"I've struggled with a fear of public speaking in the past, but I recognize its importance in professional settings. I've been actively seeking opportunities to practice and improve my public speaking skills, such as joining Toastmasters or enrolling in workshops focused on presentation techniques." 

#3 - Procrastination: 

"Sometimes I put things off, especially big projects that feel scary. To address this, I've implemented time management techniques such as breaking tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks and setting deadlines for myself to stay on track." 

#4 - Issues with delegating tasks: 

"In the past, I've found it challenging to delegate tasks effectively, often feeling like it's easier to do things myself to ensure they're done correctly. However, I've come to realize the importance of delegation in maximizing efficiency and fostering teamwork. I've been actively working on trusting my team members' capabilities and effectively communicating tasks and expectations to them." 

#5 - Lack of experience with a skill or software: 

“Although I have no more experience with a specific skill or software, I'm a quick learner. In previous roles, I've demonstrated my ability to quickly adapt to new technologies and concepts. I'm proactive about seeking out resources such as online tutorials, courses, or mentorship opportunities to rapidly acquire the necessary expertise." 

strengths-and-weaknesses-for-interviews-cta

Additional Tips for Discussing Strengths and Weaknesses 

Here are some additional tips for discussing strengths and weaknesses: 

Strengths: 

  • Be specific 
  • Be confident but humble 
  • Use positive language 
  • Highlight soft skills 
  • Show growth 

Weaknesses: 

  • Be honest 
  • Focus on improvement 
  • Offer solutions 
  • Show self-awareness 
  • Avoid clichés 

The Final Thought! 

Hopefully, you have got tips and sample answers to empower and inspire you in effectively discussing your strengths and weaknesses with potential employers. By incorporating these insights, you can enhance your prospects of securing your ideal job. 

FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some excellent strengths to mention in a job interview?

Some good strengths to mention in your job interview are adaptability, problem-solving skills, teamwork, Leadership, communication, and Creativity. 

How to answer, "what are your strengths and weaknesses?"

When you talk about your Strengths: "I have expertise in adaptability, problem-solving, and communication, fostering effective teamwork. My leadership skills drive projects forward." 

When talking about your Weaknesses: "While I strive for perfection, I'm learning to balance it with practicality. Occasionally, I find it challenging to say no, but I'm improving through prioritization and time management strategies." 

How to turn your weakness into strength during a job interview?

Turning weaknesses into strengths in a job interview involves acknowledging them, demonstrating self-awareness, and showcasing efforts to improve. For example, admitting to perfectionism shows attention to detail, while discussing strategies to manage it exhibits proactive problem-solving and a growth mindset. 

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