An interview is a meeting that helps the recruiters to get an insight into your character.
You may provide different examples, achievements, experiences, or skills about yourself in an interview with the interviewers.
However, the most important questions which the recruiters can ask you are- What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are your work-related strengths? What is your biggest weakness?
Sometimes, the interviewers may ask you about your strengths and weaknesses in a single question. The other times they may separately ask about them.
In the former case, you should always begin with your shortcomings and end with the strengths. Ending with a positive tone improves your chances of entering the organization.
This is one of the most critical behavioral questions of an interview. This is because it solicits not only your positive attributes but also the negative ones.
Saying something negative about your personality in a place where you want to exhibit your positive traits is a daunting task.
But with the right strategies and tips, you can answer the question correctly.
You need to prepare for the interview beforehand as it will help you to memorize the points later. But why do the interviewers ask about the personal strengths and weaknesses of an individual?
The reason is that the answers to such questions show the honesty of the applicants. Moreover, it helps the recruiters to get an insight into the personality and self-awareness of an individual.
The weaknesses also tell the interviewers about the growth and development potential of the applicant.
With this behavioral answer, the interviewers know whether the applicant is suitable for the job title or not.
Let us have a glance at the various tips which the applicants can follow while proffering the answers to such questions.
Tips and Strategies
While answering about your strengths or weaknesses, it is imperative, to be honest. An honest answer exhibits your genuineness and authenticity.
Moreover, the interviewers can always substantiate your answers from your resume, application form, body language, and other activities.
But be careful enough not to give away any confidential information about your prior employer or job. This means you should be truthful in a diplomatic way.
If they come to know about your dishonesty, then they will straight away show you the exit doors.
So, the applicants should not integrate imaginative stories to expand their chances of fetching the job opportunity.
Moreover, this will exhibit your dilettantism and immature nature. So avert from giving an exaggerated or calculated answer.
On the other hand, the solution may require you to spell out specific negative experiences or weaknesses.
Such weaknesses can truncate your chances of fetching the job opportunity. So be cautious to conceal this data passively.
Also Read: What to Bring in An Interview and What Not?
You should always initiate your answer by mentioning the skill, strength, or weakness. After this, integrate a story with your response.
This story can be any experience, achievement, or accomplishment which will help the interviewers to know in detail about your strengths or weaknesses.
Moreover, the anecdote exhibits your credibility and reliability. It can help the manager to substantiate your answer.
Apart from this, a tale also helps to retain the interest of the interviewers. They are likely to listen to you carefully and develop a personal connection which will help them to remember you for a long time.
The applicant should make sure that their answer is brief yet informative. Increasing the length of your answer unnecessarily makes it monotonous and boring.
So you should mention 2 to 3 strengths and weaknesses to them. But make sure that such an answer will help them to get a detailed insight into your personality.
This is because it is the quality and not the quantity of your answer which matters to the interviewers.
However, the answers may compel you to depict your experiences through a story. But, make sure not to go into the detail of each story.
The saying “practice makes a man perfect” never gets tarnished. Practicing your answer is very beneficial and thus, can help you to get the job.
First of all, it increases your self-confidence and aids to calm your nerves. This is because practicing helps you to remember past experiences or stories relating to your strengths and weaknesses.
And you can fetch them from your memory at the right time during the interview.
Secondly, the interviewers come to know that you have prepared for the job. This, in turn, exhibits your hard work and dedication to procure the job opportunity.
Moreover, if you have already reviewed your strengths and weaknesses, then you are less likely to ramble.
So pay heed to rehearse your answers before the mirror or a friend. Also, do not forget to proofread your answer before evaluating it.
Use software like Grammarly, which helps to avoid any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. This is because such small mistakes can exhibit your amateurism.
While spilling out your strengths and weaknesses, the answer may require you to go down the negative memory lane. Especially the flaws that tend to demoralize you.
But you should remember to maintain your stability and composure during such times.
Make sure not to let anxiety overpower you. The applicants should maintain positive body language and smile appropriately.
In the end, it is crucial to deliver your answer in a positive and confident tone.
The STAR technique helps you to retort to the question in the best possible way. Your strengths and weaknesses need you to exhibit your experiences and past stories.
This technique helps you to give your answer in an organized way without leaving any crucial piece of information.
First of all, make the interviewers aware of your past situation. This helps the recruiters to know about the company’s culture and working environment.
They can even compare the culture and environment of their company with your previous company.
The task refers to the challenge or problem which the situation issued to you. The interviewers can assess the intensity of the problem and your skills.
Action refers to the initiatives you took to solve the problem. Hence, the activity helps the interviewers to know your decision-making, problem-solving, and other technical and soft skills.
So you must explain your specific skill according to the requirements of the organization in this part.
Result or verdict helps the interviewers to know about your contribution towards the organization.
A positive impact shows your strength, whereas a negative effect shows your weaknesses and the way you improve yourself.
What are your greatest job strengths?
Before answering this question, you need to conduct extensive research about the company and the pollsters.
This is because the research helps you to know the requirements and needs of the organization and interviewers.
You can use this data to your advantage. This means the applicant should modify the strengths according to the skill set required by the company.
Moreover, exhibit strengths that can meet the goals and culture of the organization.
The interviewers choose the best fit by aligning their needs with the candidate’s technical and soft skills. You can exhibit your technical attributes through practical skills.
On the other hand, spill out your soft skills through personality traits.
To initiate your research, go through the job description of the company. The job description can help you to procure specific keywords that you can use as your strengths.
Secondly, this digital era facilitates the process of research. So you can surf through the social media accounts of the company.
The LinkedIn profile of the company has the names of the various job posts and the people working in them. This will help you to know the interviewers’ profile and their nature.
The applicant should visit the web pages of the website of the organization.
There are various news articles and recent updates of the company which aid you to comprehend about the working environment.
After your research, create a compelling and intriguing answer. But make sure not to cross the very fine line between appreciation and bragging.
Appreciation means to tell your skillset without undermining your personality. However, bragging will reduce your credibility and show your amateurism.
What are the weaknesses that you can mention in an interview?
You should not use the formula which you used for the strengths while confiding the weaknesses. This means you should not align your shortcomings with the requirements of the organization.
Moreover, exhibit weaknesses that do not affect the core functioning of the organization. For example, let us say that you are applying for the job of a content writer.
In such situations, you cannot exhibit your weakness as a lack of written communication skills. This is because such skills are necessary for you to perform activities in the capacity of a content writer.
But you can use your research to know the requirements of the organization. Moreover, entail your weaknesses as the attributes which are not essential for the company.
For example, in the capacity of a content creator, you can mention your liability as procrastination. However, it is crucial to describe how you are improving on your weakness and making it your strength.
The applicant should make sure not to describe the weaknesses as- “I work way too hard, I do things in a more than perfect way, etc.”.
Such answers exhibit your professional immaturity and lack of emotional intelligence.
Also Read: Elevator Pitch: Why and How to Master It?
Examples for Weaknesses
I am an introvert and hence feel shy in communicating with new people. Due to this, I was not able to participate in various speech and debate competitions in my school and college.
Hence, this hindered me from exhibiting my exceptionally written articles and content.
But, to improve this skill, I had joined two classes last year. At these conferences, there were many people like me.
We were all required to exhibit our daily experiences and past stories in front of 5 to 10 people. This helped me to develop my oral communication skills and thus bolstered my self-confidence.
One of my most significant weaknesses is that I am always unsatisfied with my work activities. Due to this, I always feel that I could have done better even if I had already done my best.
This has affected my career in the past, severely. Because of this, I always underestimated myself and was surrounded by negativity.
But I have tried to improve this by finding a way out in the last year. Now I always celebrate my accomplishments with people that help me to be positive.
This has improved not only my self-confidence but also my productivity.
Since my childhood, I have dreaded mathematics. Due to my dislike for the subject, I was never able to give 100% of my abilities during tests and examinations.
My grades had always been low. However, when I had thought to pursue my career in analytical skills, I decided to improve my mathematical skills.
Due to this reason, I had taken numerous online courses during my graduation. Though it was stressful, the favorable fruits of my hard work motivated me.
Moreover, my mathematical skills have been refined due to my recent job. And now, here I am, entirely proud to tell you how I improved my weakness and turned it into a strength.
Procrastination has always been my biggest enemy. But it was only recently that I realized this. Before, I used to think that procrastination is just stress for me and works as pressure for me in the last moment.
However, recently in my last job, I was given a project. Due to my bad habit, I postponed most of the work for the last moment.
In the end, my fault gave stress to other colleagues. And hence we were able to submit the project just a few minutes before the deadline.
But now since I have realized my mistake, I am trying to rectify it. Due to this, I have downloaded a lot of software that helps me to organize my schedule and evade procrastinating.
Other examples of job weaknesses are as follows:
- Less responsible
- Less detail-oriented
- Too much of a perfectionist
- Less proficiency in a non-essential skill
- Shy or unable to communicate effectively
- Not adept at taking risks
Examples for Strengths
I have been a great leader. Due to this, I was selected as a member of the Cabinet in my school and college.
Moreover, I was able to improve the KPIs of my prior companies per quarter. This was possible as a result of my experience to lead various teams during any project or conference.
This is because I know the importance of effectual leader. A leader is a person who listens to the quirky advice of their subordinates.
Apart from this, they have relevant decision-making, problem-solving, and team-working skills.
Once when I was made the leader of a project, the employer modified the terms and conditions at the last moment.
But due to my effective leadership, I was able to revamp the project and my strategies in an organized way. This helped all the people to complete it and thus submit it before the deadline.
I have excellent written communication skills. Due to such skills, I can create intellectual and intriguing articles in various niches.
Such skills helped me in my previous job to write articles worth 5000 words per day.
Moreover, I can write articles in multiple fields like travel and tourism, HR and management, advertisement and promotion, etc.
Other examples of job strength are as follows:
- Effective listening skills
- Practical communication skills
- Good decision making and problem-solving skills
- Empathetic skills