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How to Talk About Your Strengths and Weaknesses in Interview

“What would you say are your biggest weaknesses?”

“Tell me about your greatest strengths..”

The common questions we sometimes despise. And perhaps the ones we prep for the most!

How can I impress the hiring manager with my answer?

How can I turn a negative into a plus?!

But with just a bit of thoughtful prep, you can put your best foot forward and really sell yourself to your prospective boss with our example answers below.

“We know candidates often think the weakness question is there to trip you up, but its really about getting to know you, how you work, how you carry yourself and if you have the self-awareness to succeed in the role.

It’s not necessarily the things you say, but more the way you talk about them.”

 

Lee Cherrill, Head of Engineering Recruitment at MARS Recruitment

Put your best foot forward with these tips

  1. Be honest, be genuine
  2. Share real examples to back up your statement
  3. Keep it short and sweet
  4. Don’t let it be the main focus – there will be other opportunities to discuss your skills and experiences in the interview

Examples of strengths

  • Being proactive, motivated attitude
  • Being emotionally intelligent, able to read non-verbal cues
  • Ability to handle conflict
  • Confident – capable of public speaking, leading conversations, building relationships
  • Disciplined – organised, time management, able to meet deadlines
  • Attention to details – thorough, have high standards
  • Delegating – confident managing projects

Examples of weaknesses

  • Maintaining a healthy work life balance – don’t know when to switch off
  • Struggling to say ‘no’ – being a perfectionist, take on too much work
  • Time management – not meeting deadlines, getting caught up in the small details
  • Bad with grammar and punctuation or maths
  • Not great working alone, not comfortable with vague instructions
  • Self-critical, being too hard on yourself, need for reassurance

How to answer ‘what are your strengths’ in an interview

Spend time reading through the job description and think about the most important qualities you want to bring to the role and company. What’s the culture like? What is the company goal? What are the company’s core values?

Identify which of your strengths are relevant and how you can help the company achieve its goals.

Example answers

“I feel like I make a good leader. In my past role as Engineering Manager, I was comfortable taking to and leading a team of 5 during my latest project in that role. Working together to solve problems is the best thing you can do as a leader, it’s not all about you. It’s important to understand that everyone has a say and I believe that is a very important skill to have.”

“One of my biggest strengths is my people skills, which can be used when I want to introduce myself to customers and start conversations with them. My experience has given me the time management skills that are required for this position. And I will go beyond making sure that deadlines are met.”

“I’m a people person. Working in an IT Help Desk position for the last 3 years, I enjoy handling tough cases as it gives me a chance to solve problems. One of my biggest strengths is my people skills, which can be used when I want to introduce myself to customers and start conversations with them.”

How to answer ‘what are your weaknesses’ in an interview

Be careful with the weaknesses you are choosing to talk about. Pick ones that won’t affect your ability to perform well in the role you are applying for, being careful not to sound generic or like a ‘humble-brag’ such as “I work too hard!!” It will be obvious to the interviewer, so try to get more creative with your response. 

When you explain your weaknesses, it is very important to settle the attributes that you are proactively performing on or demonstrate steps you’re taking to show that weakness into a strength.

Example answers

“One of weaknesses is I sometimes focus too much on the details of a project and spend too much time analysing the finer points. I am working on this by taking time to regularly check in and refocus on the bigger picture and end project goal.”

“I sometimes struggle to say no requests and end up taking on more than I can handle, leading to exhaustion and burn out. I try to project manage my own workload better using my calendar so I can easily see how I can better manage my time affectively whist sticking to deadlines.”

“In the past, I have found it difficult to work with aggressive personality types. While I understand diversity in personalities makes a business strong, I tend to quiet my own ideas and opinions around louder colleagues.”

Could you use some help with your job search?

We are a leading Recruitment Agency in Oxfordshire who’s aim is to really understand the career aspirations and motivations behind a candidate’s job search. This enables our team to match not only technical skills, but align someone’s career goals and personality to the right job role and hiring business.

We look forward to building a long-term relationship with you, but why don’t we start with a coffee?