Strengths and weaknesses questions. That part of the interview that stumps so many of us. What do we say? Do we highlight a weakness? Or could that have an impact of getting the job?
Why do interviewers ask about strengths and weaknesses?
When you’re asked in an interview about your strength and weaknesses, it’s not designed to trip you up. What the interviewer wants to really hear is why you think that you are the right person for the job. They want to know what you think you are best at. Answering these questions can take a lot of self-reflecting. Not many of us don’t feel comfortable when it comes to ‘blowing our own trumpet’. Therefore, it’s important to do some pre-planning so that you can answer this question with confidence.
What are strengths and weaknesses?
Strengths are usually soft skills.
Things like being a good communicator or having excellent time management skills. Think about what you are best at. What have you really enjoyed about any previous roles? Has someone given you praise for a particular soft skill? Maybe you were able to successfully resolve a conflict in the office? It’s always good practice to highlight your strengths that are most suitable to the role. However, don’t miss out on soft skills that would be considered a strength in any working environment.
Here’s some more examples of soft skills –
- the ability to remain calm under pressure
- gaining successful outcomes with difficult customers
- ability to multi-task effectively
- excellent negotiation skills
When explaining your strengths, it’s important that you can frame them into a story. Giving real life examples of how and where you have displayed your strengths in previous roles will help you stand out in an interview.
But what about weaknesses?
Don’t be concerned about sharing a weakness or two. It’s how you present it them that matters. Try not to think of a weakness as something you are bad at. think of a weakness as something that you’re looking to improve. Honesty is a great trait in any employee, so being honest here is key. It’s also important to remember that it doesn’t have to be something on the job spec that you’re weak at. Maybe it’s something in your current job that isn’t a requirement of the one you are interviewing for?
One way to approach a weakness that is relevant to the job is to see it as a learning curve. By explaining that whilst you haven’t had the chance to put this skill to the test yet, you are looking forward to exploring it in the role you are interviewing for. Not all interviewers expect you to have every soft skill they are looking for. But by being honest and showing enthusiasm to learn, you should find the next time you’re asked ‘what are your weaknesses’ you are equipped to answer them.
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