How To Answer “What Are Your Strengths And Weaknesses”

How To Answer “What Are Your Strengths And Weaknesses”

"What are your strengths and weaknesses?" An interview question that has stumped many can be yours to master with these interview tips.

Know your strengths and weaknesses.
Know your strengths and weaknesses.

“What are your strengths and weaknesses?” This HR Interview questions can put the best of us in a fix. While you are taught everywhere that you should not boast during a job interview, you are also expected to hide the worst of you and showcase only the pretty and strong. However, when you are asked to talk about your “strengths and weaknesses” during a job interview, everything that you might have learned so far, comes undone.

Talking about the weaknesses

Don't play your strengths as weaknesses during job interviews.
Don’t play your strengths as weaknesses during job interviews.

While you might hesitate from talking about your weaknesses, a better idea would be to talk about this aching point first. Why? So that you have the opportunity to end your answer on a more positive note and leave the flavour of your strengths lingering for the interviewer.

Understand what the interviewer is looking for

Before you answer the question, try to understand what the interviewer is looking for by asking this question. While the interviewer might not be expecting you to be completely honest, they sure want to know how you will approach the question. If you take the right path then all the while that you talk about your weaknesses, you can portray key interpersonal skills, including proactivity and self-awareness.

Don’t try to play your strength as a weakness

When the interviewer asks you about your strengths and weaknesses they actually want to know about these topics and not have you veil a strength as a weakness. You might think it is a great idea to say that your weakness it that you seek perfection in everything you do. However, this is something that won’t work in your favour and make you come across as a person who can’t really be trusted.

Make honesty your best friend

Pick up a real weakness and talk about it. Be honest with the interviewer if you want to succeed. Tell them how you procrastinate a lot or any other such habit that you perceive as a weakness. The interviewer will appreciate you for your honesty and you might even earn brownie points for it.

Talk about how you are working on those weaknesses

Talking about your weaknesses is not enough. You need to add the steps you are taking in the right direction to try and overcome those weaknesses. Don’t let the interviewer think you are sitting on a weakness. Instead, show it them how you are working actively to come out as a better individual.

Talking about your strengths

Talk about relevant strengths during a job interview.
Talk about relevant strengths during a job interview.

Talk about your strengths in the second part of your answer. And whatever you do, try not to brag. Instead, use this opportunity to tell the interviewer how you are a perfect fit for the job. Remember, the whole job interview is primarily about your strengths and how you can portray them.

Understanding the question

By asking you about your strengths (and weaknesses) the interviewer wants to get a measure of you and whether you are the right fit for the job or not. Apart from determining whether you are fit for the job, the interviewer also wants to know whether you understand the job and the job requirements or not. They want to see how you will frame your answer, whether you confident or cocky and ready to learn new things and skills.

Don’t bury the interviewer under a long list of strengths

Don’t talk non-stop about the numerous achievements you might or might not have under your name.

“I am well-organised, I am a team player, I am always eager to learn, I am focused, I pay great attention to details, I believe in working hard, …”

Now going on and on about your achievements one after the other won’t really work in your favour. Instead, choose two or max three of your best qualities or strengths and talk about them.

Choose your strengths according to the job profile

If the job description specifies that they need a team player then tell them that you are one. Throw in some examples to make your answer more solid. In fact, most companies seek employees who can work well in a team so keeping this option handy can be a great idea.

Choose strengths that make your candidature stronger. Explain how you think the strength you have chosen to talk about is relevant to the job.

Don’t choose irrelevant qualities

You might be a strong person who can open pickle jars with ease, but that is not a strength the interviewer is looking for when they ask you about your strengths. Choose qualities that will be relevant to the job profile and not just any random strength off the top of your head.

You can add, subtract and multiply to these interview tips to form your own answers on how to handle the “what are your strengths and weaknesses” question and bowl the interviewer over and take the job home.