Advice & Resources
What Are Your Greatest Strengths and Weaknesses?
by Leylanorman - 2015-03-16
Answering the dreaded strength and weakness question at a job interview is nerve-wracking. However, if you are prepared with a solid answer, you will impress your interviewer and quite possibly land the job. The trick is using the right words and putting a positive spin on any negatives.
What if you answered the question with just, "I am a people-pleaser. I like to make the customers happy"? This is a generic answer that focuses just on a personal quality that many people have. It doesn't help you stand apart from the competition. There is nothing original about this answer or about you.
Here's another scenario. Maybe your answer is just, "I am not sure what my weakness really is. I could perhaps be a bit more upbeat. My strength is that I'm usually nice, even when I'm feeling a bit down." This answer starts with a negative, and uses vague words like "usually." You will just seem kind of depressing with this kind of answer, says Carole Martin of Monster.com.
Before you walk into your next interview, create a list of your skills and that will help you identify what you're good at doing. Separate the skills into categories: those you got from education and experience (Think degrees, technical know-how.), transferable skills (communication and critical thinking skills), and personal qualities (being helpful, taking the initiative, being on time, etc.)
For each job interview you have, select a few of the strengths mentioned in the job description. Back up your strengths with specific instances of how you demonstrated those skills.
Addressing your weaknesses requires finesse. Admit the weakness, and then emphasize how you have worked to overcome it. If you are sometimes misunderstood when you send out email instructions to employees, perhaps you could say that you call face-to-face meetings instead of writing out instructions so that ambiguities can be eliminated, thus increasing communication.
Just a reminder: prepare your answer to this question before each interview. You cannot use canned answers for each job. Interviewers want to hear how you are the best person for the specific position for which they are hiring, not general fluff that nearly everyone interviewing might say.