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How to Answer the Interview Question: What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?

Interviews play an important role in our professional life. A good interview can dramatically change the course of our life. At the same time, a bad interview can pull us down the ladder. While giving an interview, the answers need to be authentic and diplomatic. Hence, carefully curating your replies is necessary. One of the most common interview questions is: what are your strengths and weaknesses? Normally, it may seem quite easy to answer the question, but replying properly to the questions is quite tricky. Let us look at some guidelines for answering this question.

Understanding the Interview Question on Strengths and Weaknesses

Before framing your answer, you need to understand the meaning of the question and the interviewer’s expectations. Let us first understand the outline of the strengths and weaknesses question. 

1. What Interviewers Are Looking For

Your resume already speaks of your abilities, so why do interviewers ask this question? Let us see what interviewers expect in the answers. 

  • Self-awareness and honesty 

The main objective here is to measure your self-awareness and authenticity. They check your public speaking and how organized you are while answering a question. 

  • Relevance to the job role 

They try to gauge how responsible, driven, and confident you sound. Moreover, they expect you to prove your contribution to the company through your strengths.

  • Ability to identify areas for improvement 

They also notice whether you are overdoing your strengths. Additionally, they check whether you know how to improve yourself or not. 

2. Common Misconceptions And Pitfalls

The question might seem quite easy, but interviewees often make three mistakes. They are, 

  • Claiming to have no weaknesses

The first mistake people commit in answering your strengths and weakness is they claim to have no weaknesses. This immediately gives a bad impression to the interviewers. He perceives you as over-confident, insincere, or lacking self-awareness. 

  • Providing irrelevant or generic answers 

Avoid giving stock and generic answers like – ‘I’m a perfect candidate because I resolve issues…” Rather, be more specific, like “I’m a great choice for the post as I have analytical skills and can help resolve problems in-depth. Giving generic or irrelevant answers will not separate you from the rest

  • Oversharing or highlighting major flaws 

As you share ‘my weakness,’ ensure you are not speaking of any major flaws. This can negatively impact your image, and the interviewer may consider you unfit for the role. Try speaking of negligible flaws to sound diplomatic. 

Identifying Your Strengths

It is fundamental to select your strengths strategically. This will help you to focus on relevant strengths you can equate with the job profile. Moreover, you can ensure you are not overpowering. Let us look at some guidelines to answer the following question: What are your strengths?

1. Reflecting On Your Skills, Experiences, And Achievements

While answering, include your recent achievements and skills. You can integrate any internship, training, or course you have completed. Involve achievements that are both directly and indirectly related to the job profile.

2. Aligning Your Strengths With The Job Requirements

If you are seeking the best answer for what is your strength? Then, learn to align your skills with the requirements of the job profile. Just stating your strengths might sound vague and generic. Rather, answers like – “I have creative skills that will enable me to curate engaging and interesting content…” are more targeted 

3. Providing Specific Examples To Illustrate Your Strengths

This is a more convincing manner to portray your strengths. State a situation and define how your abilities and skills will help resolve the issues. This is best for stating soft skills like timeliness, leadership qualities, effective decision-making, communication skills, etc.

4. Showcasing Your Unique Value Proposition

While you choose strengths for the interview, make sure it is a combination of both soft and hard skills. This will help you to emphasize your uniqueness. For instance, you can say – “I have gathered experience in data analysis and have been a team leader…” 

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Discussing Your Weaknesses

One thing to keep in mind is weaknesses must be discussed. However, it can be quite tricky to reveal your weakness in an unharmful manner. Let us go through some of the major tips

1. Choosing Appropriate Weaknesses To Share

You need to be very careful about the inabilities you are sharing. You need to choose negligible weaknesses even when stating your strength and weakness in resume to cause the least damage. 

  • Selecting minor, non-critical weaknesses

Choosing your weakness depends on the type of job you are applying for. If appropriate, you can state fear of public speaking, lack of confidence, timidity, being too detail-oriented, reluctance to let go of projects, etc. 

  • Avoiding red flags or deal-breakers

Never speak negatively about timeliness, discipline, patience, integrity, or any hard skills that can adversely affect your resume. A minor mistake like this can hinder your onboarding process. 

  • Focusing on areas you are actively working to improve

Another way to select your weaknesses is to state those inabilities you are trying to develop. If you are searching for – what is your weakness best answer? For example, “My greatest weakness is public speaking; hence I have recently enrolled in a communication skills training program to overcome it.” This will convince the interviewer of your efforts and perseverance. 

2. Framing Your Weaknesses Positively

It is important to shed a positive light on your weaknesses to help the interviewer believe in your integrity. Like, 

  • Demonstrating self-awareness and proactivity

While replying, make sure you portray self-awareness. Along with accepting the flaw, add how you have been trying to resolve the issue. 

  • Explaining steps taken to overcome weaknesses

Next, give them a concise explanation of the steps you have taken to deal with the situation effectively. You can also integrate how you have benefitted from those ways. Moreover, state if you have completed any training therapy for the same. 

  • Highlighting lessons learned and growth opportunities

You can end your answer by communicating about your improvement. Additionally, emphasize your practice efforts and how soon you can overcome them. 

Structuring Your Answer

While replying to strengths and weaknesses, it is necessary to arrange your points properly. This will help you discuss all your abilities and subtly mention your inabilities. Let us explore the steps to curate your answer perfectly.

1. Opening With Your Strengths

Never start with your weaknesses. Begin by stating your strengths and how you will fit the role perfectly. Additionally, they should be integrated with relevance to the job role. 

  • Leading with confidence and enthusiasm

Refrain from sounding sceptical while speaking about your strengths. This will not be favourable for you. The interviewer might think you are sharing untrue facts. Try to overcome the nervousness to sound confident and enthusiastic. This will convince the interviewer of your abilities. 

  • Connecting your strengths to the job role

While speaking about your strengths, remember to link their relevance to the job. It will help the interviewer easily measure your appropriateness for the job

2. Transitioning To Your Weaknesses

After speaking about your skills and abilities, smoothly transiting to your weakness is necessary. Integrate your strengths and weaknesses so that you are not highlighting your weaknesses. 

  • Acknowledging areas for improvement

Ensure you add steps you have taken to improve while discussing your inabilities. This will help you to convince them of your betterment. Interviewers usually favour self-aware and proactive candidates. 

  • Maintaining a positive and constructive tone

While stating your weaknesses, be positive and convince them of your efforts. Make them believe that you will overcome the difficulty very soon. This will shed a positive light on your character. 

3. Concluding With A Growth Mindset

As you proceed toward the end of your strengths and weaknesses interview, mention your perseverance and patience. Express your eagerness to learn new things and enthusiasm to contribute to the company. 

  • Emphasizing your commitment to personal development

Provide them with overall confidence in your hard work and sincerity. Emphasize your continuous efforts to improve your interpersonal skills to be more efficient for the company. 

  • Expressing enthusiasm for the opportunity to learn and grow

Portray your keenness to gain new knowledge and skills in due course. Moreover, detail how you consider this opportunity the best platform to grow and develop your skills and abilities. 

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Sample Answers

How you curate your interview answers will depend on your experience and the position you are applying for. A few strengths and weaknesses examples will help you to structure your interview answers. 

1. Entry-Level Position

If you are fresher, you must be enthusiastic about gathering new skills, good communication abilities, and other strengths. Lightly touch upon your limited industry exposure and experience, trying to be over-responsible for your weaknesses. 

  • Strengths: Detail-oriented, strong communication skills, eager to learn

Example – I have adequate communication skills. Moreover, I am meticulous with all kinds of projects and am enthusiastic about enhancing my skills. 

  • Weaknesses: Limited industry experience, tendency to take on too much

Example – I have recently graduated; hence, I have not previously worked in a professional domain. However, I have just completed my internship with a company to understand the industry’s demands. 

2. Mid-Level Position

Here, your strengths and weaknesses need to be more specific. You must talk about your previous achievements and projects you have been part of while describing your strengths. You can choose to assign tasks and occasional procrastination as your weakness.

  • Strengths: Project management, problem-solving, team leadership

Example – I have led three major projects with a team of five. Additionally, worked as an analyst for problem-solving in several other projects. 

  • Weaknesses: Difficulty delegating, occasional procrastination

Example: While leading a team, delegating tasks to team members was challenging. Also, sometimes I need help with procrastination. However, I have always met every deadline as I work beyond my office hours to complete the task. 

3. Senior-Level Position

You must be more precise and focused while stating your strengths and weaknesses. Do not add any generic or vague skills. 

  • Strengths: Strategic thinking, stakeholder management, adaptability

Example: My major strengths are critical thinking and flexibility to adapt to changes. Additionally, I have used my efficient communication skills to deal with stakeholders effectively. 

  • Weaknesses: Perfectionism, challenges with work-life balance

Example: Sometimes, I overdo my tasks to achieve perfection and accuracy. This has frequently caused an imbalance in my work life.

Tips For Delivering Your Answer

Some basic tips can help you to provide convincing and impactful replies for answering your strengths and weaknesses; they are as follows

1. Practice And Prepare Beforehand

Everyone is not proficient enough to curate on-the-spot answers in interviews. Curating your answers beforehand will provide efficiency and clarity. Especially if you are fresher, prepare and practice your answers before sitting for the interview.

2. Be Concise And Direct

You only have a stipulated time to convince the interviewer that you are perfect for the job. Hence, do not beat around the bush. Even when stating examples and situations while describing your strengths and weaknesses, make them direct and precise. 

3. Maintain A Confident And Positive Demeanor

Your body language and speaking should be confident, positive and impactful. This will convince the interviewer to consider you as a potential candidate for the job role. However, remember not to sound overpowering and overconfident. 

4. Avoid Clichés And Generic Responses

Your replies to strengths and weaknesses should be unique and individualistic to help you stand apart. Providing vague and generic answers will leave the interviewer unimpressed. Ensure that your responses are authentic and relevant to the job role. 

5. Tailor Your Answer To The Specific Job And Company

Another important advice is to link your skills to the job requirements. Provide examples of how your unique skills will benefit the company. Curating your answer in this way will give clarity to the interviewer. 

Conclusion

Interviewers consider the strength and weakness of a person. Hence, including both in your answer is paramount. However, emphasize your skills and strengths while subtly speaking of your weaknesses. Curating answers for an interview can be quite challenging. These guidelines help simplify the process. 

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FAQs On Strengths and Weaknesses 

Q1. Do you need to mention your weaknesses in an interview?

A1. Yes, mentioning weaknesses is necessary to prove your self-awareness and proactiveness. 

Q2. What to point out as your strengths and weaknesses?

A2. It generally depends on the job application. However, common strengths are – creative and deep thinking, communication skills, decision-making, leadership, discipline, etc. For weaknesses, you might speak of – assigning tasks, limited professional experience, occasional procrastination, public speaking, etc. 

Q3. What are the steps to form a proper answer?

A3. Begin by stating your strengths, then speak of your inabilities, and conclude with a positive mindset. 

Q4. What are two major practices to avoid while answering the strengths and weaknesses question?

A4. Do not claim not to have any weakness, and refrain from giving vague and cliché replies. 

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