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Tell Me Your Strengths and Weaknesses… Oh No!

Tell Me Your Strengths and Weaknesses… Oh No!

by Talentese Team 02/01/2018

What are your strengths and weaknesses? This is one of the most frequently asked interview questions. If you’re at an interview, and it’s going smoothly, there’s a very good chance you will be asked what your strengths and weaknesses are. Don’t worry! It isn’t that difficult to answer. It’s all about being quick on your toes! This is a very popular question and everybody has to sit in this hot seat at least once in their lives. This is a favourite of most recruiters for typical interview questions and answers.

It actually doesn’t matter whether your strengths and weaknesses are real or not. Most interviewers want to know how you handle being put on the spot. There is no right response to this question, yet most interviewers look for closely hidden flaws in your reply. They check to assess your employee branding simultaneously. The reason recruiters and interviewers ask this question is to gauge how you handled challenging situations in your past and whether you were able to do a self-assessment.

Most candidates facing this question tend to flounder and think of the perfect answer. Simply put, there isn’t one! Interviewers want to ensure that you can accept your mistakes and admit to working on them as it shows humility and respect. Most interviewers and recruiters use this question to filter candidates they think are not a right fit for their company (Armstrong & Taylor, 2014). Don’t get trapped by this most frequently asked interview questions and answers web!

To ensure you don’t get caught in this tricky web, here are some tips. Let’s break the question into two and take each part one at a time.



First off, get your examples ready! While responding to the strengths part, always have quantifiable data to back your answer. If you answer something generic about team building or maximizing sales, the interviewer might ask for an example. If you can’t answer this question concisely, there is a good chance you will be rejected and someone else will get your dream job. This is a very big mistake most people make in this typical interview questions and answers round.

Another way to be prepared for this answer is to read and re-read the job description carefully and identify the key points in the new job. According to Martins (Daniel Martins, 2016), tailor your response to fit the most probable answer to this question. If you reply something very obvious like an attribute – hardworking, honest, and detail-oriented, the interviewer won’t be impressed. Give an answer that reflects your employee branding. Strengths should be backed by previous experience. If you have a response about your multilingual skills, then you could back it by saying something like, “I enjoy learning new languages and have certificates in French, Spanish, and Japanese. I was able to contribute greatly during our teleconference with our French office.” Keep it simple, but impactful!

Come up with at least 3 strengths and quantifiable examples to back those (Armstrong & Taylor, 2014). Be very specific with your response.



Here’s the crux of the problem! Strengths are simple, right? Wrong! Weaknesses are simple. Everybody has weaknesses. Interviewers want to know how candidates conduct themselves when faced with a challenge that looks impossible to overcome. Most jobs today are time-consuming, high-pressure, and stressful. The recruiter wants to know if you have a tendency to lose your cool in such a situation. No one wants to hire a candidate who doesn’t have control of his/her temper!

The best way to approach this is to state a weakness that you are currently working to improve. Be honest and admit that you had a very specific issue and are working on improving it. Conversely, you can also show how you overcame your issue and what steps you took to tackle the problem. For example, if you had a hard time being organized and on time, explain how you started keeping a daily calendar and preparing for the next days’ work in advance. This helped you reach meetings on time and you had your data prepared the earlier day. You can also mention how pleased your manager was when you showed signs of improvement. Highlight how your employee branding improved over time. See? You are slowly able to tackle this typical interview question and answer round better!

Quick warning, don’t use any generic weaknesses. Stay specific to your skill sets and weaknesses. Never say something like, “Sometimes, I work too hard.” Interviewers can see through this trick very easily! Don’t try to portray your strengths as weaknesses – the interviewer won’t appreciate that you tried to dodge the question. Be frank, straightforward and precise.

Do prior research about the job role and responsibility that you have applied for (Cooke, Saini, & Wang, 2014). Ensure that none of your weaknesses clash with the requirements in the role. For instance, don’t say you are scared of making presentations if that is a pre-requisite for this role. Tailor your responses to suit each job role and back it up with relevant information.

Don’t get afraid when faced with this most frequently asked interview question for strengths and weaknesses. Be well prepared and respond in a calm and professional manner. Highlight your strengths and be genuine in your weaknesses. Ensure that you have done research on the company, job description, and interviewer beforehand. Always make your answers believable with quantifiable data to back them. Use these tricks to tackle each individually and remember to be confident! All the best!

by Talentese Team 02/01/2018

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