Strength seems to be a candidate’s most confident qualities, helping them score with the employer in interviews. However, it is not always the case that your answers impress the interviewers. In fact, many people do not realize their strengths and find it quite challenging to answer the question “What are your biggest strengths?“.
Moreover, talking about your strengths and talents in a job application or interview without coming off as a boaster is also tricky. Indeed, it would help if you prepared for the question “What are your biggest strengths?” whether the interviewer asks this question or not. This preparation will help you understand your strengths and what might give you an edge over other candidates. Furthermore, you can mention them in other parts of the interview.
Thus, let’s explore the secrets behind the strengths and weakness question in interview – a so-called minor challenge when applying for your dream job.
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In general, strengths are your good qualities, or abilities that make you stand out from others. From there, the employer can assess your competence and compatibility with the recruiting position.
How To Craft Your Own Answer?
Dealing with this type of question, you can answer in two ways: personality traits or skills/habits. Also, add context or related stories if possible, as this will make your answer unique and impressive.
Moreover, to score with the employer, remember to mention specific strengths related to the requirements for the position. For example, when applying for the position of a communications officer, you can mention some strengths such as creativity, flexibility, and writing skills. This counts as a straight-to-the-point yet impressive answer since the specificity of this profession requires a high level of creativity, innovation, and sensitive response when a communication crisis occurs.
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Here are some suggestions to make a clear and reasonable answer to the question “What are your biggest strengths?”:
- High sense of responsibility
- Ability to concentrate
- Progressive spirit
- Writing skill
- Negotiation skill
- Leadership (when applying for senior or management positions)
Even the most experienced candidates may struggle with the question describing their strengths. Thus, we have easily compiled a list of examples to help you get through the question, “What are your biggest strengths?”. You can use each of these key strength examples to give a compelling reason why the recruiter should hire you.
“I have the leadership and team-working ability. Admittedly, I used to lead a team consisting of many members with diverse skills performing various tasks. In more detail, I have guided, inspired and engaged members to work together towards a common goal. In my three years as a team leader, my team’s performance has increased by 20%.”
“I am good at writing. I have been a writing freelancer for five years for many companies in many different fields. In my writing, I can ensure both content and technical quality, not to mention create a balance between creativity and thorough analysis writing.”
“Indeed, I am very meticulous and careful. At my previous company, I found an important error in the accounting software and asked the developer to fix it. This helped the company avoid consecutive misstatements in financial documents. Therefore, I believe this position could give me the opportunity to apply my strengths.”
A weakness is a limited skill or personality that you need to improve. Undeniably, everyone has flaws. However, who wants to admit this? Especially in a competitive interview?
Actually, when asking this question, the employer does not only want to know what your weaknesses are but wants to judge you via your answers. The evaluation criteria are usually three following factors:
- Analytical ability: Do you have an excellent ability to analyze mistakes and weaknesses? How are you doing in your current job?
- Strategic thinking: How can you develop a plan or strategy to overcome these weaknesses?
- Progress: How well have you implemented these plans? How did/ do you overcome your weaknesses?
Therefore, if you answer that you do not have any weaknesses, it may sound arrogant. However, if you show too many, you may lose your chance of getting hired. So, what to do?
How To Deal With It?
Similarly, you can talk about those related to personality traits or skills, depending on the requirements of the position you’re applying for when discussing weaknesses. Bear in mind not to talk about the weaknesses that make you unsuitable for the post. For example, if your job involves customer service, do not say that your weakness is poor communication.
To answer the weakness question in an interview, you can follow this order: First, state your weakness. You can then add a related context or story. This can show the employer your self-awareness of your weakness and how you improve it. Moreover, it is essential to always be positive in your answer.
We also suggest other feasible solutions to tackle this challenging question:
Firstly, you can try revealing a weakness that is not related to the job’s requirements. For example, you can talk about poor time management if the job requires more creativity than discipline.
Secondly, frankly admit your weakness and propose measures or habits to fix it yourself. In addition, describing how you are in the process of self-improvement will add more value to your answer. Your frankness and sincerity may turn out to be helpful in the interview. After all, self-assessment can help you win the hearts of employers.
Here is our suggested list of weaknesses you can reference:
- Lack of organizing skills
- Lack of confidence in front of the crowd
- Lack of practical experience
- Low self-esteem
- Lack of concentration
- Lack of presentation skills
“Admittedly, I have a habit of putting things off until the last minute. I know it is a bad habit because it always stresses me out due to deadlines. When I worked at my old company, I continuously had to sprint to deliver products to customers in time. Since then, I have started to change my habit by making a scientific work schedule. In the beginning, everything was very difficult. However, I believe that I will break this habit soon.”
“Indeed, I often get shy. This weakness makes it difficult for me to speak in public or have the confidence to express my opinion. Then, I decided to join a course to improve my communication skills and boost my confidence. The class was fun, as I had the opportunity to practice in the discussions. Now, in a group, I usually pay attention to and start conversations with people who are less talkative, since I can understand their feelings.”
“I am kind of a lonely wolf. I prefer completing projects on my own without any outside help. In the past, this caused me to experience unnecessary pressure and stress. Therefore, I am trying to improve my communication skills, and become more open with the help of everyone in the company.”
Overall, each answer to the strengths and weakness question in interview depends on the particular context and the vacancy’s requirement. In any case, be honest when giving the example of strength and weaknesses. Do not talk about a strength that you do not have or are not really sure about just to make a good impression. Undoubtedly, the recruiter may figure out if you’re lying, so remember to answer honestly and tactfully.
Hope that Jobandedu‘s example of strength and weaknesses facilitate the way to land your dream job!