Your Biggest Strengths and Weaknesses: How to Discuss During an Interview

One of the most common job interview questions involves the hiring manager asking you to talk about your biggest strengths and weaknesses. Often there is no “right answer” hiring managers are looking for – instead, it’s seen as an opportunity for them to evaluate candidates on their overall self-awareness and honesty, as well as their actual qualifications. Use these tips to make sure you’re conveying yourself in the best way possible when discussing your biggest strengths and weaknesses in an interview.

Discussing Strengths:

Evaluate Your Most Relevant Qualities

Before the interview, carefully review the job description to determine which are the most important skills or traits needed for the position. Then evaluate which of your strengths most match up with what the hiring manager is looking for in a candidate in both technical skills and attitude or personality traits. For example, for an administrative position, you would likely highlight your organizational and time-management skills, as well as your collected personality style that allows you to communicate well with different types of people.

Make It Quantifiable

Just because you claim to have a strength doesn’t necessarily mean other people agree. Make a case for your strengths by using real-life examples, especially with hard facts to back it up. If you claim to be great at customer service, you could provide your past key performance indicators (KPIs), such as customer feedback scores.

Discussing Weaknesses:

Be Honest but Strategic

Think of the times you have failed or made mistakes, as well as the constructive criticism you have received from managers in the past, to determine your actual areas that have needed improvement so you can give an honest answer. Be sure to review the job description so your weakness isn’t an integral requirement of the job. Never make up a weakness or even worse, give an answer that isn’t really a weakness (like being a perfectionist or working too hard). Hiring managers have heard it all, and answers like that can be seen as condescending.

Focus on Overcoming Obstacles

It is understandably difficult to talk about your shortcomings in an interview setting where you’re trying to sell yourself as the best choice for the job; however, hiring managers know everyone has a weakness. The deciding factor is generally how well you acknowledge your weaknesses and the amount of effort you take to improve. When discussing your weakness, frame it as a learning opportunity and give specific details on what you’ve learned from it and how you work to overcome it.

 

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