Going into an interview, you know that you’re going to be peppered with various probing questions, including being asked what your greatest strengths and weaknesses are. When you’re asked this particular question, you may think that the hiring manager is looking specifically for personality traits, but that isn’t always the case.
The interviewer is examining more the way you respond to the question rather than the actual answer in order to get a grasp on your temperament and level of confidence.
Points to Emphasize
To best answer this question with full conviction, you should consider in depth both your irrefutable assets and those qualities that you need to work on, prior to the interview.
- When highlighting your strengths, make sure you are focusing on professional qualities, rather than personal ones.
- Keep your negative traits from overwhelming your interview by spinning them into a more positive quality.
- Before you head into the interview, prepare yourself by listing out your strengths and weaknesses and form your answer ahead of time.
- Take a look at the company you’re applying with and choose the traits you’re going to answer with in order to closely match what they’re looking for.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
Even though the question asked is pretty simple and straightforward, it’s easy to mess up when responding to it when you’re under pressure. Avoid these common mistakes below and come out of your interview a winner.
- Do not tell the interviewer that you “don’t have any weaknesses.”
- Do not leave the hiring manager hanging with an unimaginative, wishy-washy answer and hope that they will skip on over to the next question.
- Stay away from any vague words, such as: maybe, usually, probably, etc.
- Don’t over-emphasize your negative trait and leave the interviewer with a bad taste in their mouth.
- Do not shy away from making yourself shine when relaying your greatest strengths.
An example of a great answer to this tough question could be:
I pride myself on being someone who thrives on working together as a team to achieve greatness in a work setting. II love to collaborate, share thoughts and ideas and be a leader. This, however, can be one of my weaknesses, also, because I sometimes put other members on my team ahead of my own obligations and am learning how to better manage my time and prioritize my work and other’s duties.
When you respond to this question, don’t forget that your interviewer is simply trying to learn more about you and what is that makes you unique and qualified for the job.