Have you ever experienced interview paralysis when asked what your strengths and weaknesses are? Usually, It’s hard to present your strengths without feeling as if you were bragging or to talk about your weaknesses without painting a bad picture of yourself.
So, yes, it’s usually quite tricky to point out your strengths and weaknesses in an interview with your potential employees. Many job seekers have ruined this interview aspect in more ways than one, trying to appear perfect before potential employees. On the other hand, some would go blank, lacking the slightest idea of what to say.
Why Talk About Your Strength and Weakness in a Job Interview?
First, you should understand why your potential employers tend to demand to know about your strengths and weaknesses. Requesting for these doesn’t mean that they’re trying to put you in an awkward condition. They’re just trying to get to know you and how self-aware you are. They also want to know how much you can utilize your abilities towards the progress of the organization. So relax and give this moment your best shot.
The most suitable approach to the question, “what are your strengths and weaknesses?” doesn’t require you to say the best things about yourself. Instead, it requires that you convince the recruiters that you can promote the interest of the company. Here are a few tips to help you give the best possible answer to this question.
Examples of Strengths and Weaknesses
- Communication skills
- Writing skills
- People skills
- Leadership skills
- Analytical skills
- Computer literacy
- Public speaking
- Lack of confidence
- Lack of experience
- Inability to delegate
- Taking criticisms
Listing your strengths and weaknesses in your CV is also important to increase the chances of getting a job. Create your CV today with the No.1 CV Maker in Nigeria at Reventify.
14 Tips to Tell Strength and Weakness in a Job Interview
- Be Self-aware
Before you can answer the strength and weakness questions impressively, you need to have walked the self-discovery path. Recruiters want to know the real you because no one wants to employ someone oblivious to their abilities and inadequacies. Therefore, you must have done some self-search regarding the job.
Take a ride into your world and analyze your positive and negative traits regarding the position you’re applying for. And hey, be truthful to yourself.
- Be Clear About Your Skills
Your skills are a clear pointer to what your strengths and weaknesses are. You can create a list of your skills and categorize them into personal qualities, soft skills, and hard skills.
Personal qualities include outspokenness, friendliness, flexibility, punctuality, neatness, organization, reliability, expression, assertiveness, and trustworthiness.
Soft skills refer to the abilities that can help you sustain a particular job or thrive in it. Soft skills include Collaboration, Communication, Problem solving, Innovations, Leadership, and Interpersonal skills.
Hard skills refer to the job-specific abilities you have. Hard skills include knowledge from education, experiences, training, and technical skills that aid your effectiveness at your job.
The good thing is that all skills can be acquired.
- Analyze the Job-Specific Strengths
This is where you analyze your strengths and weaknesses with regard to the job you’re applying for. Examine your strengths and see how they blend into the demand of the job. Let’s say you are skillful in leadership or communication; think of how that can promote the organization’s interest for which you are hoping to work.
- Analyze the Job-Specific Weaknesses
Now, you should focus on analyzing your job-specific weaknesses. However, there’s something significant to note here. And that is, your weaknesses in relation to the job should not be something you don’t see yourself overcoming.
If your weaknesses do not affect the job per se, you might not need to talk about them. However, if they can affect the job in any way, first ensure that you deal with the weaknesses you’re not comfortable talking about before the interview. Then the weaknesses you can improve on can be skillfully communicated to your employers, provided those weaknesses are not toxic and cannot hinder the organization’s progress.
- Research the Organization Thoroughly
Read the job description thoroughly, paying attention to every detail. Learn about the company, its core values, culture, etc. Go to their website, check through their pages and social media handles. Check their activities and the most recent updates to hint at what they expect from their employees.
Now, you should use the information you have gathered to identify which of your strengths can meet their demands and master how you can weave them into your response. You should also find out what weaknesses they detest the most and improve upon them if you have any of these weaknesses.
- Be Honest
Make up your mind to be as truthful as possible. Remember that lies cannot be sustained through lies. Communicate your strengths graciously and tactfully spell out your weaknesses with your desire to improve on them.
You don’t have to program your answers to sound acceptable. Remember that your employers are looking for a tone of sincerity in you to win them over. Programming your words might lead to failure because you are trying to act on what you are not. Honesty will boost your confidence to a great extent and save you from future headaches.
- You Don’t Have to Be Perfect
Understand that your potential employer doesn’t expect you to sound perfect. Instead, they want you to sound reasonable and sincere. Trying to please them will eventually sweep you off track. Why? Because if someone or something seems too good to be true, they probably are.
- Don’t Sound Uncertain
You should never sound uncertain about what your strengths and weaknesses are. Because if you do, it means you’re not yet self-aware. Tones of uncertainties create a vague identity of you in the minds of your interviewers. Words and phrases like, “maybe” “I’m not sure,” “probably,” “I think so” conceals who you want them to perceive you to be. Be firm and assertive about what you say about yourself.
- Don’t Lead with a Negative
Beginning your statement with your weaknesses doesn’t make you humble. It’s essential to lead your statement with your positives. So, you don’t necessarily have to begin your answers with the negative aspect of you.
Presenting your weaknesses after your strength makes it not look like you are trying to sound superhuman. However, in communicating your shortcomings, don’t talk about weaknesses that can affect or contradict your role in the organization (you should have improved on them by now).
For instance, applying as a sales manager demands that you’re good at networking with excellent verbal communication skills. Claiming you are weak in this area will drop you massive points. However, you can say you’re not so good in tech areas as this does not impair your role.
Here’s a way to go about stating your weakness in this example.
“I feel I should improve my knowledge of tech, which can also be an advantage in later times. Hence, I recently registered for a part-time course in Information and Communication Technology. So I see myself becoming a tech pro soon.”
Stating your weakness this way communicates your sincerity and shows progressive thinking noting that you love to work on things that help you immensely.
- Express Yourself Confidently
While you’re preparing for the interview, you can create a vivid imagination of the words that project your strengths. Say them to yourself with confidence and allow them to register in your mind until they become a part of you. Learn to express yourself confidently, and don’t panic!
- Focus on Your Strengths
You should learn to focus on your strengths when in an interview. Remember, you’re not trying to write yourself off, nor are you trying to throw a pity party. Channel your energies to your strength statement rather than the weakness statement.
- Tell a Story
Everybody loves stories. So, always remember that your assertions will sound realistic and exciting when you weave them into a story. A story helps you to “show and not just tell.”
For example, instead of just talking about your strengths and weaknesses, you can talk about a time when your strengths helped you achieve an essential professional milestone or when your weaknesses impeded you.
You can highlight your strength of working under pressure by stating a time when you were able to finish a client’s business proposal despite a last-minute change of plans. You can express how your weakness of stage-fright prevented you from delivering a well-planned presentation to your satisfaction.
- Don’t Exaggerate
Recruiters can sense exaggerations from more than a mile away. If you claim to have done something so big, they may doubt you. So, unless you have done something that big, you have no business biting more than you can chew.
- Be Brief
Brevity is indeed a virtue. No one expects you to take an eternity to talk about your strengths and weaknesses. Here’s how you can maintain a precise response:
- Discuss only the strength relevant to the job and the weakness that doesn’t affect the job.
- Give an answer that the listeners can summarize in their minds and associate with you.
An attention-grabbing CV with your strengths and weaknesses can also help you to attract a Recruiter of Your Choice for getting a job. Let’s Get Started with Reventify CV Builder, The No.1 CV Builder in Nigeria.
Four Practical Examples of Presenting Your Strength and Weaknesses
I have strong writing skills and can communicate complex ideas and details in easily digestible pieces. This, coupled with my three years of experience as a technical writer at Aquasure, has made many differences in my professional life. After my third year at the company, I was promoted to an editorial position. My new role helped me to improve my editing skills as well.
Without a doubt, my leadership skills are one of my greatest strengths. When I was a department help, I merged two teams and organized training programs for them. As a result of the training and guidance, we increased sales by 10% after our first month as a new team.
I struggle with delegating essential tasks because I fear the tasks will not be executed flawlessly. This increases my workload and puts me under much pressure. So, I’ve gotten around to using software to assign these tasks and also track their completion. This has helped me to focus more on my tasks and trust my co-workers to complete other tasks.
I often struggle with negative criticism and, after receiving one, can become obsessed with perfecting my work. Of course, I appreciate the guidance from supervisors; I just have to learn to be less harsh on myself.
Practice! Practice! Practice! With a practical and diligent approach to the tips above, you are off to a great and practical interview session with your employees. So, what are your strengths? And what are your greatest weaknesses?