Tips

List of strengths and weaknesses: What to say in your interview?

One of the most common but tricky question you get in a job interview is about your strength and weakness. It seems the words are familiar but discussing your strengths and weaknesses can be one of the most difficult parts of the job interview. Avoid interview paralysis with our advice.

As a job candidate, if you’re asked the question “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” in an interview, it’s important to emphasize what you’re good at, and minimize—but be truthful about—what you’re not.

Assessing your weaknesses

Let’s get the hard part out of the way first—your weaknesses. This is probably the most dreaded part of the question. Everyone has weaknesses, but who wants to admit to them, especially in an interview?

Some examples of weaknesses you might mention include:

  • Being too critical of yourself
  • Attempting to please everyone
  • Being unfamiliar with the latest software

The best way to handle this question is to minimize the trait and emphasize the positive. Select a trait and come up with a solution to overcome your weakness. Stay away from personal qualities and concentrate more on professional traits. For example: “I pride myself on being a ‘big-picture’ guy. I have to admit I sometimes miss small details, but I always make sure I have someone who is detail-oriented on my team.”

Assessing your strengths

When it comes time to toot your own horn, you need to be specific. Assess your skills to identify your strengths. This is an exercise worth doing before any interview. Make a list of your skills, dividing them into three categories:

  • Knowledge-based skills: Acquired from education and experience (e.g., computer skills, languages, degrees, training and technical ability).
  • Transferable skills:Your portable skills that you take from job to job (e.g., communication and people skills, analytical problem solving and planning skills)
  • Personal traits:Your unique qualities (e.g., dependable, flexible, friendly, hard working, expressive, formal, punctual and being a team player).

Some examples of strengths you might mention include:

  • Enthusiasm
  • Trustworthiness
  • Creativity
  • Discipline
  • Patience
  • Respectfulness
  • Determination
  • Dedication
  • Honesty
  • Versatility

When you complete this list, choose three to five of those strengths that match what the employer is seeking in the job posting. Make sure you can give specific examples to demonstrate why you say that is your strength if probed further.