Do you feel you might need to brush up on your interview skills?
No matter where you are applying to work, you are likely to have to go through a formal interview. There is usually a standard set of interview questions that interviewers rely on.
Asking about your strengths and weaknesses is a standard interview question that many people struggle with. While you do not want to come across as too boastful, saying negative things about yourself is also very tricky.
So, here are some ideas on how to present your strengths and weaknesses for job interviews…
- What Employers Are Looking For?
- How to Work Out Your Strengths?
- Skillfully Using Weaknesses
- Examples of Strengths
- Examples of Weaknesses
- Researching Ideal Strengths and Weaknesses for Job Interviews
- Final Thoughts
What Employers Are Looking For?
Before your interview, it is an excellent idea to identify the skills that will help you to do the particular job. Try to put yourself in the position of the interviewer and work out precisely what they are looking for. Your task in both the strengths and weaknesses is to illustrate that you have these skills and that you can handle the position’s requirements.
How to Work Out Your Strengths?
When talking about your strengths, it is best to be as honest as you can. If possible, ask work colleagues or friends for clues to what your strengths can be. You may have received feedback in the past from managers about your strengths, too.
Skillfully Using Weaknesses
Nobody is perfect, and employers do not expect their employees to be perfect either. The essence of this question is determining how the interviewee admits to and talks about their mistakes. Whenever you highlight a potential flaw in your character, also talk about how you are working on this area.
Keep it professional…
Make sure that you only refer to weaknesses that refer to your professional life. To make sure that you are sincere, the interviewer may ask for an example. Be prepared to illustrate each of your weaknesses and ideally have a positive spin ready and waiting.
Examples of Strengths
It is always a good idea to lead with your strengths when answering this question. The trick is to sound skillful without being boastful. Here are some key strengths you can talk about and how to explain them to an interviewer.
In many jobs, employees need to be flexible enough to meet the needs of their clients, their boss, and other team members. This may be occasionally working irregular hours or taking on some workload from other colleagues. A demonstration of flexibility can show interviewers that you are a team player.
Employers generally want to hire people that will stick with the company for several years. Therefore, it is essential to demonstrate that you are a loyal employee who is dedicated to their work. If possible, give examples of times in the past when you have gone the extra mile under challenging conditions.
There are times at work when things go wrong, and the working environment can be very stressful. At those times, having a positive attitude and being able to motivate and inspire people rather than drag them down is essential. Give a strong example or two of how you have managed to do this in the past.
Employers tend to appreciate employees who can take the initiative and find solutions to problems. If you are a natural problem solver, this is sure to save the employer a lot of time and trouble. Give examples of how you’ve used your creativity to solve problems in the past.
Part of taking the initiative is being able to provide other workers with motivation and enthusiasm. If you have previously had leadership experience, this is the perfect time to mention it. Being able to guide workers and bring out the best in them is a valuable skill that employers appreciate.
It is time to demonstrate that you have the focus and drive to get the job done. If clients are argumentative, you need to be able to power through and turn them around. You need to show that you are decisive, especially when under pressure, and will stay motivated.
A Particular Hard Skill
During your career, you are sure to have developed some specialist skills that other people envy. This could be the ability to turn around demanding customers and make sales where other people fail. Alternatively, you may be exceptionally skilled at prioritizing work and working to tight deadlines.
Consider who you’re talking to…
Try and tailor the complex skill you mention to the job you are applying for. Take a little time to work out the skills that the employer is likely to value the most. Then try and give an example of how you have used these skills as part of your working life.
You may have several different tasks that you need to juggle at the same time. Give examples of your organizational style that allows you to stay focused on all your assignments. Whether it is organizing your desk, your laptop, or the factory floor, these are skills that employers appreciate.
If you are working closely with other people, it is vital to be able to relate to them. Give examples of working in a team where you could recognize the feelings of the other team members. If you have customer service experience, give examples of adamant customers that you won over.
Employers mostly want to check that you have the willingness to learn and master new skills as part of the job. Expressing an interest in self-improvement is sure to be music to any potential employer’s ears. If you have completed any special training courses as part of your work, highlight this experience.
Examples of Weaknesses
Nobody wants to sound weak and unprepared in a job interview. The trick to presenting weaknesses is to refer to them in such a way so that they could actually be strengths. Here are some key examples of weaknesses you can present and how to give them a positive slant.
While this is usually seen as a weakness, it can be a strength when it comes to work. You may be so impatient to finish the task that you keep going long after others have given up. Of course, you still need to be mindful of the priorities of the other workers.
Being self-critical is actually an essential skill that allows workers to perform better throughout their careers. It is perhaps possible to comment that you have a tendency to be too introspective. However, this introspection has also allowed you to work on certain flaws and eradicate them.
Many employers appreciate straight shooters who they know will tell them the truth. If explained properly, this can actually be a great strength in disguise. Explain that you are aware that not everyone appreciates directness, and you are trying to soften your approach.
You may have had difficulty delegating work in the past because you want to be in charge of the project. This actually shows vision and that you are willing to work hard to make the project as good as possible. However, explain that you are working on learning how to delegate work to the most appropriate team members.
Being disorganized is part of a creative mind and can highlight your creativity to employers. However, it is important to emphasize that it has not affected your work, and you are working on this flaw. Working on becoming more organized shows that you are on the path to self-improvement.
Many people feel intimidated or even overwhelmed when it comes to public speaking and making presentations. This is a good weakness to highlight if public speaking is not a part of the job description. You can also mention that you have been working on this skill in your spare time.
Not everyone feels comfortable sharing their unique ideas and points of view. Note that when you do share your ideas at work, they are always very well received. As a result, you are working on being more confident when you have important ideas and opinions.
This is a classic example of something that sounds like a weakness actually being a strength. Being able to focus on small details means that you tend to get things just right. It is a good idea to highlight that you are working on avoiding becoming lost in small details.
Very Introverted or Extroverted
Most of us either identify as introverts or extroverts, and there are strengths and weaknesses in each type. If you have been accused of being too introverted/extroverted in the past, this is a good time to mention it. Now it is time to explain how being an introvert/extrovert allows you to relate to clients in a unique way.
A Particular Hard Skill
There is likely to be a required skill that you have yet to master fully. Rather than letting the employer discover this the hard way, highlight it as a weakness. Of course, you need to explain that you are eager to learn the skill and explain how you are doing that.
Researching Ideal Strengths and Weaknesses for Job Interviews
It can be an excellent approach to familiarize yourself with common interview questions according to job type and work out the strengths and weaknesses you want to mention from there. Interviewing for a hostess position? Check out these Hostess Interview Questions! Cook? Or take a read of Cook Interview Questions.
Interviewing with well-known company chains…
We’ve also got expected interview questions per company, like Dollar General Interview Questions, Del Taco Interview Questions, Walgreens Customer Service Associate Interview Questions, Levi Strauss Interview Questions, Disney Store Interview Questions, and much more! Just type your potential employer in our search box to check!
We’ve even got the low down on the entire job application processes for many of these companies, like Safeway Jobs Application, the complete Staples Application, and what to know about the KFC Application process.
OK, back to defining your strengths and weaknesses in job interviews…
Keeping the interviewer engaged is part of the secret of interviewing well. Naturally, you will have rehearsed your interview questions several times. However, it would help if you made your answers sound fresh so that the interviewer remains interested.
It is crucial to make eye contact with the interviewer during the interview and to appear confident. If you tend to fidget under pressure, pay close attention to your body language. Work on your breathing so that the flow of your words is even, and turn on the charm if you need to.