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  • Sandra Laws - Career Coach

What Are Your Strengths & Weaknesses?

I am going to share key tips on how to answer a common interview question: “what you are your greatest strengths and weaknesses.” Whenever I attended job interviews, I found it easier to talk about my strengths, but I struggled to identify my weaknesses. In an interview situation, I did not want to disclose any weakness that might negatively impact on the outcome of the interview.

The employer is asking this question to assess whether your strengths align with the vacancy. To effectively answer this question, it is important you must understand what is important to this employer. If you are not sure how to research an employer, I have created a free interview template and checklist. You can sign up on this link:

How to Answer What are Your Strengths?

  • Make a list of your strengths and aligned them to the role. For example, If the position involves customer service, you might want to highlight your communication skills and how your achievements when dealing with difficult customers or projects.

  • Think about your combination of strengths. Do you have strengths that are is distinct from your colleagues or people that you know who work in this sector? For example, you may have robust design and administrative skills or working with data and communicating with clients.

  • Use STAR technique to frame your answer - I described the 4 steps of the STAR Technique in my blog dated 1 March 2022:

  • Frame answer with stories of your achievement. People engage to stories, especially those with tension. You will be more memorable and make a strong connection with the interview panel. Stories have tension. You might want to talk about a time when you used your strengths to overcome to difficult customers or projects.

  • Example of Strengths Answer: My greatest strength is my ability in managing a large portfolio of high value projects. I conducted an audit of the projects and produced a report. My report highlighted the imbalance between the income and resources. I circulated report to senior management and my report contributed to streamlining the resources for the project.

How to Answer What are Your Weaknesses?

The employer is asking this to assess your self-awareness. This can be a tricky question. Be careful how you approach this question as many candidates trip up on this question.

  • You should not state that you do not have any weaknesses. Some candidates let their guard down when answering the weakness question.

  • Prepare this example answer in advance. Make a list of your weak areas. Choose a weakness which is insignificant to the role.

  • Explain how you have overcome the weakness. An example of a weakness might be that you get nervous when delivering presentations or you are impatient when they are delays. It Is important to back up your example with an action you had taken to address this weakness.

  • Example Answer to Weakness Question: My biggest weakness was managing my anxiety when I delivered presentations. To overcome this, I to signed up for a presentation course outside working hours. I have learned how to structure my presentation and mastered the relaxation techniques. I am now extremely confident when I deliver presentations.

In preparation for your interview, decide what examples you will use to demonstrate your strengths and weaknesses. Do not leave your preparation to the last minute. Practice your answers in advance of the interview and this will expand your confidence

Please get in touch if there are any questions on this topic that you would like me to answer in this blog. Email me on:

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