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Curious about how to respond to the “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” interview question? Keep reading, and addressing your strengths and weaknesses will soon become a highlight of any job interview. Discover effective strategies to pinpoint your primary strength and confidently discuss both your strong suits and areas for improvement.

This piece provides insights into:

1. Responding to the “What are your strengths and weaknesses” interview query.
2. Understanding the recruiter’s intentions behind asking about your main strengths and weaknesses during an interview.
3. Recognizing your most effective strengths for job interviews.
4. Avoiding common pitfalls when discussing your strengths and weaknesses in a job interview.

 

1. Why Do Interviewers Ask About Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Recruiters pose this question to assess your self-evaluation skills and determine your suitability for the role. Additionally, they may be interested in whether you actively engage in self-improvement. Inquiring about your strengths and weaknesses can provide the hiring manager valuable insights into your work style and personality.

The “what are your strengths and weaknesses” interview inquiry is a standard component. Expect to encounter this question, and it is advisable to be prepared. Many job seekers struggle to respond effectively to this question because they mistakenly perceive it as straightforward.

Indeed, while it may seem easy, proper preparation is crucial to answering it correctly. Candidates who overlook the importance of crafting thoughtful responses to the “what are your strengths and weaknesses” question often face challenges during the interview process.

 

 

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Providing Examples of Your Strengths

 

What Are Your Strengths—Alternative Questions

Here is a compilation of different formulations of the “what are your strengths” inquiry:

  • What stands out as your primary strength?
  • Identify your most significant strength.
  • Describe the strengths you would contribute to our company.
  • List three strengths relevant to this role.
  • Highlight your chief professional strengths.
  • Share your most noteworthy accomplishment or the project that brings you the most pride.
  • Outline your top skills in your current role.
  • In your colleagues’ opinion, what is your standout area of expertise?

It’s important to be ready for potential follow-up inquiries such as:

– Can you elaborate on how you’ve applied that strength to attain results in your current role?
– Take note that certain interview questions specifically mention your “current position.” It’s advisable to have a few recent examples of success prepared.

 

2. How to Answer the “What Are Your Strengths” Interview Question

The ideal response starts with identifying the perfect strength.

Common Strengths Examples

  • Enthusiasm
  • Creative thinking
  • Task prioritization
  • Discipline
  • Determination
  • Analytical thinking
  • Communication skills
  • Dedication
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Multitasking skills
  • Time management

What skills do you possess? Are they categorized as hard skills or soft skills? Distinguishing between hard skills and soft skills is crucial. However, delve deeper by asking yourself a more specific question—what skills and qualifications hold the utmost significance?

To uncover this, consider these three actions:

1. Examine several job postings for comparable positions. Do you notice any repetition in skills and qualifications?
2. Explore the LinkedIn profiles of professionals holding similar titles. What skills and qualifications do they highlight?
3. Emphasize adaptive and transferable skills in your assessment.

You can categorize your skills into three distinct groups:

1. Job-related skills
2. Transferable skills
3. Adaptive skills

For the time being, let’s set aside the mandatory job-related skills, which are essential for performing a specific job.

For instance, programmers must be proficient in programming languages like Java and Python, truck drivers need driving skills, cooks must excel in cooking, and dancers should possess dancing abilities. It goes without saying that you wouldn’t be preparing for an interview if you lacked the necessary job-related skills.

Therefore, when responding to the “what are your strengths” question, it’s not advisable to focus on job-related skills.

A fitting response for an administrative assistant:

An illustrative instance from our job listing includes exceptional written communication skills or proficient management skills.

Given that effective writing is a sought-after skill in various professions, if it happens to be one of your strengths, you might consider highlighting it as a response to the “what are your strengths” inquiry.

But what about the adaptive skills?

Adaptive skills are also known as “soft skills” or personal skills. Good examples include persuasion or confidence.

In our Admin Assistant offer we have:

  • In our Admin Assistant offer we have:

  • Analytical Thinking

  • Flexibility and Adaptability (Changing Environments)

  • Ability to Learn Programs and Processes

  • Extremely Good People Skills

  • Confidentiality

  • Willingness to take on Responsibility

  • Devotion to Deadlines

  • Ability to Work Under Pressure

  • Efficient

  • Detail-oriented

    An example from our job listing highlights outstanding written communication skills or adept management skills.

    Considering that effective writing is a valued attribute in various professions, if it happens to be one of your strengths, you might want to emphasize it when responding to the “what are your strengths” question.

    Now, create a comprehensive inventory of your skills. If you’ve previously compiled a skill list for your resume, revisit it and repurpose it.

    Compare your list of skills with the skill requirements outlined in the job offer. Identify the top five skills that stand out as your strongest.

    Once you’ve pinpointed your strongest skills, recall instances where you applied each skill in your professional experience.

Ask yourself:

  • Did your proficiency contribute to the company’s financial gains?
  • Did your skillset lead to cost savings for the company?
  • Have you received commendation from a supervisor for your strengths?
  • Have you ever been recognized with an award, either externally or internally within the company?

For each strength, consider a success story that exemplifies the impact of utilizing those skills. When providing answers to the “What are your strengths” question, it’s crucial to include supporting evidence.

To structure your success stories, use the STAR method:

– **Situation:** Begin by outlining a situation that required problem-solving, skill application, or the generation of a new idea.

– **Task:** Describe the tasks involved in the situation as part of your job responsibilities.

– **Action:** Explain the specific actions you took, and if your approach differed from the required task, clarify why you chose an alternative path.

– **Result:** Conclude by detailing the outcome. If possible, use numbers and specific details to emphasize the impact of your actions.

Now, let’s consider an example related to one of the adaptive skills mentioned in the Administrative Assistant job offer:

What are your strengths?

  • Ability to multitask in a constantly changing environment.

**Situation:** Over a six-month period, I played a crucial role in two significant reorganization projects for ABC company. Initially, the company underwent a merger, followed by relocating our headquarters across town.

**Task:** During the merger, my responsibility was to revamp the filing system, ensuring it was seamlessly integrated before the relocation. Additionally, I took charge of coordinating the move to the new headquarters, involving tasks such as packing up the office and managing the budget.

**Action:** Faced with tight deadlines, I swiftly familiarized myself with the new filing process, dedicating extra hours to learning through online tutorials and thorough manual readings. Attention to detail was a priority. For the move, I selected a moving company with a track record of assisting other companies in our building, leveraging a discount due to our prior collaboration in my previous role.

**Result:** The time invested in mastering the new filing system paid dividends, as I accomplished the task in half the expected time. This success allowed me to concentrate on the office relocation. I acquired expertise in the new filing system, leading to my selection by the supervisor to train others. The choice of the moving company facilitated a smooth transition to the new office.

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3. What Is Your Strength—Best Answer Examples

 

It’s crucial to recognize and be prepared with anecdotes for several personal strengths. Following the “what are your strengths” question, the interviewer might inquire about additional instances of strengths. Another common combination question is, “What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?” Bearing this in consideration, our Administrative Assistant candidate should be ready.

Here’s an illustration of a second strength for the same candidate.

 

 

 

4. What Are Your Weaknesses—Best Answer Examples

When addressing your strengths and weaknesses in a job interview, it’s often more comfortable to emphasize your strong points. However, discussing your shortcomings can also enhance your prospects if you adhere to these guidelines:

1. Be honest—acknowledge that everyone has weaknesses, and it’s human to possess areas for improvement. Avoid pretending to have none or presenting a weakness like perfectionism, which might lead to burnout.

2. Avoid selecting a weakness critical to the job—opt for a genuine weakness that won’t significantly impact your work. For instance, if the role demands strong multitasking skills, refrain from citing multitasking as your weakness. Don’t attempt to justify that multitasking can decrease productivity by up to 40%.

3. Illustrate your plan for improvement—briefly outline the steps you are currently taking or planning to address your weakness.

4. Practice discussing your strengths and weaknesses with a friend to gauge how you come across before the actual job interview.

If you’re gearing up for an interview, fantastic! Explore more opportunities by crafting a resume with our auto-fill resume builder. Enhance your application with a professionally crafted cover letter from our cover letter builder for an irresistible duo.

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