Strengths and Weaknesses – The Interview Question We All Dislike!

This is the question most dreaded in interviews.  People dread being asked about their strengths and weaknesses for a number of reasons.  Interviewees can feel under pressure to give an answer.  They dislike boasting about their strengths and equally don’t want to give a weakness that will cost them the job offer!

This question is usually asked at the end of an interview when all of the questions have been answered.  Interviewers often ask this question off the cuff.  This can catch people out.  Often, interviewees will have a number of strengths and will say they can’t think of a weakness.

Interviewers generally do not like when an interviewee has no weakness to offer them.

Self awareness is key to career success.

Everyone has areas to work on for self improvement.  We can always do more to improve ourselves.  Weaknesses are not failures.  Weaknesses are areas for improvement.  None of us can say we are the finished article and have reached perfection.  It is therefore vital to have prepared a weakness in the event of this question at interview.

What is the optimum number of strengths versus weaknesses?

Three strengths is the optimum and maximum number of strengths to give.  The strengths mentioned should be relevant to the job.

One weakness is enough to give.

The weakness mentioned should not be a requirement of the job.  Feel free to name a weakness that is not job related, such as public speaking or even swimming!

Some interviewees will say their weakness is that he/she takes on too much work or he/she is a perfectionist.  These aren’t weaknesses.  These answers are too rehearsed.  It is not what the interviewer is asking for.  Also, some people will describe a weakness they used to have but that they have now addressed it and it’s no longer a problem.  Again, this is not answering the question being asked.  Have an answer that is straight forward but not detrimental to your job application.

Need some help?

If you are struggling to answer this interview question, get in touch with us and we’ll guide you towards determining your strengths and weaknesses!