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How to answer "What are your key strengths and weakness"

Category :Interview Tips

“What are your strengths and weaknesses?” is a classic question that is asked in almost every interview process. However, most of the candidates do not know how to answer it. One should realize that this question is an opportunity to sell yourself and show the recruiter that you are fit for the required role.

So why do recruiters want to know your strengths and weaknesses? Well, the recruiters want to know your strengths mainly for the following reasons –

  • They want to be sure that your strengths align with the skill set required for the job.

  • They want to check how self-aware you are and how confidently you can speak about yourself.

  • They are looking for something that will make you stand out from the competition.

  • They want to analyze yours on the spot thinking.

Similarly, recruiters want to know your weaknesses for the following reasons –

  • They want to understand your character and personality.

  • They want to see how well you know yourself and how confidently you can portray your negatives.

  • They want to see that you are willing to address your weaknesses and work on them.

  • They’re testing your ability to respond to such questions under the pressure of the interview process.

Now that you know why recruiters ask this question, let us understand how you should provide an answer to it.

  • When talking about your strengths, align them with the roles and responsibilities of the job.

  • Identify five key strengths and match them to the skills that are required to carry out the job.

  • You will have to do some research before your interview. For example – read the job description thoroughly and identify the key requirements of the job. Once you know the skills required for the job you’ll easily be able to align your strengths with it.

  • Focus on the quality of the strengths that you list out and not on the quantity.

  • Strike a balance between appearing over-confident and under-selling yourself.

  • Have an example ready for each of your strengths. For example – If you mention that you have excellent communication skills then back it up by showcasing how it helped you in interacting with the clients in your previous jobs.

  • Refer to your knowledge based skills, professional strengths or personality traits while answering this question.

When you talk about your weaknesses, avoid the following things –

  • Listing a weakness that is actually a strength. For example – telling the recruiter that you are a perfectionist or you are a very hard-worker.

  • Listing a weakness that reflects negatively on your personality. For example – poor punctuality, lack of self-motivation or tendency to procrastinate work.

  • Describing a weakness that is totally irrelevant to the job description. For example – unhealthy eating or doing a little exercise.

  • Answers like “I do not have any weakness” are a complete no. They reflect over-confidence, disinterest and arrogance.

  • Try to give an example of a skill that isn’t directly related to your role. For example – if you’re applying for the role of an analyst, you can refer to your lack of client-facing experience while highlighting your preference for working with data and figures.

  • Dodge the question smartly. For example – you can provide an answer like – “Well, I am sure that there are weaknesses in my skill-set but I cannot think of any that are relevant to this particular role.”

  • Showcase the ability to deal with a weakness. For example – “At the start of my career I faced a bit of a time management issue. But since then I have attended many time-management seminars and this is no longer an issue.

If you follow the above-listed tips while answering the classic question of strengths and weaknesses, there is no way that you would not be able to deliver a flawless answer.

Apply for a job today through PeelJobs and once you get the call for the interview, read the job description thoroughly and start preparing your answer in your own unique manner.

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