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How to Answer “What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?” in a Job Interview

Answering the “Strengths and Weaknesses” question well in an interview can make or break your chances. We’ll explore what hiring managers are looking for and how to structure your answer effectively.

What is the hiring manager looking for?

During a job interview, the hiring manager asks, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” They aim to assess your self-awareness, honesty, and ability to reflect on your professional growth. Your response should demonstrate your strengths while acknowledging areas you’re actively working to improve.

How to structure your answer

To answer the question effectively, consider the STAR method:
– Situation: Describe a specific situation or project where you demonstrated your strength.
– Task: Explain the task you were responsible for and the specific actions you took.
– Action: Detail the specific actions you took to address the weakness and the progress you’ve made.
– Result: Share the positive outcomes or improvements resulting from your actions.

Tips to answer this interview question

– Be honest and authentic. Avoid sugarcoating your weaknesses or exaggerating your strengths.
– Choose strengths relevant to the job you’re interviewing for. Research the company and role to identify the skills and qualities they value.
– Focus on weaknesses that you’re actively working to improve. Demonstrate your commitment to personal and professional development.
– Provide concrete examples and quantifiable results to support your answer.
– Avoid common clich├ęs and generic responses. Tailor your answer to the specific job and company.

Things to avoid:
– Don’t dwell on your weaknesses. Acknowledge them briefly and shift the focus to how you’re addressing them.
– Don’t be vague or provide superficial answers. Give specific examples and details to demonstrate your strengths and weaknesses.
– Don’t be negative or self-deprecating. Keep your answer positive and focused on your growth and development.
– Don’t ramble or provide irrelevant information. Keep your answer concise and relevant to the job you’re interviewing for.

Example interview answers to this question

Sample Answers:

1. Question: What are your strengths?
Answer: “One of my strengths is my exceptional communication and interpersonal skills. In my previous role as a project manager, I consistently built strong relationships with clients and team members, effectively managing stakeholder expectations and resolving conflicts. I’m also a skilled presenter, able to clearly articulate complex concepts to diverse audiences. I’m confident that these strengths will enable me to collaborate effectively and contribute to the success of your team.”
Explanation: This answer highlights a strength relevant to the job (communication and interpersonal skills) and provides a specific example of how it was applied in a previous role. It also demonstrates the candidate’s self-awareness and ability to articulate their skills effectively.

2. Question: What are your weaknesses?
Answer: “One area I’m actively working to improve is my ability to delegate tasks. In the past, I’ve been inclined to take on too much responsibility, leading to occasional burnout. However, I’ve recognized this tendency and have developed strategies to overcome it. I’ve started breaking down projects into smaller tasks and delegating them to team members based on their strengths. This approach has improved my time management and allowed me to focus on higher-priority tasks. I’m committed to continuing to develop my delegation skills to become a more effective leader.”
Explanation: This answer acknowledges a weakness while demonstrating the candidate’s self-awareness, willingness to improve, and proactive approach to personal development. It also provides specific examples of steps taken to address the weakness and highlights the candidate’s commitment to growth.

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