EXPLAINING YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES

During an interview you will most likely be asked about your personal strengths and weaknesses. When discussing a weakness, you don't want to come off as someone trying to outsmart the interviewer. For example, refrain from responses such as, "I work too hard" or, "I'm a perfectionist". Another common mistake is to say, "I don't have any weaknesses" or, "I don't know". Instead, be honest and unafraid. The interviewer wants to see that you are self-aware and trying to improve upon your weakness. When explaining your weakness, try to avoid any comments that may prevent you from being hired. For example, if you are applying for a banking position you don't want to say that your weakness is working with numbers and interacting with customers.

When discussing your strengths, the interviewer is interested in candidates who explain strengths needed to perform the job they are applying for. It would be beneficial to tailor your response towards the job description provided for you. For example, examine the key skills and attributes they are using in the description or look at previous skills you've had and how these could transfer to this position. When listing your strengths, you should always back up what you say with an example. For instance, don't just say you have great customer service skills; prove you do with a concrete example from your past experiences.

Overall, you want to try to stay around the 60-90 second mark when responding to each strength and weakness question. Remember to answer honestly and avoid cunning statements that try to impress the interviewer.

Below are some helpful links and videos for explaining your strengths and weaknesses:

Examples of weaknesses: Examples of strengths: Videos:

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Last Updated: 3/24/14