One of the questions which you may be asked while you’re at a job interview is, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” This question can be a tough one for more than one reason. Firstly, while listing your strengths, you have to make sure that you do not sound boastful. Secondly, while discussing your weaknesses, obviously you don’t want to draw too much attention to your failings. How do you answer the question in a balanced way which helps the interviewer to see you in a positive light?
One of the best answers you can give to the question about your strengths is to say that you learn quickly. Learning quickly implies that you don’t know everything (so you don’t sound boastful), and it also tells an employer that you’re ready to learn about the new job so that you can do it properly. Another good answer is that you have good communication skills, since this is another all-around-useful skill. Self-motivation is a positive quality that also tells employers you can do things without being constantly pestered to do them. It’s also good to respond that you have a balance of natural leadership abilities with the ability to follow instructions and function as a team player.
Look for weaknesses that convey hidden strengths. One great example is saying that you are someone who will go out of your own way to get projects done, even to the point of doing other peoples’ work. This is a weakness in the sense that you can end up stepping on toes and annoying others, but it points toward a strength in that it shows you are self motivated and dedicated to the success of a project, even if it means taking on responsibilities you didn’t expect.
Another weakness you could point toward is simply a gap in your knowledge or skill set. Everyone has them, and no candidate is going to know everything about the new job or workplace. Indeed, even if you have experience in the field, your new company will probably want to retrain you in certain things so that you are doing them in a unique way. Pointing toward missing skills isn’t a bad idea since you have ever reason to be missing some; again, draw attention to the fact that you love to learn and excel at doing it quickly and you turn it into a positive. Being able to turn a negative into a positive is actually another good quality all in itself, one which a hiring manager will admire. It shows you can think positively under pressure.
The strengths and weaknesses question during an interview can pose some difficulty, but there are always creative ways to answer interview questions. Make sure that your strengths are presented in a non-boastful way, and ensure that when you talk about your weaknesses you try to turn them into positives by pointing toward inner strengths. Strengths and weaknesses are often two sides of the same coin, and how you are perceived will depend on how you present both sides of yourself.