Answers for Strength and Weakness Interview Questions

Sally Painter
Woman being interviewed
expert checked

Answers for strength and weakness interview questions can assist you or harm you in landing a job.

Your Responses are Vital for Success

Many times candidates neglect to monitor their responses to a recruiter's questions. A good recruiter knows how to disarm your natural defenses and make you feel very comfortable. This isn't done to trick you, but to put you at ease so the interview goes well for both of you. After all, the recruiter wants to fill the job and you want to be the one being offered the job.

Don't get so comfortable that you forget to act professional and say something that places you in a bad light, especially when you come to this part of the interview.

Answers for Strength and Weakness Interview Questions

Your answers for strength and weakness interview questions give a recruiter a snapshot of you at your best and at your worst. The key to making this snapshot look good, while still being a fair assessment of your abilities, is not to reveal your absolute weakest and most negative points.

Job Descriptions Can Help Form Answers

You should have a good idea of the job description before going into your interview. If not, ask the recruiter for one prior to your appointment. Reviewing details about the job is one of the best tools for interview preparation. Form your answers to match the job requirements. What is the most demanding aspect of the job? That should hopefully be your biggest strength.

What Is Your Best Strength?

A recruiter is going to take you at your word if you say your best strength is managing people. This is a great skill to have if you're applying for a managerial or team leader position, but if you're applying for an administrative assistant position, it could be a potential red flag. In this case, the recruiter might have concerns that you won't take instructions from someone else. A better strength for an administrative assistant is the ability to multi-task effectively. This demonstrates to the recruiter that you can work in a fast-paced, time-sensitive position and do the work others require of you. Again, frame your answer to fulfill what you perceive to be the biggest challenge in the job.

What Is Your Weakness?

This is probably the most difficult questions to deal with during a job interview. The wrong response can alert the recruiter instantly that you aren't the right candidate for the job.

Don't Let Your Guard Down

The weakness question is more important than the strength question because it requires you to point out something negative about yourself. By the time the recruiter asks this question, you're feeling more comfortable. Don't let your guard down. Remember, the recruiter's job is to decide whether or not you go on to the next interview level.

Don't Give Reasons Not to Hire You

You want to give honest answers, especially to a question about your weakness, but you don't want to give the recruiter a reason not to hire you. Frame your response carefully.

Too Conscientious and a Perfectionist

These are two of the most common responses people give when asked what their weakness is. You won't win any points with this answer. Even if it's true, the recruiter may interpret the too conscientious response that you're never happy, never satisfied with your job, supervisor, or the company.

Potential conflict issues and possible insubordination are sometimes the results of a person being a perfectionist. Many perfectionists work too slowly because they're unable to release their work. This behavior can bog down an entire department.

Selecting Your Weakness

The best response is to take a lesser weakness and use it as an example. Don't paint yourself in a bad light, just a human one.

Unable to Say No To Co-Workers

Perhaps your weakness is being too eager to assist others. Explain how you felt obligated to the team to take on tasks that weren't yours and how it put you behind in your own work. Perhaps you ended up taking work home with you. Qualify your answer by showing you took the initiative and learned to distinguish between what duties were yours and what duties belonged to other team members. Perhaps you also learned better time management skills and how to prioritize your work.

Just make sure you don't blame anyone else. Explain the steps you took to remedy your situation. It'll go a long way to state how you would handle a similar situation should it come up in your new job.

Recognizing Your Weaknesses

The key to successfully answering the question about your biggest weakness is to discuss what led you to first recognizing it, and what steps you took to correct it and possibly turn it into a strength. If your supervisor was the one who pointed out this weakness and you sought her guidance, explain how this helped you.

Underlying Messages You Send

This type of response demonstrates that you are truly conscientious, without having to say you are. It further reveals that you're a team player and that you want to improve yourself and your job performance. It also lets the recruiter know that you can take constructive criticism and aren't afraid to seek advice and help from your supervisor.

Creating Your Employment Snapshot

Your snapshot has now been created giving the recruiter a clear idea of the type of worker you are and what an employer can expect of you in your job performance. This approach in an ideal way to answer what could potentially be a pivotal moment in your interview process. Just be sure you're honest in the example you use.

Learn How to Answer Interview Questions

Some recruiters also ask about strengths and weaknesses concerning a specific aspect of the job, especially if it's a high stress position. Form your responses prior to the interview so you're prepared and can put yourself in the best possible light. Knowing how to answer an interview question is an art form and if you can master this aspect of the interview process, you can improve your chances of landing the job.

Answers for Strength and Weakness Interview Questions