How to Answer What Your Biggest Strengths and Weaknesses Are

If you’re scheduled for a job interview, it’s a good idea to think through potential answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

And there are two frequently asked questions: 1) what’s your biggest strength and 2) what’s your biggest weakness. They may be phrased slightly differently (“what are you most good at?” or “what area do you need to improve in?”), but they both make a top 10 list of most commonly asked questions.

How should you answer them? Read on.

For strengths, match the job description.

Before the interview, work up some sample answers to this question. Base the areas on the job description. That is, if the job description indicated that teamwork and organization were some of the soft skills wanted, brainstorm some strengths in teamwork and organization.

The job description is the employer’s statement of what they want to see in an employee. Your job for the interview is to point out how much you have what they want to see.

For strengths, give specific examples.

The more specific you can be in an interview, the more convincing you’ll be. Does your employer highly value teamwork? Talk about the time you assisted the coach on your volleyball team to pep people up after a losing streak — and helped plan a reward dinner after the turnaround. Those emphasize your ability to help lead a team.

If you’ve ever received awards or commendations, talk about those as well.

For weaknesses…be careful.

If you’re asked to name a weakness, tread with caution. It can be dangerous to name an actual weakness. We all have them, and yes, they did ask you…but being too candid can cost you the job.

Say you are very open with them that you’ve had a problem being late to work, for example. The company may suddenly see you as a potential liability. They can withdraw any offer they may have been thinking of making.

For weaknesses, highlight a strength.

One solution is to turn the answer around and answer in such a way that you’re highlighting a strength. There are 2 methods of doing this.

The first is to name a quality that’s actually a strength, and say, for example, that you’ve been told to do less of it. Say something like “I’ve been told I work too hard. But I hate to leave a job undone.” You’re a hard worker, see.

The second is to name a weakness and make it clear it’s in the past.

If you had a lateness problem at one point, say something like “on my first job, I was sometimes late to work. Once I moved up to another position, I realized how important it was to be at work on time every morning. Since then, I’ve never been late. In fact, I earned an award for on-time performance in July last year!”

Let a Staffing Agency Help

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