Career, Lifestyle

What Are Your Strengths & Weaknesses?

It’s the interview question so many of us often dread. We just don’t know how to answer it. It often feels like a trap. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

I shudder at the mere writing of the sentence. But like it or not, it is a question we will get asked nine times out of ten on job interviews, regardless of the role, seniority level or industry. I never really knew what to say when someone asked me this but a few years ago I sat down as a recent university graduate and made myself a list of five of each. Companies don’t tend to ask for this many, but it is always great to have some spares to alternate with, depending on what job you are going for.

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Let’s start off easily with some of our strengths. These should be things that will make you a great addition to the team and not things like ‘hardworking’ or ‘punctual’ which would be expected of all colleagues, regardless of the role.

  • Creativity
  • Flexibility
  • Versatility
  • Focused / determined / passionate
  • Use of initiative
  • Motivated
  • Team player / independent worker
  • Thoughtful / considerate
  • Open minded
  • Writing skills / telephone manner (can also be a weakness depending on the job)

Now on to the dreaded weaknesses. It always feels like a trick question and that the employer is trapping you by asking you to tell them what you are bad at. Every job tip site and recruiter will always tell you to show your weaknesses as strengths, but shy of saying how much of a perfectionist you are and how you are ‘working on it’, what else can we say to this question?

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It is good to take a look at yourself and pick things that are genuine weaknesses and then tailor them to professional weaknesses and think about how you are working on it. For me, I never liked speaking to people on the phone, screening any number on my mobile that did not display caller ID. When I was interviewing for my previous role, which would end up being primarily based on phones, I told them that this is something that I am keen to build my confidence on. I feel a lot more confident now on the phone, although I do still screen calls on my mobile!

  • Self criticism
  • Insecure
  • Too detail orientated (a smart way of saying that perfectionist thing without causing mass internal eye roll)
  • Public speaking
  • Presentation skills
  • Writing skills
  • Delegation
  • Lack of confidence on the telephone
  • Impatient
  • Indecisive

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My top tip for presenting your weakness would not be to present it as a strength in disguise. Rather, I would pick a weakness which I am working on. For example, instead of saying you are a perfectionist and need to complete everything to a high standard, which any employer would expect your work to be anyway, you could say that in the past you have struggled with prioritisation or organisation. You could then go on to say how you have started to remedy those issues, perhaps by writing things down in a notebook for that visual aid of ‘what is next?’

Knowing your own weaknesses can actually make you a stronger candidate in the eyes of the employer as you are confident in your abilities and unashamed to say what you need to work on. Nobody is perfect, so it is best not to pretend.

I pride myself in my creativity and open mindedness. I feel like I need to work on my public speaking skills as addressing a large group can still sometimes make me feel about the size of a mouse. I also struggle with delegation sometimes, preferring to just do everything myself.

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses and how do you like to present them in an interview? Let me know in the comments below.

26 thoughts on “What Are Your Strengths & Weaknesses?”

  1. This was a great read, and definitely something I needed right now as I am applying for new jobs ๐Ÿ˜Š I hate this question as well but I think itโ€™s good to prepare and think about. I will definitely be taking some advice from this post to any interviews I have so thank you ๐Ÿ˜Š xx

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  2. This is a really useful post! The examples are really helpful ๐Ÿ™‚ job interviews are so hard these days and nearly impossible to impress anyone so hopefully this will help some people ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. This is a really good post, I massively dislike interviews because I get so nervous. My determination to succeed is my strength and my weakness is that I try to take on too much at times.

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  4. Thank you for the tips! My weakness is honestly the interview process. I literally can’t get past that. My current job, they gave it to someone else. But 2 weeks later that person didn’t work out and they hired me. And they said after seeing me work, they should have went with me first. Just my interview skills werent the best.

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    1. It’s great that they realised this though once you started ๐Ÿ™‚ they admitted the mistake. I think we get so worked up over interviews and sometimes it’s just completely unfair. The job I start tomorrow l was a great interview process and was one of the coolest, most laid back and fun companies I had seen. Hopefully once I start they don’t completely change on me! Thank you so much for reading my post, I’m happy you found my tips useful for the future! ๐Ÿ˜˜

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    1. That’s a great idea for sure, it’s always good to end on a high! The question is the worst but since I got these tips sorted out, my worst question is now “so tell me about yourself” I just never know what to say ๐Ÿ˜’

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  5. These are great tips! It can be so hard figuring out your strengths and weakness. I always worry about wording them in an interview as if Iโ€™m honest it is the interview process itself thatโ€™s my biggest weakness! They really do think youโ€™re humble bragging when you say perfectionist even when itโ€™s true and sometimes a problem, so I stick to saying public speaking and it hasnโ€™t steered me wrong yet. Great post ๐Ÿ˜Š

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    1. Thank you for reading my post and your comment โ™ฅ๏ธ That’s a really good one to say to be fair, a lot of people, even manager can struggle with that so it’s a relatable one. I think the perfectionist one is so cheesy even though it’s often true! Since I got this question sorted, my worst question is now “tell me about yourself”. I’m always like *urgh what do I let them know…* ๐Ÿ˜‚

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      1. No problem ๐Ÿ˜ it really is too cheesy I can’t bring myself to say it! I also hate that question it’s awful. At the end they’re always like but what about *you*?? and I just think well I’ve done the formal work bit, you will find out about my personality when you hire me, it can be a nice surprise ๐Ÿ˜‚

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    1. Thank you so much for reading. It’s a horrible question but so common – it’s actually terrible! It’s always a good idea to want to improve at things so that’s generally a good area to go for! X

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  6. As recently becoming unemployed….And at an age where no one is interested in you….I would say….my strength is my life experience…..go with me …give me a chance and u just might be surprised how beneficial I can be to your company ๐Ÿ™ƒ๐Ÿ™ƒ๐Ÿ™ƒ๐Ÿ™ƒ

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    1. That’s a great strength to have. You should never let age be a deterrent, it’s something about you, like your height or skin colour and cannot be changed. It’s part of you and shouldn’t be a barrier to finding a new opportunity ๐Ÿ˜˜

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  7. Too detail orientated! That’s a great line, suggesting that you tend to faff on. What an admittance to inspire a team of interviewers to give you the job. I faff on but its worth it cos the result is great! Everyone one should use it as one of their weaknesses. Its excellent.

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  8. My biggest weakness was โ€˜delegating tasksโ€™ not so much because I was shy but I was more of controlling and wanted to get them done right and โ€œmy wayโ€. But Iโ€™ve definitely overcome this by started trusting my staff and stopped baby sitting them.

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    1. That is a really popular one to be fair – it’s the thought of doing it ourselves so we know it is done correctly! It’s good to sometimes just care a bit less and trust that the others will do their jobs! x

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  9. Great post. I’ve always struggled with this question in interviews – my colleagues have described me as efficient, which I was always say as a strength, until one called me “too” efficient. So it’s always my weakness. I often try to so everything and take on to much!

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    1. That is a good one to say! It is so interesting reading through the comments on this piece to see what sort of thing different people say in interviews. It of course depends on the job and the industry as well as to what would be considered a strength and what would be a weakness.

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