Wednesday, 19.12.2018

How to answer questions about strengths and weaknesses?

What are your strenghts and weaknesses?

        At almost every job interview, this infamous question is finally asked - what are your strengths and weaknesses? It is difficult to answer it not only because it belongs to the group of uncomfortable questions. It turns out that actually very few people know how to give a good answer to it. Fortunately, we know the way and we come below to your aid.

       Let's start with why this question should be asked at all? The entire interview is aimed at checking the candidate in terms of whether he/she will fit the company itself, whether he/she meets the requirements of the position they apply for, and whether the work will satisfy them enough to stay in the company for as long as possible. The question about strenghts and weaknesses is a question about the ability to undergo self-reflection and draw conclusions from it. Strengths will show whether the recruitee responds to the needs of the offer and whether he/she is confident enough to present their skills well. The weaknesses will give information about how the candidate copes in inconvenient situations, whether he/she is honest and whether self-improvement is important for them.

Get ready

        How to prepare for such a question. It is not a good idea to go to a recruitment interview with the assumption that we will somehow deal with it and hope that appropriate answers will just come up. Take a moment to look at yourself and think about your positive and negative qualities. Take a piece of paper and a pen, or open your computer and do not rush to create a list of all the pluses and minuses that just come to your head. If you have difficulty in preparing it, ask your relatives or friends for feedback, or submit yourself to a test that will show your talents and weaknesses.

        Whenever it is possible, always start by talking about your positives. This way you will make a good impression and strengthen your image. Before the meeting, look at the list you created and the job offer you will be trying to do. Read its content again in terms of what character traits and skills your potential employer is looking for. Then check whether you find these features on your list or not. Your dream position will require you to build and maintain long-term relationships with clients? Can you build lasting business relationships? Perfect - you already have the first strong point which is worth mentioning during the conversation. Find three to five such traits and rehearse presenting them a few times. It is a good idea to support each of your strengths with one example. In this way, the recruiter will have the feeling that your answer does not consist of a set of memorized empty words. It will make it sound more honest. Let's go back to the example of building customer relationships. Describe what it is and how it manifests itself. Tell the recruiter briefly that you are in constant contact with contractors - you inform them about new promotions, you send thanks for cooperation after successful actions, you send Christmas wishes; as a result, the vast majority of customers are always happy to come back and do business with you. By giving an example, you become both more credible and professional.

What about defects?

       The weaknesses should be addressed in a slightly different way. First of all, remember - everyone has faults - you, us, and even your past and future employers. Therefore, never answer the question by saying that you do not have any. You will come across as someone too confident, lacking humbleness or simply unprepared for the interview. Before an interview, look at the list of your pluses and minuses and the job offer and think about what kind of weaknesses in this position may be negligible. If your task would be to build relationships with clients, and your disadvantage is not being able to work with other people - you will definitely not get this job. It is also worth choosing weaknesses that you can work on, and hence, which will serve to show your next advantages. If you mention the tendency to be late, talk about the steps you have taken to get rid of this habit. In this way you will answer the question and indicate that you recognize the problem and consistently act to solve it. It is also important not to dwell too much on your weaknesses. In contrast to the advantages discussed above, it is not worth going into details here. This is not a topic that we want to devote too much attention to. Therefore, it is best just to mention shortcomings themselves briefly.

Don't let yourself be surprised 

        To sum up - to improve your chances of getting a job you should prepare for the interview in advance. Take a moment to write down your strengths and weaknesses, and find out what kind of employee the company you are applying to is looking for. Starting with the advantages, talk about them based on real-life examples. Then just mention the disadvantages and show how you are planning to solve problems that arise from them. If you follow these few simple steps, you will never be surprised when the question about your strengths and weaknesses is asked during a recruitment interview.