Discussing Your Key Strengths and Weakness In Interviews
Your Key Strengths are primary attributes that enable you to sell yourself to the hiring manager who is critically assessing if you are the right person.
However, some unimaginative interviewers still ask the question “What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?”. Mostly however, you will find the question being put in different terms although you will know it is this same strengths and weaknesses question. What you may hear is “explain the top 3 skills you possess” or “what would your colleagues say you are good at?”
These questions are all positive and easy to respond to as you can talk about your good side. The weaknesses question on the other hand is not as easy to face and this is the one that bothers so many people. Lets deal with your key strengths first.
Your Key Strengths
On the ‘strengths’ question it is best to think ‘Key Strengths’ and this is a self-describing statement that you should prepare in advance of any job interview. Knowing what the new job role is about allows you to customize your key strengths statement to the major requirements of the job and establish your suitability.
An example of your ‘Key Strengths Statement’:
“I have very good communication skills; I work well either leading or being part of a team and I am self-motivated and capable of working on several tasks at once.
As a leader of small teams I involve people in the decisions so that they feel involved and ensure they have the opportunity to contribute to tasks facing the team. I manage the information, plan and organize and make the decisions as required.
With my strong communication skills, I have been able to motivate the staff to higher standards of performance meaning we have also helped our profits figures through increased sales and tighter cost-control.
Alongside this I have encouraged innovation and my team has produced several very good ideas for new products, services and markets. As an example the new widget has taken off in Eastern Europe and is contributing 7% of profits in less than 18 months.
Most importantly I actively seek to develop members of my team for their own careers sake but also for the future of the business itself. This means I also look for personal development opportunities to ensure my skills are kept up to date.”
In response to the ‘weaknesses’ question don’t ever offer a catalogue of weaknesses or you may as well leave. Equally don’t say you’ve got no weaknesses – we all have some and that just sets you up for a fall.
Talk about something that anybody could relate to such as administration and say “I used to be pretty weak at mundane administration tasks but I recognized that it gave me other problems so I’ve been working hard to improve on it since.” In other words place your weakness in the past, show you recognized it and are working to rectify it.
Other weaknesses that are recognizable include being over-enthusiastic and trying to do too much. These can be powerful when you state something like:
“I got so wrapped in the job that I was trying to do everything, but when I discovered I could delegate effectively and focus on higher tasks the net result was greater overall productivity”.
When you have prepared well for your ‘Key Strengths and Weaknesses’ interview questions you really will think of it as a gift when they eventually ask you “What are your key strengths and weaknesses”.