38 answers

Strengths and Weakness interview Question Help!!!!!!!!

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I do not know how to Answer my strengths and weakness?

I guess I really don't know it. Since it's the reason why I don't get a callback.

How can I find my strengths and weakness? where do I start?

#interviews #career #career-counseling #job #job-application

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38 answers

Jane’s Answer

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Nancy, it is obvious, one of your strengths is persistence. You don't give up. You have asked 13 questions on this website. Persistence is a good place to start.

You do know one of your weeknesses. You mentioned it in another question about seeking scholarships when you said that the essay part of the application is what you got hung up on. Is English your first language?

Remember the advise in the other answers to this question. It's the voice of experience. Keep trying! Don't give up and soon you will have valuable experience under your belt as well.
Wow. I didn't notice it. Thank you. English is my second language. Nancy O. Translate
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John’s Answer

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Hi, Nancy

One of the most popular interview questions is, "What is your greatest weakness?"
Which is often preceded or followed by, "What is your greatest strength?"

Many interviewers ask these though questions not to see if you know the answer, but to see how you react under pressure.

The interviewer is looking for honesty, self-awareness, and the ability to learn from mistakes. So, don’t give a cliched answer like, “I’m a perfectionist!” Hiring managers hear that one a lot, and they’ll assume that you’re either not aware of your actual failings or that you’re not willing to share them. When answering questions about your strengths and weaknesses, always keep the job description in mind. Remember that these questions are essentially the same from different angles: the employer wants to know that you have the skill set, experience, and attitude necessary to get the job done. These kinds of questions are also an opportunity to demonstrate self-awareness. The best employees are the ones who tackle their deficiencies head on and keep learning throughout their career.

Remember:
Be honest and sincere in your response. Don’t pretend to be perfect or claim to have skills you don’t possess.

If the “What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?" question still is freaking you out – Try saying something like:

√ That’s an interesting question, could I take some time to think it over and get back to you; or
√ That’s a great question, but I would like to consider it further and get back to you with a full answer.

Even weaknesses can be strengths if presented appropriately Nancy, Happy Hunting.
Thank You So Much. Nancy O. Translate
Practice interviewing with a friend before your interview. you'll find that the actual interview will go smoother Nancy. John Frick Translate
Thank You. I appreciate it. Nancy O. Translate
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Michelle’s Answer

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Hi Nancy,

For interviews when you get asked this question, a great way to get your answer started is by using the question in your statement. For example; if someone asks, "What is one of your strengths?" You can respond with, "One of my strengths is...." How you know your strengths are what are you really good at? What do people tell/compliment you on over and over again?

This can also be applied to when they ask you about your weaknesses, however you can frame them as "areas of opportunity." We all have something we can work on, like for me communication is one my strengths, but it can also be an area to work on because sometimes I over communicate and can confuse or overwhelm people w/ all the details I give. So think about any feedback you've been given to improve on, or anything you're actively working on in personal or work life.

Just make sure to follow up your weakness/areas of opportunity w/ how you are actively trying to improve on it. It will show employers that you are aware but taking that initiative :)

Good luck!
Thank You So Much. Nancy O. Translate
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cherri’s Answer

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Hi Nancy,
You may have strengths that you aren't even thinking about. I recommend you look online for a free "Personal Strengths Inventory" or "Strengths Test" site. Take your time and really think about the questions. You may be surprised by the results. Then, when interviewing you have to match your strengths to job qualifications. As for weaknesses, a strengths test will also reveal any areas of opportunity. Don't think of any quality as a "weakness". Think of it as you having the information on an area where you have the opportunity to make improvements. You can also match those to the specific job qualifications. But in an interview, don't ever use the word 'weakness'. Present the opportunity along with any thing you are doing to improve in that area.
Thank you so much. I will take your advice. Nancy O. Translate
If you are in a situation where you are about to interview, contact me! We can talk about strengths and "areas of opportunity" in relation to a specific position and we can rehearse the answers. cherri johns Translate
OKay, Thank you. Nancy O. Translate
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Phoebe’s Answer

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Nancy, brilliant question! When told to respond about your weakness and strengths in an interview question, the potential employer is specifically nailing it to the JD.

A tip! When it comes to a weakness, never mention a weakness that is part of the requirement in the role description. For instance, the JD states that you will need to network with stakeholders and then you say your weakness is, you never connect well with people, you are done!

Here, mention weaknesses that least affect or do not at all affect your role. For example, neutral ones like ..I am a perfectionist, I tend to please everyone. They carry a bit of strength in themselves, but remember show how you are working towards improving it.

In your strength again, wrap it around the job description. If you job requires you to handle data, say for example, you are good in data analysis. Support this with examples of how you have used that strength in other roles.

If you are looking for a sales job , say how networking as a strength helped you exceed several targets in this XY company.

Remember this question is for the potential employer to see whether you are the best fit!
Thank You So Much. Nancy O. Translate
I couldn't agree more! The framing of the response is very important and strengths and weakness questions are really about meeting the job description and self-awareness. Maria Morck Translate
I totally agree Nancy! Phoebe Ngugi Translate
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David’s Answer

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As an interviewer, normally this question is a trick question to the interviewee because we want to know what kind of answer you will come up with and identify your strength and weakness. The best way to answer this question is to identify what you need improvement for and how you will doing it is the correct way to answer this question. Example, you can say you are good work in group or team, you are a leader and you lead and take responsible for doing or getting the work done in time and etc. but on top of it you can also identify how you can improve your team and what can be share. This question is normally to identify if you are a leader to lead and teach or a boss who is demanding and control. So best way to answer this is to identify your personality and work ethnic not what you are good and not good at.
thank you so much. I will take your advice. Nancy O. Translate
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Nadia’s Answer

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I guess it's the oldest interview question :)

Naming your strengths shouldn't be difficult, just based them on the job description. Additionally, I always recommend to conduct a research on the company and interviewers. For example, the company is very focused on charity, I would emphasize my strengths related to this field, such as empathy.
When it comes to weaknesses, I usually say that I am focused on learning lessons and seeing the best in others, so I don't see myself as a person (and my colleagues or managers) that have "weaknesses", rather "areas of improvement" etc. and for me an example of such area is learning new languages, as I think communication is very important in business. This kind of answer is usually not impacting my application as speaking in multiple languages is not required, but still doesn't leave the question unanswered.

The most important thing: don't lie and believe in yourself!
Thank You So Much. Nancy O. Translate
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Amy’s Answer

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#1 - I try to never thing about my "weaknesses", I consider these areas my "challenges". As a matter of fact, you can truly use what is considered as a real strength for a challenge...for example: "One of my challenges is the level of excellence I expect out of myself. I have to watch myself to sometimes make sure I don't get as technical/detailed in situations that do not call for that type of interaction." Something that is really a great work ethic can still be used in a way that it could be considered a self-development goal.

#2 - I agree with others and that is to consider many options as what to use as strengths. Be honest and think outside the box, for example, your ability to mentor other students. We many times just take for granted things like this and they are definitely considered "strengths" in a business environment!!

Amy recommends the following next steps:

  • Make a list of ideas ahead of time - be prepared and make sure to be honest in your delivery
Thank You. Nancy O. Translate
Thank You So Much. Nancy O. Translate
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MaryJane’s Answer

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Great question. Strengths can be things like assertiveness, collaborative, thrives working with a team or individual projects. Weaknesses can be things like: I am tend to be focused and need to remember to look up and refocus on the bigger picture. Good luck
Thank You So Much. Nancy O. Translate
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John’s Answer

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You can ask your family and friends. Write down all of their replies, then pick the answers you believe are most accurate.
Thank You So Much. Nancy O. Translate
You are very welcome, Nancy. John Lowe Translate
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Miki’s Answer

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Hi Nancy!

The key is to show that you are self-aware, and motivated to turn challenges into opportunities.
Come up with "weaknesses" that show you are a good person and valuable employee. It's best to use "weaknesses" that could be interpreted as strengths.
For example, these could include:
"Perfectionist-obsessed with getting the details right"
"Results-driven"
"Overly safety-focused"

Don't say your weaknesses include laziness, stealing, lack of caring or anything else that would raise a red flag.

Thank You So much. Nancy O. Translate
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Kelsey’s Answer

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The way I have always answered this question is... My biggest strength is I am able to communicate with others well as I am a people person and I am able to learn new things quickly and my biggest weakness is I tend to take on a lot of tasks all at once which can be challenging at times.
Thank you so much. Nancy O. Translate
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Tanya’s Answer

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Be honest! We are all great at naming our weakness, sometimes we name more weaknesses than strengths, but this question is mostly designed to see how honest you are about yourself, don't turn weaknesses into strengths like saying " I'm super obsessive about order", that's OCD!
Relax and be yourself, answer at a professional level but be casual about it, if the interviewer allows it you can even add a little story about that time when your weakness was funny and create some empathy.
Don't overthink it but do have an answer ready and practice with a friend.

Tanya recommends the following next steps:

  • Make a list of weakness and strenghts
  • Ask yourself if you're over punishing yourself with weaknesses or being dishonest about strenghts
  • Go over it once more
  • share it with a friend and ask for their opinion
Thank You So Much. Nancy O. Translate
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Gina’s Answer

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A strength should-- motivations, organizational skills, outgoing, quick on your feet. However, weaknesses can be harder... However, I always like to turn my "weakness" into a positive. For instance, I'm extremely OCD-- to a fault. I always feel like I need to have control of a situation and everything needs to be organized. It is technically a weakness because it becomes overwhelming, but employers tend to see that as a strength. That I'm on top of my game and like to get things done.
Thank You So Much. Nancy O. Translate
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Lewis’s Answer

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Consider the easy approach to this type of question...what do you like doing and what don't you like doing? This can be in a job, school or social setting.

Say for instance, you're on a Zoom call with friends. Do you keep the conversation going when people go silent or are you waiting for someone to keep the conversation rolling? If you keep the conversation going, then communication skills and reading the room are strengths of yours. If you're the opposite, then a weakness could be your interpersonal communication.

Use things you are successful and unsuccessful in your everyday life to determine your Strengths & Weaknesses. Do you get praise from your parents, managers or teachers for any type of task or behavior? Are you constantly having to correct something, which could be a weakness? The key is to not overthink it and, if anything, simplify the process to identify these things.

Even posing the question of "how do you identify strengths & weaknesses?" indicates that you're aware of a misunderstanding and are open to learn for growth, which is a strength to me that demonstrates humility & self-awareness.
Thank You So Much. Nancy O. Translate
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Jorge’s Answer

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Nancy,

It looks like you have some really good advice here in regards to how to address this difficult question. Being able to identify and communicate with a potential interviewer you strengths and weaknesses is very important. I would suggest you seek out advice from your family, friends, school mates and others you often interact with and ask their opinion. Also sit down and do a self evaluation around your own personal skills set and identify what you do well and areas you may struggle with. As an example: You may have an extrovert personality and posses the ability to relate and communicate with others...( Think through how that applies to the job you are applying for and be able to speak to it) with areas of opportunity (Weaknesses) one may be your knowledge base around common work tools such as windows or technical knowledge of some software that may be used at the company you are applying for. The important piece with regards to you opportunities is that while you acknowledge these you also need to ensure you communicate what you are doing to turn these into strengths. Employers will appreciate your ability to self reflect and more importantly that you take initiative to address your areas of opportunity.

Lastly I would tell you to ensure you spend time practicing this dialogue...Write it down and make sure you get very comfortable speaking to these areas so that when you are in an interview it becomes much easier to discuss.

Best of luck to you and I hope you find this useful.

Regards
Jorge
Thank You So Much. Nancy O. Translate
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Christy’s Answer

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There is a great assessment called "Strengths Finder" which can help you pin point your strengths. I believe the full assessment will also indicate your lowest scoring categories which could give you some insight into your weaknesses, or areas of opportunity. Not only are these assessments good for identify strengths and weaknesses, they may also give you insight into good career opportunities / career paths. Best of luck!
Thank you So much. I will look into it. Nancy O. Translate
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Brooke’s Answer

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Hi Nancy,
You could rephrase "weaknesses" for the word "opportunities". Then think of where you have the greatest opportunities to learn. Pick 2-3 areas that you want to improve upon or master - it doesn't mean your weak, but this shows you're self-aware and have goals for your development.

Best of luck!
Thank You So Much. Nancy O. Translate
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Kei’s Answer

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If you do not have work experience yet, you can pinpoint your strength by assessing how you handle tasks assigned to you even at home. If you are asked to do something, how do you handle them? For me, when I am asked about my strength, I always say my strength is being a team player, I always make it a point to help someone in need. My opportunity, on the other hand is, I can be a perfectionist. Being that can work to my advantage and disadvantage. Advantage because I make sure that I get the job done, disadvantage because if my team and I will not meet standards, I get disappointed which might impact my relationship with my team.

So, assess what type of person you are. Identify how you deal with simple tasks and from there I am sure that you will be able to say what your strength and opportunity are.
Thank you so much. I appreciate it. Nancy O. Translate
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Brenda’s Answer

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Great question and something I always prepare for in an interview.
If you are having trouble identifying your strengths/weaknesses try asking a friend, family member, or coworker. Ask them to be honest in their response and be open to any information they share. It's all meant to help you grow :)

For the weakness question, I always try and show how I'm actively working on improving my weakness. For example, if my area of improvement is time management, I would also state actions I'm taking to help myself improve on time management and progress I have made.

I hope this helps and good luck!
Thank You. Nancy O. Translate
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Alina’s Answer

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A great place to start is asking friends and family what they think your strengths and weaknesses are. Other people's feedback can be very eye opening and provide a great outside perspective. Furthermore, taking tests like the strength finder test can really highlight how you work with others and individually. A great way to phrase weaknesses during an interview is how your strengths and weaknesses tie together, then how you are working on this. For instance, "I can be too focused on the details of a project, but am working on seeing the bigger picture to stay focused on my goals."
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Alina’s Answer

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A great place to start is asking friends and family what they think your strengths and weaknesses are. Other people's feedback can be very eye opening and provide a great outside perspective. Furthermore, taking tests like the strength finder test can really highlight how you work with others and individually. A great way to phrase weaknesses during an interview is how your strengths and weaknesses tie together, then how you are working on this. For instance, "I can be too focused on the details of a project, but am working on seeing the bigger picture to stay focused on my goals."
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Katya’s Answer

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Hi Nancy, don’t be disappointed by your responses because the question about strength and weaknesses is a difficult questions. Most companies do ask this questions and sometimes it’s being communicated in various ways. The best way to answer this question is to always tailor to your past experience and tie it into the requirements of the job you are going for an interview.

So, when an interviews asks you this questions- first you must be prepared for it. This questions- you should always expect and never have a surprise reaction to it. This is the questions that you want to answer in a confident manner and it should be about sharing your experience with a specific skill that you delivered.

I recommend that you write down your best performance and the most challenging project you ever worked with-always keep in mind the job that you are interviewing for so it doesn’t contradict to what the employee is looking for.- this way you have highlighted what the company is looking for by sharing you highlighted experience.

So, first let’s start by understanding important competencies. What are competencies- most job related interviews are conducting behavioral interviews. The employee wants to know which skills you have demonstrated to get results. Always answer the :” how and the why”.

Let’s look at some competencies- communication, team work, digital curiosity,problem solving, influence, customer experience, judgement. Choose one as your strength and one is your weakness. When the question is about weakness- don’t think as something negative or something that you can’t do. Look at the question from another angle- weakness simple means- what have you worked on that was challenging and what behaviors did you implemented to work on the challenging task, what has been the result, and what have you learned from it.

I recommend that this question is prepared, well thought out before attending any interview, practiced at home-ask for feedback while practicing from your friends, family .

Kate
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Supreethkumar’s Answer

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Try to talk to someone whom you know for a long time and ask them to be honest about their opinion about you. Let them say everything about you and then find out what you are reflecting on a person whom you know for a long time, which in turn help you find out your strengths and weaknesses.
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Cindy’s Answer

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One way to make a list of strengths and weaknesses, would be to think of what other people would say about you.
You could make a list of people that know you well from your different life circles: family, friends, school, work...
Then make a list of what YOU think they would say about you.
Then you could ask them what they think your strengths and weaknesses are, and check if it matches up to your list.
That little exercise would give you a picture of how you are perceived.

When asked this question in an interview (I don't ask that any more!), choose one of the weaknesses that should not effect the job you are applying for. Another thing to think of is when describing the weakness, show the flip side of it, where in some cases it can also be a good thing.
For instance, if you are sensitive and take things personally, it could also show that you are sensitive to others feelings and needs.
Also, when asked about your weaknesses, you could say "I am currently working on being more/less __________"
That way you are showing that you are ware of the weakness and are taking responsibility to strengthen it.

Good luck :)
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Jackie’s Answer

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Do a personality test like MBIT, that may help you to know yourself better!
Ask your friend, your family what they think of you!
Take some notes every day to reflect yourself and after a while, you can see who you are!
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Alex’s Answer

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Hi Nancy,

In my experience, I've found it helpful to frame weaknesses within an experience that I dealt with - be it at work, home or school - and then describe what I did about it or learned from it.

In other words, tell a story about how you made it an opportunity to learn, grow or become self-aware. Some people out there might tell you to shy away from this because you are trying to sell yourself - I believe that is an antiquated mindset. Don't be afraid to be bold and admit your imperfections - that takes true courage.

Again, so long as you can articulate how you have made it an opportunity to learn, grow or become self-aware, you'll be fine.

Good luck!

-Alex

Thank You So Much. Nancy O. Translate
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Chary’s Answer

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First thing to do is check what are the requirements/qualifications needed of the job that you are applying for.

Highlight the skills that you have which matches what the employer is looking for. Example: Keen Attention to details, Good Communication Skills, can work well under pressure...

For your weakness, make sure that you position your response in a way that your weakness is highlighted positively -- example -- you tend to spend more time at work to finish a project and most of the time you recall paid time offs to attend to business meetings... this way, the employer would perceive you as hard working and can be depended on tasks without issues on flexibility.
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Cindy’s Answer

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One way to make a list of strengths and weaknesses, would be to think of what other people would say about you.
You could make a list of people that know you well from your different life circles: family, friends, school, work...
Then make a list of what YOU think they would say about you.
Then you could ask them what they think your strengths and weaknesses are, and check if it matches up to your list.
That little exercise would give you a picture of how you are perceived.

When asked this question in an interview (I don't ask that any more!), choose one of the weaknesses that should not effect the job you are applying for. Another thing to think of is when describing the weakness, show the flip side of it, where in some cases it can also be a good thing.
For instance, if you are sensitive and take things personally, it could also show that you are sensitive to others feelings and needs.
Another way to approach your weaknesses, would be to say: "what I would like to improve in myself is...." or "I am currently working on being more..." That way you are describing a weakness, but you are also showing awareness and taking responsibility.

Good luck :)
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Kristine’s Answer

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Often the interviewer will ask: Can you tell me what you are working on? This is another way to get after insights around weaknesses - how you are addressing this area - what are you doing to improve, self awareness, and take in feedback. It's always good to take the weakness and approach it as a strength - or something that you want to personally work on / expand in your skillset. For example, while I have done presentations in the past, I am now working on different ways to deliver messages to engage the audience differently. In the past I have always presented on facts and figures, I am now looking to present with an open dialogue and still stay within the time limits of the presentation. Really trying to emphasize how you continually develop and expand your skill set.

For strengths, highly recommend the Strength Finder if you are not away. Or ask individuals what are your traits that are memorable/impactful. Use a list of strengths and then narrow down to where your feedback / performance reviews always focus on - there are themes that you can pull out.
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John’s Answer

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We all have things we do well and things we can do better. When most interviewers ask this question, they are trying to get at your self-awareness. The best answers are answers that clearly show some vulnerability without sharing deeply personal information that you would not share with anyone except the closest of friends.

As an example, for a strength you could mention you are highly analytical and you are good with facts and figures. You find it easy to review data, develop trends and come to possible solutions.

For a challenge or developmental need (I don't personally like the word weakness), you could state that you can sometimes become so passionate about details that you will sometimes work hours on a project when maybe the quick solution could be developed in a shorter period of time. In other words, you can sometimes be too much of a perfectionist.

Personally, if I hear responses like this I will pick up on more positives than negatives. I heard you were passionate. I love passionate employees. I heard you were a perfectionist. I love people that push themselves to be better. I also heard you were great with data and focus on solutions. I love analytical people that develop solutions.

In summary, it is always a good interview technique to answer questions directly but make sure you control the message. I wish you the best.
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Cori’s Answer

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I always feel like this question is trying to determine if you are self aware and can, in a sense, step outside yourself to assess what you're good at and where there is opportunity to improve. I think that sometimes a strength and weakness can be the same. As an example, I work a lot. That can be a strength as well as a weakness.

Ask yourself "what am I really good at" and "what skills do I have where I excel"? Instead of framing something as a weakness, think about it in terms of where you could have the opportunity to improve upon a skill. We never know everything about everything so it's okay to show that you are human. This question is more about that (self-awareness) versus where you may drop the ball. Good luck!
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John’s Answer

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If you are feeling anxiety about these questions, trust me, you are not alone!

Most people feel pretty comfortable in answering the question, "What is your biggest strength?" where it is much easier to focus on those things that you are passionate about and tend to excel in. What I would caution is how you answer the question in ensuring that you are humble, yet confident in your response. But this is a great opportunity to really brag about yourself in how your strength(s) is a perfect fit for the role you are interviewing for.

"What is your biggest weakness?" is the question everyone hates to answer, because it makes you feel vulnerable. Typically how I ask this question of someone in an interview is "If I were to call your boss and ask them what is the one area that you need to work on, what would they say?" This is another way of how you should think about this one. This is OK as no one is perfect, and in fact, this is a great opportunity to highlight those areas that you are developing where you can talk about the steps you are taking to address this area where you can position this more as a strength than a weakness.

As you grow in your career you will find that your answers to these questions will likely change, but over time you will hopefully come to appreciate the questions where it's a great opportunity to be open and transparent about what you bring to the table.

Hope this information helps and best of luck with your interview!

Thank You. Nancy O. Translate
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Adrian’s Answer

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Hi Nancy,
If you're unsure of your strengths and weakness then seek feedback. Ask others who have worked with you, studied with you, lived with you. Ask them to be specific (not generic), ask for actual examples, and ask them to be honest. It's a great way to understand how others see us.
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Chary’s Answer

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First thing to do is check what are the requirements/qualifications needed of the job that you are applying for.

Highlight the skills that you have which matches what the employer is looking for. Example: Keen Attention to details, Good Communication Skills, can work well under pressure...

For your weakness, make sure that you position your response in a way that your weakness is highlighted positively -- example -- you tend to spend more time at work to finish a project and most of the time you recall paid time offs to attend to business meetings... this way, the employer would perceive you as hard working and can be depended on tasks without issues on flexibility.
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Kimberly’s Answer

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Hi Nancy,

I would suggest by first making a list of all the things you are good at and the things you think you could use improvement in. Then take that list and apply it towards an interview. For example, if multi- tasking is one of your strengths, give examples in the interview as to how you can multi-task in that role. When asked for weaknesses, be sure to share them in ways on how you can improve. For example, if working late hours is a weakness, give examples in the interview as to how you cannot finish the work day until all projects, tasks are complete. Someone once told me that if you can get the person interviewing you to talk about himself/herself and make it more of a conversation, then that is a good sign.
Good Luck!
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Padmapriya’s Answer

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Hi Nancy,

Great question.

First, create two lists. Before you use any outside sources to help identify your strengths and weaknesses, I'd recommend that you spend about 30 minutes alone creating two lists.

Talk to people you trust.

Take a personality test.

Try new things.

Knowing where you come in strong and where you need assistance can help you stabilize your personal life and nurture your professional interactions. Self-knowledge is a powerful tool that too many people disregard because it's difficult or inconvenient, or perhaps because it makes them feel uncomfortable. What seem like strengths to one person, moreover, might not necessarily seem that useful to others, which can make figuring out whether specific qualities you possess are strengths as opposed to weaknesses confusing or frustrating. While this is something you will have to figure out mostly on your own.

All the Best!!
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Jessica’s Answer

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Hi Nancy!

These are no doubt questions that you will encounter when you are trying to enter the workforce. As you were looking at the job posting, surely you came across a few details that made you think you were suited for this position. Refer back to exactly what those were that piqued your interest. Was it the attention to detail, multi tasking, or communication with others/vendors that attracted you in the position? Revisit the job description and rework the appealing features as a "strength" that you feel you will bring. As far as a weakness, it is important to be honest. If one of your weakness is a key function of the position, it may not be a great fit. Try addressing a feature that may not be the most pertinent to the position, if you are applying for a customer service job the interviewer is going to want to hear about your personality, and may be willing to dismiss a weakness that is more suited for a different type of position. If you can, explain with an example a time this weakness occurred and how you improved/grew from the experience.

Another note is if you are asked about your strengths and weaknesses in the same question, start with your weaknesses that way you end with them thinking of you in a positive manner and your strengths.

Best of luck!
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