Interview questions: strengths and weaknesses

Interview questions: strengths and weaknesses

It is one of the classic interview questions: What are your strengths and weaknesses? Therefore, it is advisable to prepare for this question in advance of an interview. We’ll give you useful tips to convince the HR manager.

If someone asks you spontaneously about your strengths and weaknesses, you probably have to think for a moment. However, you should have a convincing answer to this in the interview. So it doesn’t hurt to think about it a few times in advance. 

Self-reflection is an especially important issue here. Because regardless of the interview, you should ideally have already reflected on yourself. Always remember that nobody is perfect and that you don’t have to be either. After all, admitting weaknesses is also a strength. 

In the job interview: what can I say, what can I not say? 

You shouldn’t bring up all of your strengths and weaknesses in the interview. Always try to relate your information to the job. The recruiter is unlikely to care that you are particularly good at baking (unless you’re applying to be a pastry chef) or that you’re afraid of heights (unless you’re applying as a window cleaner). 

You should also make sure not to name any weaknesses that are taboo in your dream job. If you apply to sales and state in the conversation that you feel uncomfortable with customer contact, this will reduce your chances of getting the job. 

Weaknesses that are not well received in any industry are laziness, unpunctuality, and unreliability. Even if you consider any of these things to be your weaknesses, you shouldn’t necessarily mention them in the interview. 

Much doesn’t help much 

You should avoid pouring your heart out to the HR manager. To name your weakness that you have been hard to trust since the hamster died and your favorite aunt emigrated is too much of a good thing. 

When asked about your strengths and weaknesses, it is enough if you name three things each. Also, try to explain the whole thing in more detail. If you say that you are a little impatient at times, you can explain this based on a specific situation. 

Turn weaknesses into strengths 

If you state weaknesses, you can skillfully mitigate them if you underline them with strength. For example, if you state that you sometimes have time management issues, you can mitigate that by saying that to-do lists are a good way to handle this. This shows that you are working on your weaknesses.  

Hidden questions 

Sometimes you are not asked directly about your strengths and weaknesses. Instead, the HR manager asks what your colleagues and friends would describe your strengths and weaknesses or ask assessment questions. For example: on a scale from one to ten, how would you rate your sociability. Be prepared for that too. 

When in doubt: always be honest and authentic 

If you are surprised by a question, you should still answer as honestly as possible. You can also ask to reflect briefly on the questions. Remember that honesty and authenticity always do best in interviews.