In the typical interview, there’s a whole lot of talking about yourself, and one of the more nerve-racking parts of doing that might be talking about your professional strengths and weaknesses.
The strengths and weaknesses you cite generally matter less than the way you talk about them. In asking these questions, a hiring manager is attempting to see what type of employee you might be and how you might conduct yourself if you were hired for the position.
So, how do you explain your professional strengths without sounding too cocky, but your weaknesses without sounding inexperienced? Check out these interview tips.
Probably the most critical thing here is honesty. It may sound hackneyed, but honest truly is the best policy. A response that rings true will make a good impression, while one that seems generic, fabricated, overstated or disingenuous will leave a bad taste in the mouth.
Don’t try to be clever and say your biggest weakness is that you work too hard.
Tell a Compelling Story
People understand abstract ideas better when they are tied to a story. Therefore, if you’re able to, use a story to respond to these questions.
For instance, you could talk about a situation where one of your strengths helped to make a process more efficient or a situation when your weakness kept you from success. Sharing a true story from your past won’t just make your response stand out, a story will also make your candidacy seem more compelling and genuine.
Make It Relevant
A response that seems authentic and is in the form of a story is a good start, but you also need to make your response strongly related to your application.
When you’re discussing a strength, the last bit of your answer ought to connect that strength to the job you’re seeking and organization. Your interviewer should understand how that strength would be valuable in the open position.
When it comes to weaknesses, you should wrap up your answer by discussing how you are growing and learning. Talk about your awareness of your weakness and how you are addressing it. This conclusion to your response gives the sense that you are a self-aware problem-solver, which is something that any company should want in an applicant.
Keep It Short and Sweet
Focus on quality, not quantity, when it comes to answering these questions. Don’t plan on rattling off a litany of strengths or weaknesses you are addressing. Pick one strength, pick one weakness and develop an answer for each.
Also, don’t stress out too much on getting your answers perfect. A thorough employment decision isn’t founded on how someone responds to these questions. Your answer to any given question is just one data point out of many.
So, don’t overdo it when it comes to selling your strengths and don’t overcompensate with regards to addressing your weaknesses.
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