If you have ever been interviewed for a job position, you know the typical questions, “Why do you want the job?” “Why are you the best candidate for this position?” “What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?” You might think, well, discussing my strengths is a great opportunity to brag about myself, but you dread talking about the weaknesses. Although it is important to highlight your strengths, there are some ways to organize your thoughts to make them sound like you aren’t bragging, but simply stating what you are good at. As for weaknesses, there are a few strategies you can implement to keep your interviewer interested. 


How to answer Strengths: 

Before an interview, it is crucial to study up on the company you are interviewing for. This includes the job description and the company’s goals. When thinking about an answer to “What are your strengths?” consider focusing on a strength that is listed in the job description. The reason you are applying for the job, among other factors, is because you believe you match the description for what the company is looking for. So, for example, if a job description states that you will have to be able to work independently, use that to your advantage when asked about your strengths. 

With strengths, it can be important to have an example ready for an employer. Consider answering with past experiences: 

“I work well with others as a team. I put effort into making sure every opinion is heard and considered before making a decision.” 

It can also be beneficial to an employer to hear about strengths and skills that might not necessarily be printed on the job description. A job might not require photography and video editing skills, but this might be a quality that interests an employer and sets you apart from other potential candidates. 


How to answer Weaknesses: 

Although it may seem hard to answer “What are your greatest weaknesses” without dissuading an employer, there are many different routes that you can take to answer this tough question. Firstly, you should not answer this question by saying “I don’t think I have any weaknesses.” Everybody does! It only makes us human. Also, not having an answer prepared can show how you work under pressure. You can still discuss weaknesses without putting yourself down. Focus on improvement for a more positive connotation. 

“Sometimes I can be too hard on myself when I am on a tight schedule. I am organized when it comes to priorities but I could be better at organizing in a way that is a little bit more relaxed. ” 

Stay on topic. It is important to stay on topic when answering this question. The employer isn’t asking you what your personal weaknesses are; they should be somewhat connected to your past experiences or the job description, but not a key skill that is listed in the job description to avoid uncertainty from the employer. For example, a big weakness of mine is chocolate, but I should probably refrain from telling an employer that. For example: 

“Although I’m not familiar with this software listed in the job description, I am a very quick learner, and I know I can pick up the skills quickly to soon be fluent with it.” 

Discuss overcoming past challenges. You can talk about a specific situation in which you experienced a challenge and the steps you took to deal with it in the moment, and then how you improved to be more prepared for the future. This will show your interviewer that you are good at actively identifying issues within yourself, and that you have the ability to make conscious efforts to resolve them. 

Need help practicing your interview skills? Come meet with a career counselor! We can assist you with interview prep or even a mock interview! Contact our office to make an appointment!


By Julia