Besides the dreaded question: “Tell me about yourself,” the next interview question that people despise is: “Share with me some of your strengths and weaknesses.” Talking about personal strengths is not too difficult for most people, but they struggle with good weaknesses to say in an interview. If you place a little bit of thought to it, the question does not have to be so difficult.
What are they fishing for? Some job candidates think that hiring managers ask these questions just because they want to see you squirm in your seat. It is as if they want to see how you react under pressure. Well, I don’t think that is always the case. Here are two reasons:
1. They ask out of habit. You might be surprised but most hiring managers struggle with what they are really trying to accomplish in the interview. Just like you, they do not know what to say in an interview. Oh sure, they appear like they have it altogether, but my experience as a recruiter tells me differently. That being said, you still have to answer the dreaded weakness question.
2. They are going fishing. They either want to try and reveal some character traits about you or just see how you respond. I have asked this question 1,000 of times and more often than not candidates say that they cannot think of any. That is the wrong answer. You must have some weaknesses to say in an interview.
Weaknesses That Are Also Strengths
Here is where the power lies: you need to talk about weaknesses that could also be seen as strengths. A weakness of yours could be a strength for the company. For example, let’s say that you are about to interview with a public accounting firm. It would be a great opportunity for your career. You realize and expect to work lots of hours. You can present a weakness such as: “I typically take my job very seriously, which often means that I put in more hours than is required of me. It is just important to me that not only do I get it right but that it gets done quickly.”
You just shared in that statement that you acknowledge that you need more life balance and less work, but you just enjoy your work so much that it does not feel like work to you. Sounds good to me! That is just one example and there are many other good weaknesses to say in an interview.
However, I must tell you to choose your weakness carefully. If you are unsure of specific solid answers to the typical questions that are asked in an interview, consider setting up a 30 minute consultation call with me so that you can have more confidence for that next interview.