How to Talk About Your Professional Strengths and Weaknesses

Some interview questions are straightforward. Others can be a little more difficult to answer. One tough interview question that employers might ask is “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”.

Learning about your strengths and weaknesses can help an employer see how your skills match the job. But, you need to be careful when answering this question. Some responses might discourage an employer from choosing you.

To better your chances of landing the job, practice your answers to “what are your strengths and weaknesses” before walking into the interview.

Why Employers Ask About Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Hiring managers can phrase the way they ask your strengths and weaknesses in a number of different ways.

No matter how the question is asked, employers are usually looking at the same outcome. Employers want to know how you see your strengths and weaknesses and how you respond to a difficult question. They also want to know if you look for ways to improve on your weaknesses.

What Answer is an Employer Looking For?

Employers can learn a lot about a person by asking about strengths and weaknesses. The interviewer is looking for several key qualities in a candidate.

Employers want to see that the person is honest, aware of their personal qualities, and is able to learn from mistakes. To successfully talk about your own strengths and weaknesses, your answer needs to show these characteristics.

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How to Talk About Your Strengths and Weaknesses

If you have ever been asked to talk about your strengths and weaknesses in an interview, you might have had a hard time answering the question. You do not want to say you are not good at something and look unqualified. And, you do not want to sound like you are bragging about yourself.

There are ways to answer “what are your strengths and weaknesses” that help you succeed. The key is to emphasize positive qualities. Also, focus on turning negatives into positive and give truthful answers.

Need help talking about your strengths and weaknesses? Try these tips to help you answer this common, but tough, interview question.

Talking About Your Weaknesses

Everybody has weaknesses. But, it is not always easy to admit them, especially when trying to win over an employer.

Talking about weaknesses lets employers know that you are honest, self-aware, and most importantly, open to growth. By recognizing the things you are not extremely good at, you have the opportunity to talk about your plan for improvement.

So, how do you talk about your weaknesses in a job interview?

The best way to talk about a weakness is to minimize it and emphasize a positive. Choose the characteristic you want to talk about. Then, come up with a solution to overcome the weakness.

Here are some examples of weaknesses you might talk about:

  • You try to please everyone.
  • You are too critical of yourself.
  • You feel like you have to solve problems on your own.
  • You lack experience.
  • You tend to procrastinate.

Remember to spin your weakness into a positive once it is mentioned. By doing so, you recognize that you are not perfect, but you do actively look for solutions to be a better employee.

For example, let’s say your weakness is that you put things off until the last minute. You might say something like:

“I tend to procrastinate. I used to believe that this was not an issue because it only created stress on myself. Then, when I was working for company XYZ, I noticed how my teammates were also affected by my procrastination. I started creating schedules to map out my tasks for the day. I was getting things done more efficiently, relieving stress from myself and my co-workers.”

See how a solution can turn a weakness into a strength? Think about your weaknesses and how you can talk about them in a positive light.

Talking About Your Strengths

The opportunity to talk about your strengths is your time to shine to employers. You need to let them know what makes you the perfect fit for the job.

When talking about your strengths, be specific. Provide the employer with a comprehensive list of about three to five skills.

Here are some examples of strengths you might talk about:

  • Determination
  • Dedication
  • Honesty
  • Enthusiastic
  • Creativity
  • Patience
  • Versatility

When you talk about your strengths, don’t just list them. Instead, give examples of how you have demonstrated strengths in the workplace. Practice your answers before you go to the interview.

Getting Help on Your Job Search

Finding a job is not always easy, especially for older adults. You need to make sure that your resume strategy is up to date, you apply for the right jobs for your goals, and that you know how to answer common interview questions.

Could you use help finding a job? VANTAGE’s Senior Community Service Employment Program helps older adults find employment through paid job training. Working in a community-based organization, you can gain the skills you need for today’s workforce through service.

To be eligible for the SCSEP program, you must be 55 years or older, meet income guidelines, not be employed but seeking a job, and live in one of the 38 Ohio counties we serve.

Call 1-800-554-5335 for more information about the Senior Community Service Employment Program.

*The information in this article is intended solely to provide general information on matters of interest for the personal use of the reader, who accepts full responsibility for its use. This article should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, medical, or other competent advisors.

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