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Interview skills: Tell us your areas of strength and weakness

By Nicholas Siwatom | August 3rd 2021

"Tell us your strengths and weaknesses".

You may have been asked this question one time in an interview and you were thrown into confusion. While it may be easier to answer the question on strengths the one on weaknesses appears tricky.

I find most candidates responding effectively on the question of strengths, for example, you may say “I have great written communication skills and in my last role I received a commendation for writing articles in our company magazine that won the award of the best creative article. I have also developed strong leadership skills built through the management of a highly skilled and diverse team. I have also been recognised through our annual company awards for demonstrating collaboration skills learnt through working with cross-functional teams.”

In the same breath when a candidate turns to respond to the weaknesses, it becomes challenging essentially because we normally do not want to expose our weaknesses due to the fear that we shall be exposing our shortcomings.

Others end up responding that they have no weaknesses that they can remember. 

When responding to the question of strengths and weaknesses you need to approach it with an open mind.

You must demonstrate self-awareness. It is believed that all human beings have areas of strength and also areas requiring coaching or growth.

People who know their weaknesses are able to do something about it so that it does not affect their work.

It may therefore be better to state “during my previous job I realized that I was struggling to meet my deadlines just because I was spending a lot of time going through the details and double-checking the facts just to make sure the reports are perfect. This did not work well with me because my supervisor did not have sufficient time to review my work and this almost strained our work relationship. Today I am very much aware that how I do things affects my supervisors and company’s delivery of targets. I have therefore learnt how to balance between perfect and delivering in a timely manner.”

It is therefore advised that you think through your strengths and weaknesses and frame suitable examples before you attend that interview you have been searching for.

-Nicholas Siwatom is HR Consultant, Standard Jobs

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