Anyone that has ever endured the joys of a job interview has probably been faced with some variation of the dreaded, “tell me about your strengths and weakness,” question. This question is incredibly obscure and tricky to navigate. Should you answer honestly?
“My strengths are I am the life of the party, I don’t do hard drugs, I’m tall and I have a great sense of humor. My weaknesses are I am always late, have problems with authority, steal office supplies and love to tell dirty jokes in meetings”
Or, should you give an answer that is vague and where your weaknesses are actually strengths in disguise, such as:
“I am a hard worker, a logical and analytic thinker and work well with others. My weaknesses are that sometimes I work too hard, I am a perfectionist, I am always over prepared and I meet every deadline – no matter how impossible it is…”
While the first response is incredibly honest and the employer knows exactly what they are getting – you probably won’t get hired. The second response is obvious bull crap and while you may get hired, you’ve essentially set yourself up to fail. You’ve also shown the hiring personnel that you lack the ability to personally reflect and self-analyze.
Before we dive in and work on how to answer this question, it’s important to understand why the interviewer is asking it. The main reason the hiring manager or team asks this question1 is to try and determine if you possess qualities that will enable you to succeed. They also want to know what qualities you have that could hinder your job performance. Simple as that.
Now that you know why interviewers ask this question and what they are looking for, you can craft a response tailored to accurately satisfy this question. Let’s look at the strengths first: Read more.