Recruiters and managers use oral interviews to get to know job candidates better. One of the most common questions recruiters ask candidates is to name some of their strengths and weaknesses. With a potential job on the line, it can be difficult to know how to answer this question. To help prepare for an interview and make the best impression possible, take the time to consider acceptable strengths and weaknesses.
Get a Little Personal
Although professional and technical skills are important, most employers also want to know the personal strengths you possess that can help you carry out the duties and responsibilities of the job. An example of acceptable strengths to mention in an interview include being adaptable to change, possessing initiative and self-motivation to complete tasks without needing constant direct supervision, dependability, flexibility and being a team player.
Don’t Forget Your Skills
In addition to your personal traits, you should also share some of your knowledge-based strengths during the interview. Knowledge-based skills are the ones you’ve gained through schooling, training or experience. To accurately use your knowledge-based skills as strengths in an interview, it is important to familiarize yourself with the job description and give examples of strengths relevant to the job. For example, if you are interviewing for an accounting position, you can talk about your experience with accounting software, your ability to pay close attention to detail, your familiarity with accounting principles and regulations, and your analytical skills.
Look for the Strength in Your Weaknesses
The purpose of an employer asking about your weaknesses is not to embarrass you, but to learn the steps you’ve taken to improve in the areas where you are the weakest. When stating your weaknesses in an interview, focus less on the trait or skill and more on the positive outcome. For example, if you struggle with time management, you can speak about the issue but also talk about the steps you’ve taken to prioritize and become better organized. Jacquelyn Smith, writing in the Forbes website, says another acceptable weakness is a tendency to put too much pressure on yourself when completing tasks. Again, in addition to mentioning this weakness, tell the interviewer how you have addressed and overcome the issue.
Don’t Tell it All
Although you want the interviewer to get the impression that you are a candidate with some minor flaws, sharing too much information during the interview process can hurt your chances of landing the job. For example, telling a potential employee about how you learned the dangers of office romances because of a bad interoffice relationship can leave a negative impression. When a job candidate shares too much information she can come across as being immature and unprofessional, even if that is not the case. When naming weaknesses, it is important to keep it work related. For example, you might say that you focus so much energy on doing a task the right way that you sometimes find it difficult to delegate some of the smaller, related tasks to other team members.