Tell Me About Your Strengths and Weaknesses – Answer for Fresh Graduates
This is another classic question that frequently appear during job interviews and it can be tricky to answer if you have not thought about it. Similar to the question “Tell Me About Yourself”, your answer must be relevant and related to the job position you are interviewing for.
In this article, we will be covering specific tips and examples to answer this question in a professional context.
Tell me about your strengths
The main objective of this question is still to find out whether you possess any relevant strengths that can be applied to the job position. Hence, apart from listing relevant strengths, supporting it with examples and demonstrating how it can be applied to the role will be helpful. When you are answering this question, do also take note of your tone. Sounding arrogant can reduce your likeability while sounding overly modest can cause you to exhibit undesirable traits such as the lack of self-confidence. Remember that the evaluation of a candidate’s suitability usually goes beyond his answer to this question. At the end of the day, Interviewers would be drawn to a candidate with an honest and sincere answer, rather than an arrogant and lofty presentation.
Refer to the below section for examples of a poor and good answer to the question “Tell Me About Your Strengths” Both of the candidates are applying for a managerial position.
I have strengths in many areas. But I would say my top 3 strengths are swimming, cooking and leading others in a team. I learnt how to swim and cook at a young age. Over the years, I developed and hone these skills which eventually became my strengths. As for leading others in a team, I started assuming leadership positions since my secondary school days. After years of learning and experience, I eventually managed to lead a team of 10 and organised an annual school event.
This is an example of a poor answer because two out of the three strengths listed were of no relevance to the job position. Although the candidate managed to support the last strength with a concrete example, it would have been better if he was able to link it back to the job position. This would help to immediately highlight to the interviewer that he possesses strengths useful for the job position.
After looking at a poor answer, refer to the below section for an ideal answer.
I would say that my strengths include good time management and the ability to lead a team. Since young, I have developed a habit of listing down all my tasks and allocate time to each task. This helps to keep me on track and finish all my tasks on time. I feel that this strength would come in handy for this role as it can help me to meet deadlines with ease.
I also had experiences in leading teams during my schooling days. These experiences helped me increased my knowledge about the challenges faced as a leader and how to keep the team united to achieve the required goals. I feel that my prior leadership experiences will greatly aid me in this job position.
The above example is an ideal answer because all of the strengths listed by the candidate are relevant and supported with examples. The candidate also demonstrates how these strengths can be applied to the position, which is the most critical point that the interviewer is looking out for.
Moving on to the second half of the article, we will be addressing tips on answering “Tell Me About Your Weaknesses”.
Tell me about your weaknesses
The main objective of this question is for the interviewer to understand whether the candidate is aware of his weaknesses and the actions taken to improve it. Hence apart from listing your weaknesses, be prepared to share what you are doing to mitigate them.
Let’s look at a poor and ideal example to better understand how to answer this question.
I have a lot of weaknesses, but the prominent ones are the tendency to be late and not being meticulous enough. I tried to set more alarms, but that method didn’t work out. Asides that, I am also not meticulous. It is a habit I have since young; hence it is not easy to overcome it. But nevertheless, I am trying to be more meticulous and I feel that I will get better with it.
The above is a poor answer because the candidate failed to share specifically what he was doing to mitigate his weaknesses. Based on his elaboration of the tendency to be late, he shared what he tried to do, which unfortunately wasn’t successful. Instead of providing further explanation on new actions taken to mitigate his weakness, the candidate moved on to address another weakness. By doing so, he is portraying himself as someone who gives up easily, which would not reflect well on him. Hence, bear in mind to always tell give your interviewer a concrete solution that you are currently working on.
After understanding the things to take note when you answer this question, refer to below section to read the ideal answer.
One example of my weakness is having trouble speaking in front of a crowd. It is something I struggled for a long time. However, I am now enrolled in a speech and personal development class to get over the fear of public speaking.
I also find it hard to get all of my tasks done on time. Now, I am trying to develop a habit of listing down all of the daily tasks and allocate an appropriate amount of time to each task. This helps me to keep track of all my tasks on hand and focus on finishing all of them.
This is an ideal answer because the candidate states his weaknesses and gave specific methods on how he is improving them. Notice how he didn’t just simply state his weaknesses or give vague response on how he is improving them.
To wrap things up, when the interviewer asks you about your strengths and weaknesses, always choose 2-3 qualities each to mention. For strengths, always give an example to support the traits you mention and link it back to how you can contribute to the role. Whereas for weaknesses, you don’t have to describe it too specifically, but remember to give concrete examples on what you are doing to improve it.