How to answer strengths and weaknesses in an interview

Posted on 04 August 2022

Some people enjoy job interviews as they can talk about themselves, a topic many feel comfortable with. In an equal measure individuals that dislike interviews and talking about themselves.

Many questions arise in job interviews from the standard, “tell me about yourself” or “why you’re considering a new job role?” Through to describe the infamous “what animal would you be and why?”

One question we find that our candidates ask us for support on the most, is how do I answer a question about my Strengths and Weaknesses?

Naturally, we want to show off our strengths (or good points) and downplay our weaknesses (or bad points) this can be in many ways in our hectic world from dating through to job interviews. It’s based on the simple desire for us to be seen a good, strong or the right choice.

Before we look at that let me throw you a quick hint. with any interview it is important to prepare and do your research ahead of your appointment, think about the famous British Army adage of the 7P’s or today’s more PC 6P’s of Proper Planning and Practice Prevents Poor Performance. Your interviewers on the other side of the desk will be doing this on you. Preparation and Planning will not only help you in the interview but is one of your strengths and thanks to Google it’s much easier to do in 2022 as apposed to when I entered the world of employment in 2002.


Now, let’s imagine you’re in a job interview and you feel you’re building some rapport with your interviewers and the conversation is flowing nicely, as you answer their questions. Then you’re asked, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”

How is this best to answer? and news flash your interviewers will expect you to answer both parts of this question. Stating you’ve no weaknesses comes over as arrogant and even dishonest as we’re only human. This can be seen as major flaw and harm your chances of securing the job role you’re interviewing for!

So, let’s answer this question in order with strengths and then weaknesses. But let’s first look at how to style your answer.

Do not provide a short answer followed by a list of skills and areas for improvement. It is not the best way to handle a loaded question such as “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”. Answering the question this way, leaves ample opportunity for follow up questions and threads to be pulled on subjects like your stated weaknesses that you’re naturally not feeling too confident about in answering.

A more positive way to answer is to construct your reply in a way that remains on topic and focuses on core strengths and allows you to provide examples, whether your example is a hard skill or soft skills that you’ve established through research and earlier parts of your interview that are needed for this job role, such as a bespoke software package/system used in your career sector.

Let’s follow this path and suggest you ask a friend or family member to help beforehand to identify these if you’re not sure. This will allow you to comprise an answer which highlights what you can bring to the position and remains specific. Include a range of strengths and transferrable skills that align with the job role and fit your personality. A few of examples below:

“I’ve always enjoyed to work as part of a team and find that with my collaborative nature it helps the team and I believe that this is one of my strongest attributes. On tasks where I lead, I strive to inspire team members and work alongside them to achieve our set goals and deadlines.”

“I’m relatively new to the Finance industry, but I find that I’m good at working with numbers. I love to help people save money and find them new investment opportunities. I enjoy learning about my client’s needs and finding ways to help them achieve their desired lifestyle aims, and I’ve helped many of my clients to increase their net worth by a collective 10%.”

“My best asset is without doubt my work ethic and willingness to step in when required. I’ve never been afraid to tackle a difficult client or undertake a project that nobody else wants, often they are the clients and projects that we learn the most from. I typically revel in works outside of my job description and people please by doing whatever is asked of me. I've never seen myself above doing any task and adapt to any situation to achieve the best results for the company.”

The examples above allow you to answer with an insight into your personality and respond to any questions or provide a detailed example if required.