Close
Need more options? Browse Jobs by Company, Date Posted, Job Title, and more job categories
Search
Advice » Interviewing» Interview Questions » Interview Question: What Are You ...
Interview Question: What Are Your Greatest Strengths and Weaknesses?

Interview Question: What Are Your Greatest Strengths and Weaknesses?


By the Monster Career Coach


Marie is about to interview two candidates for the customer service manager position. Her candidates are Francine and William. As always, she plans to ask about their strengths and weaknesses.

Francine answers the question, "What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?" with, "My strength is that I'm a hard worker. My weakness is that I get stressed when I miss a deadline because someone else dropped the ball."

This answer is unimaginative. Most people think of themselves as hard workers.

William has difficulty with the question. "I really can't think of a weakness," he begins. "Maybe I could be more focused. My strength is probably my ability to deal with people. I am pretty easygoing. I usually don't get upset easily."

This answer leads with a negative, and then moves to vague words: maybe, probably, pretty and usually.

So what is the best way to answer this question?

Assessing Your Strengths

Assess your skills, and you will identify your strengths. This is an exercise worth doing before any interview. Make a list of your skills, dividing them into three categories:

1. Knowledge-based skills: Acquired from education and experience (e.g., computer skills, languages, degrees, training and technical ability).

2. Transferable skills: Your portable skills that you take from job to job (e.g., communication and people skills, analytical problem solving and planning skills).

3. Personal traits: Your unique qualities (e.g., dependable, flexible, friendly, hard working, expressive, formal, punctual and being a team player).

When you complete this list, choose three to five of those strengths that match what the employer is seeking in the job posting. Make sure you can give specific examples to demonstrate why you say that is your strength if probed further.

Assessing Your Weaknesses

This is probably the most dreaded part of the question. Everyone has weaknesses, but who wants to admit to them, especially in an interview?

The best way to handle this question is to minimize the trait and emphasize the positive. Select a trait and come up with a solution to overcome your weakness. Stay away from personal qualities and concentrate more on professional traits. For example:

"I pride myself on being a 'big picture' guy. I have to admit I sometimes miss small details, but I always make sure I have someone who is detail-oriented on my team."

Scripting Your Interview Answers

Write a positive statement you can say with confidence:

"My strength is my flexibility to handle change. As customer service manager at my last job, I was able to turn around a negative working environment and develop a very supportive team. As far as weaknesses, I feel that my management skills could be stronger, and I am constantly working to improve them."

When confronted with this question, remember the interviewer is looking for a fit. She is forming a picture of you based on your answers. A single answer will probably not keep you from getting the job, unless, of course, it is something blatant. Put your energy into your strengths statement -- what you have to offer. Then let the interviewer know that although you may not be perfect, you are working on any shortcomings you have.

Latest Jobs

CGI, Iinformation And Management Consulting Inc
Posted: 10/31/2014
Montréal, QC
Gatestone & Co.
Posted: 10/31/2014
Toronto, ON, M5V2H1
CGI, Iinformation And Management Consulting Inc
Posted: 10/31/2014
Montréal, QC
Brainhunter Canada
Posted: 10/31/2014
Calgary, AB
Brainhunter Canada
Posted: 10/31/2014
Vancouver, BC

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Career Centre

Tools to help your job hunt.
Tools to help your job hunt.
Research careers here.
Research careers here.
How does your work experience compare to others?
How does your work experience compare to others?
Look perfect on paper - get your resume professionally written.
Look perfect on paper - get your resume professionally written.
Get coached for your interview. Gain confidence to get the job.
Get coached for your interview. Gain confidence to get the job.
Know what a job pays.
Know what a job pays.
More Career Centre Resources

Screening Candidates

Alt text
We all carry around some prejudice. Are you immune? Not likely. Here's how to work through your human foibles to get the best candidate.

Workforce Planning

Alt text
Here some Canadian resources that are available to entrepreneurs to help them get the back up that they need to run their businesses effectively.

For Seekers

Resume Writing Service
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
Compare Your Salary
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Interview Preparation
Gain an interview advantage with step-by-step preparation
Other Services

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $175.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Centre
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.

Social Media

Career help on Facebook
Follow Monster.ca on Facebook. Ask career questions, find career related answers.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Advice Forums
Tap into Monster's online career forums and share advice with experts.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
The Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Jobs & Career Advice
Find jobs in your industry of choice and use the associated resources to boost your search.
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes
About Monster | Work for Monster | AdChoices | Investor Relations | Monster Network
Terms of Use | Privacy Centre | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap| Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.4.70.79-324
eTrustLogo