When job candidates describe their least-favorite part of an interview, many people will invariably mention the strengths and weaknesses question. Typically the first part of the question is enjoyable to answer and has the potential invoke good feelings. Plus, most of us enjoy the chance to showcase the positive side of ourselves. The discomfort sets in though when the conversation shifts to zone on our weaknesses. No one wants to think about their weaknesses but like it or not, everyone has them. Acting as if you’re free from fault is the best way to throw up a red flag when meeting with a staffing recruiter.
Two Sides of the Same Coin
Recognizing and admitting to personal strengths and weaknesses is a good way to determine if you’re well prepared to perform the skills in a particular job. Too often we don’t give enough time to considering our strengths and weaknesses until we’re in front of an interviewer. At this point, it’s often too late and a lack of response could come across as unprepared or that you’re hiding something.
For example, if you’re interviewing for an administrative or clerical position, an interviewer asking about a strength would want to hear examples showcasing organization, discipline and reliability. This is not the place where you’d want to share a negative such as lack of attention to detail. Interviewing for a position requiring skills you don’t possess is a waste of time for you and the staffing recruiter.
Recognizing the Opportunity for Improvement
Having a negative is admittedly a problem, but in many cases it’s also entirely fixable. (Insert a sigh of relief here.) Knowing and understanding what the weak point is makes it infinitely easier to begin correcting the problem. For instance, the fear of speaking in front of a group is a weakness for many people, but it can become positive by placing yourself in situations where you frequently have to do just that. Understanding this process is key to demonstrating to an interviewer you are self-aware and look for ways to improve. Candidates who do not strive to grow and change will be less desirable for employment.
Conducting a Full Personal Skills Assessment
Transferable Skills – learned through real world action and taken from one place to another (includes planning, organization, people skills, problem-solving and goal-setting)
Knowledge Skills – gathered through learning experiences in academic and job settings (includes education, languages, training and a variety of skills)
Personal Skills – unique to you and applicable on and off the job (includes friendliness, flexibility, personality, and the ability to be part of a team)
Crafting the Best Answer
Depending on the interviewer and the position considered, there are many ways to effectively answer the question about strengths and weaknesses. To ensure you hit the mark, consider how your unique strengths and weakness can be become an asset for the company and the position you’re interviewing for.
This article is brought to you by Staffing Kansas City, a full-service Kansas City employment agency that provides contract-to-hire, direct hire and temporary employment placement services.