25+ Strengths and Weaknesses for Interviews (+ List, How to Answer) [2020]

strengths and weaknesses

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses before you go into a job interview can be helpful. It’s one of the most popular interview questions, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Preparing both a few strengths and a few weaknesses can make sure that your hiring manager is impressed with your answer and feels compelled to continue asking you the rest of the interview questions.

Your prospective employer likes to know the answer to this question as it helps them to assess your competencies within the organization. Think of this as understanding your personality traits and character strengths or character weaknesses. When you’re open about this, your employer can better position you within the company and ensure your success as an employee.

As the interviewer asks you this interview question among the other questions they ask, they are continuing to determine what your true greatest strength and greatest weaknesses are. Don’t be fooled by the interviewer simply asking you this question and then moving on. They will be assessing your character throughout the interview.

The interviewer might decide to ask you one of the following interview questions:

When you hear these questions, you’ll know it’s time to present a strength or weakness using the following method.

How to Answer

When answering this common interview question, always share a story. Don’t simply list a personal strength or your biggest weakness. Think through a story you can share in a work situation that presents one of the strengths or weaknesses that you’ve decided suits your personality type.

When presenting a weakness, always allude to the weakness and then end the answer with how you might change this weakness for the future. A way that you’ve determined you’re going to change in order to overcome that weakness. Alternatively, for a strength, how you’ll continue to embrace that strength and continue to use your personal ability.

Here are sample answers for both:

“I’d like to think that one of my greatest strengths is active listening. There have been multiple occasions where teams I’ve been part of have pulled me aside and told me how they appreciate feeling heard during stressful parts of the project. And I feel strongly that active listening is the first step in showing management skills or communication skills that can lead to great business outcomes.”

“One weakness that I know I have is a lack of patience. It comes from wanting to move quickly, achieve the business goals, and continue growing. Though, for a lot of people around me, like my colleagues, this part of my personality can feel uncomfortable. And I have to remind myself that making others feel uncomfortable, even when I have great intentions, is not going to lead to success. I’ve created ways to adjust my patience in real-time.”

In both circumstances and answers, we have alluded to a skill or soft skills. Active listening, management, communication, and patience. All of these are great portable skills or transferable skills that your interviewer is going to appreciate you bringing up.

If you’d like to go one step further in answering this interview question, present a task and situation to your interviewer, in the form of a business opportunity. And then mention which professional traits (both good and bad) that were used to create the outcome (again both good and bad).

List of Strengths

List of Weaknesses

Determining Your Own Strength and Weakness

If you aren’t sure what your biggest strength or weakness is, there are a few options to figure this out. The first is to speak with a previous colleague. And ask them what your employee strengths are. This could be a former direct supervisor or manager. They can inform you what it was like to be on the job with you, both good and bad. Ask someone from your last job, as sometimes asking a professional from too far back of a job in your history can be challenging for them to remember a specific example of working with you that can be useful.

There’s another way to uncover key strengths and a personal weakness is to take a personality test. These personality tests can help you to identify ways to improve in the workplace. The Caliper Assessment test is the best one to take. These tests are especially useful in identifying strengths and useful weaknesses.

Interview Question Tips

When asked what your key strengths are, don’t simply answer with something vague, like “I’m a hard worker” or “I’m a good team player” or “I’m a good fit for the role.” These are not very useful for the interviewer.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.

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