You may not think so, but job interviews can get quite personal—especially when an interviewer, who you’ve known for about 10 minutes, asks you what your strengths and weaknesses are.

Taking a hard look at your strengths and weaknesses, and learning to communicate them effectively in a professional setting is a skill you must master to ace an interview.

If you haven’t figured out how to answer this commonly asked question in interviews yet, here are a few tips that can help.

A woman interviewing a candidate for a job

What Does It Mean When the Interviewer Asks “Tell Us About Your Strengths And Weaknesses”?

You’ll almost always hear these questions in one form or another during a job interview because employers want to why you think you’re a good fit for the job and the company. They use this question to assess your potential, check if you’re self-aware, and see if you’re willing to hone your skills to grow.

How to Determine Your Strengths

Think about soft skills and hard skills.

With hard skills, you can simply list your abilities—for instance, your proficiency in using a particular program or your command on different languages.

However, with soft skills, you have to tell them the story. If your responses include “I’m a good communicator,” “I’m a team player,” or “I’m good at conflict resolution,” you must give instances of how you used these skills to solve a problem or take charge of a situation.

Identify Your Weaknesses

Determining our strengths is easy; the hard part is reflecting on your weaknesses and identifying your failures. This part of the question is where the interviewer tries to ascertain if you set aside the time to identify your shortcomings and improve on them.

Show the employer that you have a growth-mindset by demonstrating a sense of self-awareness and honesty.

If your answer includes “I’m impatient,” “I’m disorganized,” or “I cannot self-regulate and that leads to burnout,” show that you’re in the process of overcoming it.

An interview candidate trying to identify his weaknesses

Weaving a Story for Success

If you have a list of your strengths and weaknesses, the hard part is just beginning.

It isn’t enough to merely list your strengths and weaknesses for the interviewer. You should be prepared to back up each of them with a relevant anecdote that paints your personality positively.

For your strengths, showcase how you effectively used them to accomplish something in your career. Whereas, for a weakness, identify how it had negative repercussions, and how you used the setback to improve your skills.

You must be mindful that you don’t make your flaws sound immutable. Be wary of incriminating yourself and try to strike a reflective tone.

This interview question can be tough to maneuver through, so if you think you need a little extra help, reach out to an expert job interview coach near you!

The Interview Guru™ offers premier executive interview coaching and online interview training for employees to help individuals apply and land jobs across various industries.

Whether you require training for a panel interview or want to ace a virtual interview, our expert interview coaches have got your back!

Contact us to find out more about our services today.