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Interview Question: “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”

The reality in interviews is that interviewers aren’t necessarily asking new/ relevant to the role questions. The tools to enable interviewers to have relevant questions to the interviewee AND the role aren’t always deemed worth the investment. So questions such as “What are your strengths and weaknesses” remain common. So how do you answer these run of the mill questions authentically so the interviewer gets to know you and appropriately so that you get the desired out come of the interview?

Let’s break them down. “What are your weaknesses?” Makes most people cringe inside however let’s adjust your perspective. What if THIS weakness ask is the good question? This gives you the opportunity to prove how self aware you are. This give you the opportunity to prove that you know where you have to spend extra time, or what personal hacks you have learned to overcome items you struggle with. For example, if you are not a task oriented person maybe you have learned you have to do these items first thing in the morning when you are most awake and alert or if you don’t do conflict well this is good for a manager to know that will potentially employ you. Whatever your weaknesses is, answer this question with HOW you discovered it and HOW you work to overcome it. No-one is perfect and what this question best answers is how self aware you are and how you overcome challenges. It’s not about what you can’t do, but how you see adversity. Choose one, don’t come up with a laundry list of short comings.

Now let’s talk about the latter, “What are your strengths?” This might seem like the easy one, right? This question is better phrased as: What do you do well with consistency? What do you bring to the job that you are applying for and why is it a match? This is the question that you should be preparing for when prepping for an interview. What can you bring to the role that no-one else can? What is your humble brag? Answer this question with things you do CONSISTENTLY strong. Maybe it’s not work related. Do you workout every day for 30 minutes? Do you have a meditation practice that you have been doing for the last 6 months that you can speak to? Proven sales results year over year? Customer testimonials that speak to your results? Even if it’s not work related, your ability to consistently stick to a program of some kind and deliver results is a strength. BEHAVIORS that we have outside of work translate to behaviors in a work role. If you are currently in the work force and looking to change jobs or reentering the work force as a parent, returning from Covid, or whatever reason you have been out of work, we all have something we do with consistently and we do well. Speak to that.

Here’s the added benefit to answering these questions in this manner, let your interviewer get to know you. We spend more time with those we work with than we do with our own chosen families so speaking to our behaviors lets those that we may work with get to know us. Remember that an interview is for us to get to the interviewer as much as it is for them to get to know us. Find out now if it is a good fit. While we want to put our best foot forward, be authentic. Make sure that the role is a good fit for you and them so when the job offer comes, you know if you should take it just like they knew if they should offer it.

For information about pre- and post-hire screenings, training, and coaching reach out to Oxygen Coaching Group at


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