Free Interview Answers - What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Prepare to get the job you want with free interview answers to the most common interview questions. Use these answer guidelines and sample interview answers to prepare for the most frequently asked job interview question "What are your strengths and weaknesses?"

Strengths and weaknesses keyboard buttons with text "What are your strengths and weaknesses?"

This is a tough question to answer in your job interview and preparing a good answer beforehand will ensure that you respond in a professional and confident manner.

Always consider the job you are interviewing for. Tailor your strengths to the position and show why you are the right job candidate.

Free Interview Answers - What are your strengths?

Relevance is key. How do your strengths qualify you as the right candidate to make a success of this job?

Avoid the mistake of frustrating the interviewer as you describe what a great athlete you are and list your latest sports achievements during your sales job interview.

However, with some thought you can translate almost all of your strong points into job-relevant attributes that will contribute to your success in the job.

When answering this job interview question you can point out how the determination and discipline you need to be a good athlete are certainly important strengths in a sales position. For example:

"To achieve as an athlete I had to stick to a tough training program and make sure I kept myself motivated . I had to be disciplined and determined. I believe these strengths strongly contribute to my success in sales"

Candidates often find it hard to verbalize their strengths, so spend some time thinking about this before the interview.

What are your interests? Building beautiful doll house furniture may not immediately seem to have any relevance to that accounting position, but the attention to detail needed for this is definitely a job-relevant strength. Accountant strengths and weaknesses examples.

What have been your successes, what attributes did you have to demonstrate to achieve them? Ask your friends, colleagues and family to tell you what they appreciate about you. How will these attributes benefit a future employer?

Don't just list your strengths, back them up with facts. An attribute is far more powerful if it is rooted in a relevant example. Effective free interview answers to the question include:

"I'm an adaptable person. I work for three different managers, they have very different management styles and  expectations of me. I am able to adjust my approach to meet each of their needs"

Avoid over-used, vague terms such as "people's person". Be specific.

"I am good with customers. I enjoy the challenge of turning a dissatisfied customer into a satisfied one. Just last week I had an experience when ......."  and quote a recent example of how you successfully managed an unhappy client.

How to identify your strengths

This strengths-finder will help you to identify your greatest strengths.

Focus on two to three key strengths in your interview answer.

Key strengths examples

Good examples include:

  • organizational and planning skills
  • perseverance
  • persuasive ability
  • communication skills
  • leadership ability
  • stress tolerance
  • ability to learn and apply new information and skills
  • flexibility
  • independence
  • problem-solving
  • creativity
  • technical and professional knowledge
  • reliability
  • self-motivation
  • initiative

Get help finding out what your strengths are. Follow the practical steps at what are your strengths? to identify your own strengths.

View this comprehensive list of strengths and weaknesses

Know the strengths or competencies that are relevant to different jobs. Go to this job skills list

These are the 12 core competencies identified for success across the majority of career fields. Use them as a guide when answering the strengths interview question.

Students strengths and weaknesses list

Free interview answers - what are your weaknesses?

With this typical interview question the interviewer is assessing your self awareness and insight rather than your weaknesses.

The ability to acknowledge a weakness is often seen as a sign of maturity and wisdom. Refer to a true weakness but show that you are dealing with it proactively by describing it as an area for development.

In your answer relate what steps you have taken to try and improve on this area. Use these example free interview answers to help you:

"I'm impatient with people who don't work at the same pace as me but I'm learning to manage this. I make sure that they have the right resources for the job, I follow up to see that they are on track and I step in and help when needed"

"I can procrastinate, I am aware of this and make sure I answer my emails and messages straight away. I update my calendar as soon as I have a new task or appointment, this really helps"

A good guide is to acknowledge one or two weaknesses, describe the efforts made to overcome these and end your story on a positive note.

"I've been reluctant to delegate. I have had to re-evaluate this as it was creating a big workload for me. I assign each person a specific, manageable task and then follow up regularly to see that it is being done properly, this seems to work well"

Some weaknesses can be interpreted as a strength. Examples include:

"I can be a bit aggressive in reaching my goals"

"At times I can get too involved in other people's problems, trying to help them"

This approach, making a weakness sound like a strength, can be successful but interviewers are usually alert to candidates trying to do this. It is much better to talk about a true weakness that you are aware of and that you are taking practical steps to improve on.

List of 5 common workplace weaknesses infographic

How can you improve on your weaknesses?

Always include the steps you are taking to improve on your weakness in your interview answer.

Find a full list of common workplace weaknesses and how to improve on them at interview questions weaknesses

Which example of weaknesses applies best to you?

Choose the most appropriate example of weaknesses and develop a convincing interview answer around it.

These are two of the most difficult questions to answer in the job interview. Prepare using these sample free interview answers and stand out as the right candidate.

Don't miss these pages


 List of Workplace  Weaknesses


Top 5 Examples of Weaknesses


List of Workplace Strengths

If you found these guidelines to answering "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" helpful then visit our sample job interview questions for more interview questions and answers.

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