How to talk about your strengths and weaknesses at job interview

One of the hardest things in a job interview is talking about your strengths and weaknesses.

Will you come across as too arrogant? Too shy? Or not confident enough?

Here is everything you need to know about giving the right kind of answers when someone asks you to talk about your strengths and weaknesses at interview.

Talking about your strengths

1) Draw a line to specific experiences

Talking about your strengths at interview is always easier if you can point to specific experience you have that shows off that strength.

Think of a situation you were in or a responsibility you held where you were able to demonstrate that specific ability.

2) Cover both hard and soft skills

These days, more businesses with IT, manufacturing, and engineering job vacancies than ever before are prioritising looking for people with strong soft skills as well as hard skills.

This is something of a change from how the industry used to be. But it’s well worth taking into account considering the current jobs market with its increasing numbers of Gen Z candidates.

Soft skills are things like communication, analytical, or leadership skills. Things that don’t always come with a qualification attached.

3) Use examples

Good examples of how to discuss your strengths during an interview might be:

  • “During my time as head web developer, I transitioned from frontline development work and expanded my leadership skills. This was a particular challenge as we were recruiting heavily and needed to organise a training program and get everyone settled.”

  • “As manufacturing manager at my previous company, I gained excellent communication skills as I needed to liaise between all departments on every project.”

Talking about your weaknesses in a job interview

1) Be honest (but don’t sabotage yourself)

There are some weaknesses you would never want to have (or admit to) at interview. These are things that will directly impact your ability to do the job in question.

If you were applying for a CAD engineer job, for example, admitting you didn’t know how to use any CAD software would be an obvious problem!

Instead, target areas that may not be directly relevant to your role, such as:

  • Presentation skills
  • Public speaking skills
  • Delegation skills

2) Describe how you’re working on the weakness

No matter the type of weakness you’ve identified, it’s important to show you’ve recognised and are acting to correct the problem:

  • If it’s a hard skill you’re lacking, be sure to say which course you’re doing to gain the necessary knowledge.

  • If it’s a soft skill, mentioning some sort of plan you have to address the problem should be enough.

3) Use examples

Sensible examples of how to talk about your weakness during a job interview might include:

  • “I sometimes struggle with presentations as I find being the centre of attention makes me nervous. I have recently been looking into a course to improve my skills as I recognise that this data science role will involve me presenting my findings.”

  • “I sometimes have problems forcing myself to delegate tasks when I know they are vital to completing a project. I am aware of this and have recently started using new software to make delegation easier.”

Discussing your strengths and weaknesses at interview

Talking about your strengths and weaknesses during a job interview can be simple and straightforward. The main thing to remember is to support your strengths with good examples and support your weaknesses with solutions. Then you should be all set to impress.

Ready to interview for your ideal position?

Let’s talk. Ernest Gordon is a specialist IT, manufacturing and engineering recruitment company. Every day, we place candidates with the job that’s just right for them.

Get in touch with us today. Tell us about the industry you’re in and the job you’re looking for. We’ll get to work.