Describe Your Strengths and Weaknesses: Good Interview Questions to Prepare for, and How to Do It

Good interview questions to prepare for: When it comes to good interview questions to prepare for, “Describe your strengths”, and “Describe your weaknesses” are two extremely good interview questions to prepare for. The following step-by-step strategy will help you be ready for these to especially good interview questions to prepare for.

1. Develop your response to, “Describe your strengths”

One of the best good interview questions to prepare for is, “Give me a list of your strengths.” Your reply has the capability to make you look like a champ or a chump, depending on how you respond to challenging, good interview questions to prepare for such as this one. To build a great response, let’s break down a strategy for responding to one of the most important good interview questions to prepare for. Begin by brainstorming a few of your strengths:

To create your reply to “Describe your strengths”, one of the most important good interview questions to prepare for, jot a few thoughts about each of these items on a separate index card or sticky note:

What is one skill or characteristic that you are complimented on frequently?
What are you often asked to do, because you’re so good at it?
What skill or activity comes easily to you, because you seem to have a natural talent?
What quality about yourself are you most proud?
If we asked your mother to list one of your strengths, what would she say?
What have you received high marks for on performance reviews and / or on school assignments?

Again, spend some time playing with your responses to these questions, choosing two or three to use as content for your answer to, “Describe your strengths,” one of the most important good interview questions to prepare for. Depending on what you choose, you may want to include a What, How & Proof story to serve as evidence of that strength as you develop responses to important good interview questions to prepare for.

For instance in preparing to answer, “Describe your strengths”, one of the key good interview questions to prepare for, I could also include a What, How & Proof story to support my strength in writing:

“One of my strengths is writing. As an example, I did some research about my local newspaper and discovered that readers had interest in having a career advice column once each week. I put together some sample columns, sold the idea to the editor, and have been writing a column every week for the past 11 years—that’s over 500 columns! The column has become one of the most popular in the paper. It’s the only one that runs every week, and it’s been placed on the front page of the business section. Plus I regularly receive compliments from readers on how much they like my advice and writing style.”

When it comes to developing your response to the strengths question—one of the most valuable good interview questions to prepare for—you might worry, “Do I really have any strengths about myself to describe?” or, “Won’t I sound like a bragger if I talk about my strengths?’ Yes, braggers are boring. But not being able to articulate your strengths doesn’t make you appear modest—it makes you sound weak and incompetent, especially when it comes to key good interview questions to prepare for. This plan allows you to create a strong response to key good interview questions to prepare for, such as the “Describe your strengths” question, while being truthful (not “braggy”), and to present it in a factual, comfortable way.

When it comes to your strategy for good interview questions to prepare for, one helpful approach is to lead your strength statements with, “Other people have complimented me on my ability to…” so that you don’t have to feel as though you’re blowing your own horn.

Another consideration: When it comes to good interview questions to prepare for, if it makes sense, match your strengths to the requirements for the job. For instance, if you’re interviewing for a sales job, and one of your strengths is being able to build great long-term relationships, it would be in your best interest to share that information about yourself because those two pieces fit so nicely together.

2. Develop your response to “Describe your weaknesses”.

Of the many interview questions you may be asked, one of the most popular good interview questions to prepare for is, “Describe your weaknesses”. Develop your response to the important weakness good interview questions to prepare for by following these guidelines:

For “weakness” type good interview questions to prepare for, choose a weakness that you sincerely consider to be a flaw, but that you’ve taken steps to improve.
For “weakness” type good interview questions to prepare for, choose a weakness that isn’t a “deal breaker” for the job. For instance, if the position requires you to provide customer service, don’t describe one of your weaknesses to be, “I get impatient with people.”
For “weakness” type good interview questions to prepare for, choose a weakness that you have the potential to improve, rather than a character flaw that is unlikely to be changed. “I sometimes have a messy desk when I get busy,” is due to a lack of skill in organization, and can be corrected by learning better systems for keeping things in order. “I have a bad temper,” is a character flaw typically isn’t easily corrected.

Brainstorm five weaknesses to see which one or two might be used in an interview. Aim to develop at least two or three weakness statements when working on your strengths and weaknesses responses to two of the most popular good interview questions to prepare for (each just a minute or two in length), and practice these until you can deliver a to-the-point description of each fault, along with your past or current improvement strategy.

Excerpted and adapted from “Career Coward’s Guide to Interviewing” by Katy Piotrowski, M.Ed.