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Turning Weaknesses into Strengths: Interview Tips for Fresh Graduates

06-02-2024

Have you ever left an interview feeling confused or unsure after being asked about your strengths and weaknesses?  

You may be asked to describe your strengths and weaknesses during the interview. Many job candidates need help with how to approach this question. Being strategic is vital when faced with tricky topics like strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, often, interviewees stumble over their answers, come across as overly defensive, or fall into negative self-scrutiny. 

However, establishing the appropriate context can give hiring managers an honest, thoughtful answer highlighting their self-awareness and professionalism. It's essential to prepare your response to the standard job interview question "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" even if it is not asked directly. This will allow you to give an honest and convincing description of your skills and how you plan to develop them. 

What Do Interviewers Mean When They Ask About Your Weaknesses?

It is essential to understand why interviewers ask the dreaded question. They are not trying to be overly critical but rather to determine whether: 

  • You are honest about your shortcomings 

  • Your skills and abilities make you a perfect fit for the role 

  • You are willing to compensate for and overcome your weaknesses 

  • You can handle adversities and challenging situations with ease 

Fresh graduates often avoid discussing their strengths and weaknesses to seem more competent to their employers. However, being open about your strengths and weaknesses can be beneficial in the long run. It can help you identify areas for improvement and celebrate your successes. So, how can you strike the right balance when discussing your strengths and weaknesses with your employer?

1. List Down Your Weaknesses

We all have weaknesses, but it can be difficult to admit them. When answering interview questions, it's important to be honest and select an answer that doesn't include essential qualities or skills for the position. You can also mention qualities that you're currently working on improving. Doing this shows the hiring manager that you're self-aware and committed to personal and professional growth. Some examples of weaknesses are: 

  • Procrastination 

  • Difficulty with public speaking 

  • Being overly critical of oneself 

  • Struggling with time management 

  • Struggling with delegation 

  • Difficulty with accepting feedback 

  • Being too detail-oriented 

  • Struggling with prioritising tasks 

  • Lack of experience in a particular skill or software 

  • Struggling with multitasking 

You may need to personalise your script according to the weaknesses you want to present to your interviewer. You need to know how to identify your weaknesses while showing that you are competent in addressing them if you are employed.

2. Be Self-Aware

Demonstrate a healthy level of self-awareness during a job interview, as employers want to know whether you understand your shortcomings. Before the interview, you can comprehensively evaluate your hard and soft skills.  

Hard skills are skill sets that are easy to quantify, such as writing and accounting. Soft skills, on the other hand, encompass your traits like teamwork, leadership and communication abilities. Think of soft skills as marketable traits that are best demonstrated with past experiences as examples. To identify your soft skills, work backwards from these experiences.  

The main point is to recognise your weakness genuinely. You don't need to go into detail during the interview, but be aware of your strengths and weaknesses and be ready to discuss them if required. 

3. Show Your Eagerness To Improve

It's not enough to share your weaknesses with others; you also need to have a plan for how you will improve upon them. This is an opportunity to turn a negative situation into a positive one. Consider taking a course, expanding your skill set, taking on new responsibilities, or finding a mentor to guide you. By being proactive, you can turn your weaknesses into strengths.

One of the most feared interview questions is when the interviewer asks about your strengths and weaknesses. But, if you take some time to prepare a thoughtful response, you can create a unique story about yourself and your goals. As you prepare your answers, try to portray your weaknesses as challenges you’ve overcome and your strengths as the reason you’re an excellent fit for the job. 

Employers appreciate candidates who are continuously seeking ways to improve themselves. So, don't be intimidated the next time you are asked about your strengths and weaknesses! Show your best side and demonstrate everything you have to offer. 

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Interview TipsGraduates