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Interview FAQ :Deal with questions based on strengths and weaknesses

Strengths and weakness based questions are an extremely common part of interviews. Why does the evaluator ask you this question? 
  • To find out how well you understand yourself.
  • To find out how your strengths are related to your past experiences and to future expectations
  • Every person has some weak points. The evaluators would like to know whether you understand what your weaknesses are and how you plan to remove these weaknesses.
Now that we have covered why is this question type asked, let’s explore the most stated strengths and weaknesses.
  • "Most stated" Strengths: 
AttributeOperational Definition
Hard workLong hours, emotional attachment, physical energy, self discipline
Analytical StrengthClarity of thought, ability to see relationships among diverse concepts.
InitiativeAbility to be a 'self starter'
Attention to DetailThoroughness, orderliness, self-starter
LeadershipVision, communication by example, consistency between action, thoughts and deeds.
PersuasivenessLogical, oral and written communication skills, negotiation skills
EntrepreneurshipAbility to seek opportunities and enlist support of low-cost resources, creativity and business acumen
Value for 'Values'Desire for qualitative upgradations, missionary zeal
Influencing without Positional PowerPolitical acumen, social sensitivity
PerseveranceSelf-confidence(not dogmatism), managing disappointments, innovation
Team skillsAbility to manage and work in group and with individuals from diverse backgrounds. Sensitivity to the needs of group members.
Good Communication SkillsAbility to put points across in a manner that others understand, fluency is important
From the table above, you can use the operational definitions for your mentioned strengths.
  • "Most stated" Weaknesses:
    The weaknesses that you state should have a positive connotation and a remedial plan.
AttributeNegative ConnotationPositive Connotation
Over-ConfidentDo not understand limits of my capabilityBelieve in what I do
Set Very High goalsDo not understand limits of my capabilityAmbitious
Stubborn in implementation of rules, regulation, values etcDo not consider ground realities, difficulty in dealing with bureaucracy and real-life problemsHave good value system
Procrastination - put off things to a later periodFall behind time schedules etc.Take time to analyze problems, consult with others before taking decisions
Slow StarterTake too much time to decide on ideas and plansTake time to analyze problems, consult with others before taking decisions - so that in the long run better implementation
  • Weaknesses (additional points):
    State those weaknesses that do not really effect your capability. 'Bad handwriting' is something you can consciously work on, but it is not a fatal error if you fail to correct it. On the contrary, you do not want to state 'poor memory' or 'no awareness of computers' as weaknesses in an interview session. 
    Simply stating those weaknesses that are necessarily strengths can be a problem at times. The interviewer may turn around and say 'I asked you for your weakness, and you are telling me about your strengths'. In this case, it is critical to have examples or instances where your weakness has let you down, or held you back in some way.
  • How do you decide on your strengths and weaknesses? 
    Consider the following points when you decide on what strengths and weaknesses you have:
    • Past Experience: You should be able to justify your strengths and weaknesses by stating past experiences usually ask you instance and examples. Examiners usually ask you instance where you demonstrated a particular strength or where a weakness landed you in problem.
    • Future Expectation: You should be able to justify how your strengths and weaknesses are going to help in achieving your future expectations.
  • What other questions could be asked related to your Strengths and Weaknesses?
    • How will your strengths and weaknesses help you in your course/job?
    • Could you tell us some instances to demonstrate your strengths and weaknesses?
    • What have you planned to overcome your weaknesses?
  • Some questions where you could state your strengths and weaknesses:
    • Tell us about yourself.
    • What are your ambitions in life?
    • Why do you want to join our institute?
    • What are your hobbies? How have your hobbies helped you?
  1. What should I wear to the Interview?
  2. How do I greet the Interviewer?
  3. What kind of Body Language should I use?
  4. What if I cannot answer the question being asked to me?
  5.  Do I have to ask questions at the end of the interview?
  6.  Significance of the time of the interview
  7. How should I handle myself in a "stress interview" situation?
  8. How to introduce yourself in the interview?
  9. How to handle questions based on family background?
  10. Tricky questions related to your academic performance
  11. Tackle questions related to your hobbies
  12. State the right career objective
  13. Where do you see yourself five years from now?
If you have any question, suggestion or feedback, feel free to post it in the discussion box given below.
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