Identifying your strengths and weaknesses during an interview

Wednesday, January 09, 2019 at 1am

Whether you are in the midst of a job search or you already have one, it’s likely that you will be asking yourself some questions. Where am I, professionally speaking? What sorts of jobs should I be looking at? Have I done everything I need to do to get the job I want?

So, you have begun your job search and are preparing your resume and getting yourself interview ready. A key element to being successful with securing a new job is understanding what you are good at so you can effectively sell yourself.

The vast majority of employers will ask you a question around this during an interview. For example, “What are you key strengths?” “What skills can you bring to our business?”.

Find out how to identify your key strengths and be ready to answer these questions:

Do your own SWOT analysis looking at your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. The key with this is to be honest with yourself, listing what you would like to think are your strengths will not be useful. 

Think about what you enjoy and equally what you do not. Typically, you enjoy what you are good at, so this can be a simple but effective indicator.

  • Ask for regular feedback from your career advisors, and peers.
  • Review past appraisals and one-to-ones. Don’t just look at what they identified as strengths but also areas of development. Have you improved on these? Are they now a strength?


Handling SWOT Interviews

Strengths: Think about positives which are your key selling points

What influences and motivates you?  What are your attributes for success?

Talk about your personal characteristics and traits; for example, good analytical skills, technical experience with specific software or products and problem solving.


Weaknesses: Areas you need to improve on

This is the toughest aspect of a SWOT analysis to communicate to your potential future employer.  Be realistic and show that you are aware and working towards addressing your weaknesses, demonstrating how you’re planning on turning the weakness into a strength.

For example; Getting bogged down with detail or finding it difficult to say 'No’ with a full schedule.


Opportunities: Positive external conditions to take advantage of

There’s no better way than to start off with opportunities you see in the job you are interviewing for. This will show that you have done your research and have been able to align how you can apply your skills and strengths to the role, and adding value to the business. 

For example, mentioning the strengths that you have - good communication skills, for example, you could use your expertise to train and develop new members of the team, improving your presentation skills and confidence as an up and coming leader.    


Threats: Handling negative external conditions you can't control but can be minimized

This can be anything including routine threats you’ll face at work every day; for example; overworking yourself by taking on too many responsibilities. 

Suggest how you can minimize these threats; for example; using time management to avoid getting overworked and upgrading technical skills to keep up with industry changes to cope with the evolving job requirements.

Using this tool will arm you with a list of strengths that you can effectively sell to future employers. You will equally be aware of your weakness and can take steps to develop these.

Honesty is crucial above all else. There may be a few near misses, but in time you caould well find your perfect job match. Good luck!


Written by Ifi Ekong

Ifi heads up operations and business school relationships at leading online jobs and careers platform QS Global-Workplace, driving the expansion of an actively global network of professionals looking to progress their careers.


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