What are your strengths?
a) Don’t be concerned about modesty… go for it…
b) Avoid saying what you think the interviewer wants to hear e.g. good team player, conscientious…
c) Consider your strengths in the light of the job you are applying for- do they fit at all- or could you get a better fit.
Have prepared 3 or 4 strengths- and think through specific examples to go with each of them- just in case the interviewer probes a little deeper! Remember- being different can be a good thing.
A dictionary is a good starting point to get your creative thinking started.
What are your weaknesses?
We can’t avoid weaknesses, but equally don’t be so honest that you talk yourself out of the job! Getting the right balance can be tricky- if you say you don’t have any, you run the risk of being perceived as arrogant- if not deluded!
If you turn the interview into a confessional they may run a mile.
You will need to decide for yourself your personal boundary and make sure that you do not cross over it.
Make sure you only mention one weakness and preferably one that is not essential to the job!
The perceived wisdom is to share a weakness that could also be interpreted as a positive. For example:
Intolerant of incompetence
However, experienced interviewers will have heard this kind of thing before. Only say you are a perfectionist- if you really are.
Make sure you are aware of the impact of your weaknesses on others around you- and outline any steps you have taken to improve your weakness.
An example could be “I know my team think I’m too demanding at times- I realise I do tend to work them very hard- but I am getting better at rewarding their efforts and focussing on the positives as well.”