When you’re preparing for your upcoming interview, it’s always a good idea to practice answers to common interview questions. And regardless of your industry, most interviewers will ask about your strengths and weaknesses. These questions are used to help the interviewer understand if you have the right qualities to do the job—plus your level of self-awareness and steps you take to be the very best you can in your career.
How to answer: What are your greatest strengths?
When answering, think about what you’re good at based on what the job requires. For example, if you’re applying for a job as an editor, close attention to detail would be a valuable skill. Be as specific as possible about your strengths, and give examples if you can. A vague answer such as, “I’m a hard worker” doesn’t mean much until you explain that you often come in early and leave late if it’s required to get your work done and meet deadlines.
How to answer: What are your greatest weaknesses?
This is always a difficult question because no one likes to talk about their shortcomings. However, the best way to answer is to be honest. Interviewers can see right through thin answers such as, “I’m a perfectionist.” They know the old trick of trying to disguise a strength as a weakness.
Instead, show the interviewer your maturity and professionalism—the ability to recognize a growth opportunity in yourself and take steps to improve. You could say, “At my last job, I wasn’t always the best communicator. I didn’t see eye to eye with one of my coworkers, and it was making it difficult to work together. So I made time every day to touch base with her, talk about the project we were working on together, and make a list of things to accomplish each day. Now we get along much better and the quality of our output has improved.”
Practice prior to your interview
Don’t get caught unprepared. A few days before your interview, think through common interview questions and how you can answer them. Then, practice running through your answers. You’ll be able to enter your interview calm and prepared—ready to do a great job.
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