The NEW way to answer “what are your strengths and weaknesses?”

The NEW way to answer what are your strengths and weaknesses

Don’t do what everyone else does to prepare to answer “what are your strengths and weaknesses?”

Interviewers are now rephrasing the questions to expose your strengths and weaknesses!

There are lots of articles out there on how to answer 2 of the most popular interview questions:

1. What are your strengths?
2. What are your weaknesses?

Most of the articles focus on making your answer relevant to the job you are applying for and spinning the answers to come across in a favorable light to the interviewer.

While I do agree with this advice, I also think you need to go deeper here to ensure that you really understand what your strengths and weaknesses are before you interview.

Interviewers are now rephrasing the questions to expose your strengths and weaknesses!

This can catch you off guard so making this part of your preparation will help you to become self-aware and fully understand what the particular challenges are that you will face in your new role.

Interviewers are now asking the questions like this:

1) If I asked your most recent Manager what are the key strengths that you will bring to this role, what would they say?
2) If I asked your most recent Manager what are the key weaknesses that you will bring to this role, what would they say?

These questions are designed to encourage you to be specific about your strengths and weaknesses on three levels:

  • Strengths and weaknesses in your last role
  • Your relationship with your manager – do you even know what they would say?
  • The strengths and weaknesses you will bring to this new role – do you really know what these are?

The interviewer is testing your self-awareness

If you only prepare for the standard “what are your strengths and weaknesses?” questions then your answers may well fall short of what the interviewer is trying to get at. The interviewer wants to test your self-awareness.

Thinking about the answers to these newly phrased questions can really get you to understand what performance strengths you will actually bring to the new role and what your key weakness areas are likely to be. If you haven’t had that feedback conversation with your Manager then now is the time to have it.

Explore your strengths and weakness – Ask for feedback

If your Manager isn’t aware that you are applying for a new role, then don’t worry you can ask them in your next one to one conversation “I’m working on some personal development at the moment and I’m interested to know what you think my strengths and weaknesses are?”

OK, so you are putting them on the spot, and they might feel uncomfortable letting you know what they think your weaknesses are but push them on this. Not all Managers are great at giving feedback so do ask them again in a different way if you don’t immediately get an answer. Try re-phrasing “ well it’s particularly my weaknesses that I would like to start working on. Do you have any suggestions on where I should start?”

Connecting with a recent Manager

If you have left the company and your role then connect with your recent Manager on Linkedin. Ask them to write you a Linkedin recommendation.

When they have written a recommendation on Linkedin, DM them and ask for some advice. Share a couple of lines about the job you are applying for and ask them to share what they think the strengths and weaknesses you will bring to the new role you are applying for and where you should focus your development.

Your recent Manager is very likely to understand what your weaknesses are even if you aren’t. This will help you know what challenges you will indeed face when stepping into your new role.

Focus your preparation

Listening to your manager share what development points you have is a powerful tool to figure out how you can improve. It also helps you to focus your preparation. If your manager thinks you will be weak in these areas in the new role then it’s likely the recruiter or hiring manager will have identified these areas from your CV, Linkedin profile or may uncover them unexpectedly when they ask you questions at an interview.

You can also start to work on these weaknesses by trying to minimise them. Is there some reading, youtube vids or online training you can do to increase your awareness and knowledge in these areas?

A good answer looks like “I often ask my manager for feedback and she/he would say the weakness I would bring to this role is XXXX. I’ve been working hard to improve XXXX as part of my personal development by (EXAMPLES – shadowing colleagues, additional learning, self-study, coaching sessions).

Or try this “I often ask my manager for feedback and she/he would say the weakness I would bring to this role is XXXX. I’m a quick learner and I’ll happily put in the extra time to bring myself up to speed on XXXX.

The important thing is to choose a weakness that is not on the critical list of skills for the role and something that will not be part of the day to day tasks for this new role unless it is something you can learn. If you can demonstrate that you can improve quickly then that’s a good answer.

When you choose a weakness in your preparation, ask yourself, “can I learn how to do this ?” If the answer is yes then that can form part of your answer.

So get prepared and don’t be caught off guard!!!!

Here at Work It Sister, I’ll help you to be career confident and become a perfect candidate and get noticed by recruiters. I’ll show you how to write an amazing resume, raise your game online with a fantastic Linkedin profile, increase your job search success and get you ready to interview to get the job you want, get a promotion or move up the career ladder.
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Interview questions what are your strengths and what are your weaknesses

Need help rocking your interview? Land that dream job using these interview tips. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? #interviewtips | Interview questions, How to get a job, Interview preparation
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