Friends, I am back in my office recording for y’all. My wedding was such a blast!! Thank you to those who commented on my LinkedIn post and sent kind messages to celebrate with us! Sabbatical was the rest I needed. I will be doing a podcast on that in a couple of weeks.
A couple of quick announcements:
- Recruit the Employer will reopen Oct 21 – get on our email list to be the first to know and for a discounted price!
A follow-up to Our most popular episode
Our most popular episode is The Foolproof Way to Answer “Tell me About Yourself.” This is the follow-up episode because after “Tell me about yourself?”, this is the most sweat-inducing question to answer: “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”
In this episode, we’ll talk about:
- Why people struggle with this question
- Why companies and hiring managers actually ask this question
- Examples of strengths and examples of weaknesses
- A script of how to answer this question
- Discount code to our interview prep guide
Why people struggle with this question
There are so many reasons people struggle with this question. A few of these include:
- They think someone is out to get them
- They aren’t actually clear on what their strengths and weaknesses are
- They are too worried about what someone WANTS them to say vs. what is actually true
Here’s the truth: IT IS a deep question! It makes sense if you’re nervous. We wouldn’t ask this on a first date. This question touches on vulnerability, touches on insecurities, and can be a place where imposter syndrome starts to flare up.
But here’s the rest of the truth: this is a totally preparable question. You have to get your mindset right. And you can prepare yourself, your answers, and your mindset to rock your answer to this question.
Why companies ask this question
Hint: It’s not because they are out to get you. Companies are asking this to determine some very specific things. They want to know if you know yourself, are you confident + humble, and do you have any glaring weaknesses?
I like to use this equation to think about what’s going on here and what companies are looking for:
Character plus Self Awareness plus Skills
Remember you are the business owner of your own career. When you start to think of yourself like that, it helps you to reframe.
Evaluating Your Strengths
It can sometimes be really hard to evaluate your strengths in the midst of things. So I’m walking you through multiple ways you can think through this...before a job search, in the midst of your career, starting today:
- What are you celebrated for in your job?
- What are you doing when you feel like you’re in the “zone”?
- Write down 3 soft or hard skills that you can attach results or accomplishments to
When applying and interviewing for a new job, I strongly recommend that you use the job description as your study guide. Look at your strengths first, then the guide, and see where they match up. In an interview, match up your strengths with the job description you’ve studied. And know which of your weaknesses to share that won’t sink you.
And finally: I don’t want you to ever be embarrassed by your strengths. YOU HAVE THEM. YOU DID NOTHING TO GENETICALLY GARNER THEM, you just stewarded them well. You steward them to garner them. So let’s learn to matter-of-fact state our strengths. Humbly come to the table and say, “Hey, this is what I’m good at and bring to the team…”
Trust your instincts. You are allowed to have strengths and you are allowed to confidently talk about them, especially if you have data to back it up!
I found this quote by Simone Biles:
Point being, it’s okay to be confident in your success.
Understanding Your Weaknesses
Talking and thinking about your weaknesses are NOT a time to beat yourself up. Don’t get down on yourself here, friend. But also hear this: don’t beat around the bush.
These are typically things that are spotlight adjacent to what you HAVE to be good at to do your job well. It’s like the backup singer in the band...not the things in the spotlight in the job description, but maybe one over on the side. You can recognize it and say you’re working on improving them. Remember: it’s okay to talk about the elephant in the room. You can talk about your weaknesses in a positive way as well.
And also – my least favorite example of this is when someone says “perfectionism” is their weakness. This is not a true weakness. Share something that is true here – honest, humble, true.
Script to Answer This Question
For strengths, it’s about anchoring one or two strengths to a word or phrase first. Then share a story of when you exemplified it.
Based on feedback and self-reflection my biggest strength is my entrepreneurial spirit. I have a tendency to think outside the corporate mold and bring new ideas to the table that help companies move faster towards their goals. For instance, when I worked at Prudential - we [give an example….]
With weaknesses, it is all about what the actual weakness is – and then share how you’re working to improve that.
Yes, so the biggest weakness I see – that I’m working to improve – is my public speaking skill. Ever since I was a kid, I have gotten really nervous before having to speak publicly. I am doing [give an example] to grow here.
Want More info?
This is a question you should be able to answer now. Not just when you’re interviewing, but today. 6 months before you’re changing jobs. Really, anytime!
Grab The Ultimate Interview Prep Guide – and use our special discount code INTERVIEW10
The Foolproof Way to Answer “What are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?”
October 8, 2020