CAREER EXPERT feat Chris Mead | Issue 81 of HEADHUNT


Dear Chris,

I am often asked to name my strengths and weaknesses during an interview. I can easily highlight my strengths but how do Iappropriately address my weaknesses without jeopardising my chances for the role I am going for?


Dear Shermeen,

I am pleased to hear you are easily able to identify your strengths, and I agree it can often be a difficult question to answer when asked to put the spotlight on your weaknesses. My advice is to identify a weakness you can turn into another way to impress.

Think of a real weakness that you have overcome (just make sure it is not one of the key requirements for the role) in your previous executive jobs and explain how you  overcame it to become a stronger performer.

You have two options — use a professional weakness such as a lack of experience (not ability) on your part in one area that is not vital for the job. The second option is to use a personal or professional weakness that could also be considered a strength and describe the steps that you have taken to combat it. An example would be, “I know my team thinks I’m too demanding at times - I tend to drive them pretty hard but I’m getting
much better at using the carrot and not the stick.”

If you share how happy you are about the improvements you have made to address your weaknesses, you demonstrate your honesty and show that you will work to find a solution to any problem.

I’ll also share a few tips regarding the strengths question, because in your job search, you will encounter it as often as the weakness question. To answer the strengths question, simply memorise a list of your best selling points.  The interviewer is after a straightforward answer as to what you are good at and how it is going to add value. This is a very standard question in any interview and there is no excuse for being unprepared. Concentrate on discussing your main strengths. List three or four explanations
of how they could benefit the employer. Strengths to consider include technical proficiency; ability to learn quickly; determination to succeed; positive attitude; your ability to relate to people and achieve a common goal. You may be asked to give examples of the above so make sure you are able to follow up with some.

Good luck.

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

Chris Mead
General Manager
HAYS Singapore

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