What are your weaknesses?

May 2, 2019 | Job Interview | Nathalie Burg

Frequently asked interview questions and how to respond

You know them - or at least some of them: the most frequently asked questions in job interviews. Yet, only very few people know how best to respond to them.

"Why do you think you are the right person for this job?" "What are your strengths?" "How well can you handle criticism?" That's the sort of questions recruiters like asking most of all. Here are a few suggestions on how to best prepare for some of them:

Tell us something about yourself!

Address your answer to this question to your professional career. Do not disclose personal details unless expressly requested to do so.

Why are you the right person for the job?

To this question the following applies: even though it almost invites you to, never compare yourself with other candidates! Rather react by stressing the fact that it is a mutual need. Emphasise that you need the job just as much as the company needs you.

How well can you deal with stressful situations? In this case, describe previous situations in which you had to work under pressure and how you mastered them.

Do you have weaknesses? If yes, what are they?

Of course, you should answer the first question with "yes". No matter how confident or talented you are, nobody is perfect. However, the answer to the second part of the question should not be a list of all your bad qualities. Instead, try to show your interviewer with humorous answers that weaknesses do not affect you professionally. For example, with answers like "I spend too much time in the morning worrying about my clothes and therefore prefer to get up half an hour earlier than necessary", you are showing that you choose your work clothes very carefully.

Why were you unemployed for so long?

Highlight your productivity. Point out to the recruiter that you have used the time to do some courses, try out different things or just find yourself. Whatever you do, do not give them the impression that you "took it easy" while off work.

How well can you deal with stressful situations?

Questions like this must be answered with careful prudence. In this case, describe previous situations in which you had to work under pressure and how you mastered them. Make clear that a certain level of stress improves your performance.

What are your interests and hobbies apart from work?

Do not hesitate to describe how you spend your free time, list some of your hobbies and interests, and try to relate them to your professional skills. Which of your hobbies really burns off energy and lets you forget the world around you? Which of your hobbies might help you optimise your skills?

Do you have any further questions?

Yes, you certainly do. Asking questions shows your interest in the job. At best, you should have already thought of some questions in advance - and we are not talking about questions regarding the salary here. Also refer back to the given answers and follow up on them. After all, you will spend a considerable length of time in the company, should they hire you.

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