10 Examples of Strengths and Weaknesses of Job Interviews

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

In a job interview, learn to answer the question, "What are your strengths and weaknesses?"

[Featured Image] A woman talks about her weaknesses during a job interview.

It is very common for hiring managers to ask about your strengths and weaknesses during a job interview. Like any question, your response holds weight. An interview aims to evaluate your ability to get the job done. This is an opportunity to highlight your positive qualities and demonstrate a growth mindset.

Everybody has both strengths and weaknesses. Answering this question will help you provide a context example of how you use your strengths to shine and improve any weaknesses relevant to the role. 

This article explains why interviewers ask this question, lists examples of strengths and weaknesses, and offers suggestions to help you answer wisely.

Why interviewers ask about strengths and weaknesses

This common question is a helpful tool for interviewers to understand your personality and working style. When hiring managers ask about your strengths and weaknesses, they evaluate a few things:

  • How do you conduct a self-assessment

  • Whether you are aware of your positive traits and how you use them in the workplace

  • Whether you can address your weaknesses and how you’ve worked to improve them

  • How your skills and traits will balance out those of current team members 

Strategies for talking about strengths

It may be helpful to first reflect on this question from the hiring manager’s perspective. What qualities or competencies are they looking for in this specific role? Consider how you can leverage your strengths to align with a key competency of the job description.

For your strengths, be confident. This is your chance to highlight what makes you a great fit for the job. Mention one or two top strengths, and provide examples of how you’ve used them in the workplace. Suppose you can back this up with measurable results, which would be even better. Reflect on these two questions as you formulate your answer: 

  • Why are you good at X? 

  • How does X help you at work?

Here is a sample structure for a response:

I am [STRENGTH]. I learned this through [HOW YOU DEVELOPED STRENGTH], and this allowed me to [IMPACT of STRENGTH] at my current/previous job/experience.

When you approach this question, consider the positive qualities you embody and the skills you possess that serve you well in the workplace. Here is a list of strengths to consider: 

  • Entrepreneurial

  • Detail-oriented

  • Collaborative

  • Creative

  • Empathetic

  • Passionate

  • Problem-solver

  • Flexible

  • Patient

  • Honest

  • Dedicated

  • Positive

  • Able to lead

  • Expert in a particular skill or software

Sample responses to "What are your strengths?"

These examples can give you an idea of the type of structured response. They demonstrate that you are confident of this strength and will use it to succeed in this specific role.

1. Collaborative

I am very collaborative. I’ve always enjoyed working on teams, and it is one of my strongest attributes. In my previous job as a marketing research analyst, I led a project involving diverse stakeholders, focus groups, and extensive field research, which taught me my ability to inspire others in stressful situations. The client used our insights to create a sustainable (both environmentally and financially) product.

2. Technical know-how

I love staying up-to-date with trends in the tech industry. From my current role, I know the ins and outs of SAP very well, so I can anticipate problems before they arise. I get excited about tinkering around with gadgets in my personal life, and this trait has come in handy in the workplace when I get to know a piece of software or program intimately.

3. Detail-oriented

As a content creator, I love brainstorming new approaches to reach our consumers. However, I am most known for my attention to detail. I care a lot about word choice because precise language can transform a piece from good to excellent (and I never miss a deadline). My blogs and articles consistently perform well and reach the top of Google searches. 

4. Positive attitude

My positive attitude is definitely one of my strengths. I have been a restaurant server, tutor, and health aide in the past decade, all jobs that require plenty of energy and endurance. I can view a situation from multiple perspectives and empathise with my customers, students, and patients to understand their needs at any time.

5. Solving problems

I am a solutions-oriented person and a quick learner. As an electrical engineer, I learned to perform well under pressure when designing equipment because our team could only win a contract if we produced the blueprints quickly with as few resources as possible. I am fearless in asking questions to determine the challenge in these circumstances. I do extensive research so that every client is extra prepared.

Strategies for talking about weaknesses

We all have weaknesses—that's just a part of being human. But your capacity to recognise a weakness and work towards improvement can be a strength. The key to talking about your weaknesses is to pair self-awareness with an action and a result:

  • What's the weakness?

  • What have you been doing to improve?

  • How has that improvement had a positive impact on your work?

Your interviewer may approach this question differently, so you’ll want to be prepared for the possibilities. Variations might include:

• What would your current manager/colleagues say is your biggest weakness?

• If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

• How do you bounce back from mistakes?

• What areas in your career do you feel you could improve?


Explaining that you are aware of a particular weakness and have taken steps to improve is a sign of maturity and drive that is attractive to employers. Here is a sample structure for a response:

I used to have trouble with [WEAKNESS]. I've been working to address this by [ACTION] and realised I was improving because of [IMPACT].

When preparing to discuss your weaknesses, choose one that allows you to demonstrate growth and enthusiasm for learning. Here are some weaknesses that you might select from for your response: 

  • Self-critical

  • Insecure

  • Disorganised

  • Prone to procrastination 

  • Uncomfortable with public speaking

  • Uncomfortable with delegating tasks

  • Risk-averse

  • Competitive 

  • Sensitive/emotional

  • Extreme introversion or extroversion

  • Limited experience in a particular skill or software

Sample responses to "What are your weaknesses?"

Feeling uncomfortable talking about your weaknesses to a potential employer is normal. But remember, this is an opportunity to showcase your ability to assess your performance honestly, respond to feedback positively, and continually improve—essential traits in almost any role. 

The following examples can help you formulate your response.

1. Self-criticism

I can be quite critical of myself, leading to negative self-talk and burnout. I can avoid this by recording my goals, objectives, and key results and setting aside time to celebrate milestones and achievements, big and small. This not only helps me focus on how I'm benefiting the team, but it has also helped me improve my prioritisation of my most impactful tasks.

2. Fear of public speaking

I am a naturally shy person. Since I was a kid, I have always felt nervous about presenting in front of the class and translating into the workplace. I led a big project a few years ago and was asked to present it to board members. I was so nervous, but I realised I had to overcome this fear. I signed up for Toastmasters as a way to practice public speaking. Not only did this help get me through that first presentation, but it also helped me feel more confident as a leader. Now, I'm helping my team build presentation skills.

3. Procrastination

Procrastination has long been a bad habit of mine. It stems from a fear of failure, to be honest. In my last job as a real estate agent, keeping up with appointments and critical paperwork was essential to success. I started using Google Calendar and apps like Trello to manage my time better. Crossing things off my to-do list makes me feel accomplished, and I've learned to tackle more challenging tasks early in the day when I'm feeling refreshed and less likely to put them off. 

4. Issues with delegating tasks

I'm a perfectionist, so I sometimes struggle to delegate tasks to my teammates. This has led to taking on too much. As a manager, I've been intentional about recognising the strengths of those on my team and delegating tasks that match those strengths. It was hard at first, but I've seen that by communicating clear expectations and trusting my team, they rise to the occasion, and I can manage projects more efficiently. 

5. Lack of experience with skill or software

I haven't had as much experience with Python as I'd like. When I shifted to data analytics, I knew I'd need a statistical programming language to perform efficient analysis. I signed up for a Python for Everybody course, and I've found I really love it. I'm excited to start applying the techniques I'm learning to help make my workflow more efficient.

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