Contact us
You are here:

Strengths and weaknesses in the job interview:
How to react to this question in a confident way

The question of strengths and weaknesses during your application

Your job search has turned up a dream job. You’ve sent off your application and received a positive response. Now the interview for your dream job lies ahead! But how do you react to questions about possible weaknesses or gaps in your CV during the interview if the interviewer asks them? And how do you answer questions about your strengths?

The question of strengths and weaknesses in the interview is as common as it is feared. And for many HR managers, it is a question that they must ask. Because these questions do not only tell them something about your competences, skills or experiences, but also how you will react in uncomfortable situations.

Strengths and weaknesses in the job interview: Be strategic 

In the same way that you prepare yourself for this interview as a candidate, your interviewer has questions (and answers) prepared in advance. The majority of recruiters know about the frequently recommended tactic of many applicant guides of describing a personal strength as a (false) weakness, which is now outdated.

A useful approach for you is to really examine your strengths and weaknesses and unravel them – with the aid of a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threads.

If you manage to be completely honest with yourself and truthful in the details, this approach will be of considerable help during your interview. Even if self-reflection isn't a problem for you, you should also ask friends and acquaintances for their opinions. It costs you next to nothing to discover the characteristics and skills which you would like to allocate to your strengths. At the same time, you will not progress if you disregard a weakness which you perceive to be uncomfortable.

SWOT analysis: Keep your strengths and weaknesses on the right track in the interview

The SWOT analysis provides you with initial, very valuable information on your strengths and weaknesses and quickly applicable tips for your job interview. To start with, consider the question:

  • What do you enjoy the most, and what do you find less enjoyable?

  • Which tasks and framework conditions am I comfortable with, and which am I not?

Name these things exactly. Because you are highly likely to be good in the area which you find most enjoyable in your job or your current position. This already gives you some meaningful reference points that you can use to develop your SWOT analysis.

With regard to the question of your strengths in the interview, which many recruiters will ask you, you should separate your advantages into hard skills and soft skills. Even if your technical qualifications and qualities are made clear in your application, you should briefly explain them.

But your interviewer will be much more interested in your soft skills, i.e. your characteristics, which separate you from the crowd and can also contribute to creating a positive team spirit. Is it your communication skills? Can you make customers excited about projects and do you have suitable arguments ready for many situations? In the interview, you have the opportunity to spill the beans. Show how you have effectively contributed to the success of your employer in the last six months, because you were able to impress and surprise your partners with sound arguments and creative flair during negotiations. Or, for example, that you initiated new brand building measures for your own marketing in your company which resulted in the acquisition of three new customers. In other words, match your skills and your characteristics to successes that you have achieved in the past.

With regard to the question of your strengths in the interview, which many recruiters will ask you, you should separate your advantages into hard skills and soft skills. Even if your technical qualifications and qualities are made clear in your application, you should briefly explain them.

But your interviewer will be much more interested in your soft skills, i.e. your characteristics, which separate you from the crowd and can also contribute to creating a positive team spirit. Is it your communication skills? Can you make customers excited about projects and do you have suitable arguments ready for many situations? In the interview, you have the opportunity to spill the beans. Show how you have effectively contributed to the success of your employer in the last six months, because you were able to impress and surprise your partners with sound arguments and creative flair during negotiations. Or, for example, that you initiated new brand building measures for your own marketing in your company which resulted in the acquisition of three new customers. In other words, match your skills and your characteristics to successes that you have achieved in the past.


“What is your biggest weakness?” You should be well prepared for this question, and give your answer authentically in your own words. Avoid giving an overly rehearsed answer in the interview.

Be open and honest and admit your weaknesses. You could say, for example, that your attention to detail has led to delays in the past. Or your inability to say “no” if you’re asked for help, which has led to stressful situations.

However, you should not pour out your heart too much and possibly mention weaknesses which could stand in the way of a potential job. For example, if you have problems carefully dividing up your work packages in order to give truly reliable information about your workload, perhaps it would be better not to mention it. Or if it is difficult for you to get to grips with new software tools which are essential for your job, it might be best not to mention this weakness. In these cases, try to focus on turning these weaknesses into strengths.

“What is your biggest weakness?” You should be well prepared for this question, and give your answer authentically in your own words. Avoid giving an overly rehearsed answer in the interview.

Be open and honest and admit your weaknesses. You could say, for example, that your attention to detail has led to delays in the past. Or your inability to say “no” if you’re asked for help, which has led to stressful situations.

However, you should not pour out your heart too much and possibly mention weaknesses which could stand in the way of a potential job. For example, if you have problems carefully dividing up your work packages in order to give truly reliable information about your workload, perhaps it would be better not to mention it. Or if it is difficult for you to get to grips with new software tools which are essential for your job, it might be best not to mention this weakness. In these cases, try to focus on turning these weaknesses into strengths.


This aspect of the SWOT analysis relates to the positive external circumstances which you should use to your advantage. Mention the options and development potential that your dream job offers you, i.e. the reasons why you applied to the company. This is how you can demonstrate your interest in the position and emphasise your positive attitude.

If you mentioned your excellent communication skills as a strength, you can offer your support in onboarding new colleagues among the opportunities and simultaneously express your wish to consolidate your presentation skills in this way. Your interviewer will recognise that you are well informed about the respective vacancy and associate the tasks with your skills.

This aspect of the SWOT analysis relates to the positive external circumstances which you should use to your advantage. Mention the options and development potential that your dream job offers you, i.e. the reasons why you applied to the company. This is how you can demonstrate your interest in the position and emphasise your positive attitude.

If you mentioned your excellent communication skills as a strength, you can offer your support in onboarding new colleagues among the opportunities and simultaneously express your wish to consolidate your presentation skills in this way. Your interviewer will recognise that you are well informed about the respective vacancy and associate the tasks with your skills.


Threads in the interview: Demonstrate your problem-solving skills

The last point of your SWOT analysis concerns negative external circumstances (threads) which can occur in your everyday work, but which you can reduce the severity thereof. If you have a heavy workload – e.g. at peak times – there is a risk of taking on multiple tasks simultaneously which may have a negative effect on quality.

You still need to show a positive attitude here, and provide examples of how you can mitigate the effects of the relevant risks/threads. Explain that your previous time management for preventing overwork has been successful to date. You can also mention that you have extended your own specialist skills and therefore welcome having a variety of tasks as a challenge.

Good preparation for talking about strengths and weaknesses during the interview pays off

The most important tip we can give you with regards to the question of strengths and weaknesses is: Always be honest. The SWOT analysis will help you to reply to uncomfortable questions in an optimistic and positive way, and underline your ambitions for personal further development.

If you can still see opportunities and threads in the position, make your foresight and motivation for further development clear, and don't be satisfied with the status quo. With honesty – to yourself and also with regard to your ideal company  – you will not only make a convincing impression, but will also come over as being personable. And this aspect must not be disregarded during the interview.

Correctly conducting job interviews

In the interview, show that you have researched the company and that you are the perfect person for the job you are applying for.

Correct use of social media

The majority of HR managers research and check out your social media profiles. We will show you what to look out for.

Get the best
out of it

Did the interview go well, and you now have to negotiate your salary? We'll help you to put yourself in a good position.

Follow us on social media: