Interview questions: What are your advantages and disadvantages?

27.05.2015 14161

This job interview question is another way to get at what your greatest strengths and weaknesses as a candidate are. But in this particular one, they’d like a list of the pros and cons of hiring you.  Don’t let it throw you. It is a beautiful thing to be the one in charge of putting together that list (if only during the interview). You can spin this story like a politician and turn it in your favor. Don’t lie. Just focus on the positive.

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The truth is that they are probably aware of your advantages and disadvantages. They’ve read your resume. But this is a golden opportunity for you to influence their thinking by addressing any shortcomings in your experience or background while explaining why they don’t matter that much.   

Or look at it another way, and it’s an opportunity to show them that your disadvantages or weaknesses (every candidate has them because no one’s perfect) aren’t relevant or worth even thinking about because your advantages or strengths are so strong that they’d be crazy to pass you up.

   READ ALSO: Interview questions: Describe yourself to me in one word

Remember that you are selling yourself for this job.  You’re the “product” that’s for sale here. The hiring manager of that company is the customer, and your salary is the cost or the price they will pay for the product. Why are you going to be a great value for them?

Be strategic when answering this question, just as you do for all job interview questions. Answer every question with an eye toward the job description and goals.

Of course, advantages are easy. It’s the disadvantages that are going to trip you up. There is one good strategy when talking about your disadvantages is using a strength that you could improve on. Another one is using a weakness that either doesn’t matter for the job or that helps you with the job.

   READ ALSO: How to Convince an Employer to Hire You

For instance, as advantages: "I am intelligent, driven, quick-witted, high-energy, and able to communicate at all levels."  Those were all great advantages when person was in sales, and also happen to be helpful for a career coach and business owner. "I communicate very well with an enormous variety of people and can quickly evaluate and analyze what a clients' problems are and give them a solution, which saves them time and money."

"I would say that my disadvantages are that I’m impatient, I’m not detail-oriented, and I always want to be a leader,"  (Attn: "I also don’t respond well to authority", but that’s not something you would say to someone who was going to be your boss!)  But all of these things are problems that either help do job well or don’t cause any problems in performance.

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See, an impatience is something that causes a problem in a personal life, but that could serve very well in driving a person to achieve quickly at work.

When it was saying "I’m not especially detail-oriented", I would also mean “and that’s why a person take the extra steps of X, Y, and Z to address that issue so I don’t miss anything.”  The leadership piece is another thing that sometimes could cause trouble in social situations, but is a very desirable quality in a line of work.

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You are in charge of how you present yourself as a candidate, and you can tell your own story in a way that shines the most flattering light on you and your candidacy.


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