What are your weak points in writing

Your strengths & weaknesses - how to sell them!

Application: sell strengths and weaknesses

Clearly, for a successful application you have to know your strengths and weaknesses. It is important to be clear about both and to sell well in the interview. Here you can find out how to prepare specifically for the questions about your strengths and weaknesses.


Honest self-analysis - this is how you can do it!


Who am I, what can I do, what do I want? Many people find it difficult to answer. Anyone who misjudges their strengths and weaknesses quickly ends up in a job in which they will not be happy. This burdens employers and employees alike and costs time and energy.

Candidates who overestimate their abilities and apply too thickly when applying often do not survive the probationary period. Because they cannot maintain the image that they convey in the interview for long. It is therefore worth taking a close look at skills and preferences and providing as authentic a picture as possible in the job interview. Here are a few ways you can approach this task:


1. Just ask others - Friends & Family

In order to better distinguish between desire and reality, it is advisable to interview people who have known you for a long time, such as family, friends and acquaintances: "It is important that someone looks at someone from the outside," recommends Karsten Ulbrecht, partner of the application office eloquently. Self-analysis and external assessment must be mercilessly honest, even if the truth sometimes hurts.

You can also enlist the help of professional career advisors and coaches. However, this can cost a few hundred euros - depending on whether it is just a short consultation or whether the applicant profile and the portfolio are created together.


2. Let the professionals do the work - consultants, coaches & co

While consultants tend to scrutinize qualifications and show how to put them in perspective, coaches work methodically. In all external analyzes, it is important to accept criticism, reflect on it and learn from it, instead of resisting it.

Another way of receiving neutral feedback is through potential analyzes. Usually they are used by companies to better assess employees and to get them to the position where they can fully develop their skills. But they also serve as a tool for objective self-assessment. Candidates are confronted with multiple-choice questions in which, for example, team spirit, leadership qualities, decisiveness or assertiveness are determined. The test result should be discussed with a coach.


3. DIY - self-made personality analysis

There is also an easier way: "Just take a look at your résumé," advises Hans Rainer Vogel, partner at Vogel and Detambel Personalberatung. He does not mean the tabular list that must be enclosed with every application, but a detailed plan of what you have always enjoyed doing in the past and what you were particularly good at. "The previous work stations and private activities already provide some information about what was fun and where there were conflicts," says Martina Diel, who specializes as a coach for IT experts.


Recognizing strengths - tips & tricks


Merciless honesty towards yourself is easier if you keep one thing in mind: "There are no good or bad qualities, there are only those that suit a certain task or not," says Wilfried Mätzler, Managing Director of Thomas International Provider of potential analyzes.

Personality and character traits are innate and can only be changed to a limited extent. Creativity, for example, is essential for a job in research and development, whereas meticulous, conscientious bean counters are required in quality control or accounting. "Every character trait," says Mätzler, "has its justification."


Tip 1: Do not apply too thickly in the interview

Of course, companies expect many good qualities from their future employees. They should be able to work in a team, strong in leadership, resilient, flexible, mobile, goal-oriented, communicative, responsible, committed and much more. Most HR professionals realize that it is almost impossible to combine all these strengths in one person.

As an applicant, you shouldn't be too thick when describing your strengths - most interviewees will quickly notice if someone wants to sell themselves over value just to get the job. Anyone who triumphs too much in the interview can quickly be seen as a show-off.


Tip 2: Honesty lasts the longest

In addition to the image of a show-off or an opportunist, there is another danger: all of the strengths that someone calls their own in an interview are later claimed by their superiors in their everyday work.

Those who describe themselves as particularly resilient, but already stretch their wings after a week of stress, disappoint and anger their employer as well as someone who describes themselves as a team player but withholds their knowledge and work results from their colleagues. And anyone who is afraid of responsibility must not be hired as a project manager with budget responsibility.


Tip 3: prove your qualities

An example: Mobility and flexibility are some of the strengths that customer advisors absolutely need. Therefore, one should be clear about where the limits are. Are you ready to travel around for weeks and visit customers who are scattered all over Germany? Do you have the nerve to fight for jobs on the front lines? Or is your strength not more in being in the second row to coordinate and monitor the projects at home?

Concrete examples are helpful in conveying strengths in a credible manner. Those who describe themselves as innovative could list which products they have developed or how many patents they have registered. You can also find your own qualities in the references of previous employers.


Young professionals also have strengths

Young professionals should have their professors write an assessment so that HR managers can not only get an idea of ​​the subjects they study, but also of their personal preferences. In the case of graduates, for example, this could be due to the fact that they took care of the coordination of the internship or led an experimental set-up.


Dealing with the weaknesses - tips & tricks


"What are your weaknesses?" - this question is as certain in the interview as the amen in church, and applicants fear it. Nobody likes to talk about what they cannot do, because nobody wants to put obstacles in their own way and present themselves worse to the other candidates. But you can prepare for this question in advance. Because: Anyone who claims to have no weaknesses is not credible.


Tip 1: Tricks and irony don't go down well

Anyone who tries to convert weaknesses into strengths is quickly exposed. Some candidates respond that their greatest weakness is impatience, which is why they always finish their work much earlier than others. This is a cheap ploy to turn the question into a positive one. HR managers see through the intention and immediately get a bad impression.

What also doesn't go over very well are comments that are made with a smile or a wink, such as: "I have a weakness for chocolate and good red wine." This demonstrates uncertainty, because it is how applicants try to avoid talking about their real weaknesses.


Tip 2: honesty is the order of the day

Those who say they have no weaknesses that are relevant to the position also risk negative points. The HR manager or future supervisor wants to make this decision himself.

Honesty is the order of the day. Of course, nobody will admit that they were in a bad mood in previous jobs and therefore had arguments with colleagues or that they were constantly reminded because they missed appointments. Because it can be assumed that this will also not be welcomed by the new employer.

The trick is to find a balance between positive self-promotion and honest self-criticism.


Tip 3: The advanced training argument

There is a way to mention weaknesses and mitigate them in the same breath. Anyone who sweats when they have to speak to a handful of people but is applying for a senior position can argue that they attended seminars on rhetoric, presentation, and self-expression to solve the problem. Anyone who openly admits to working in an unstructured manner can score points because they have hired a coach for workplace organization and have already made progress. And anyone who wants to work in sales management in a global company but speaks terrible English can correct that with appropriate training.

It is important that one is already in the process of eliminating or at least reducing the weaknesses. Because if the other qualifications fit, commitment and initiative count more than the problem at hand.


Sometimes the HR managers are not interested in exploring a candidate's weaknesses, but rather in observing how someone deals with this question and its negative aspects. Anyone who gets nervous immediately, makes excuses or tries to distract, will react similarly later if a customer raises problems with the product or service or complains about a product.

Conclusion: There are no bad qualities - only those that are particularly capable of a certain job and unsuitable for another job. Those who have a clear picture of their strengths and weaknesses are more likely to make the right decision when choosing a job.


It is about you!


Even if it is not easy to reflect on yourself - it is worth it! Do you still need help with this? Sign up for Monster for free. As a member, you will receive exciting content and valuable tips on the subject of job searches, applications and interviews via email - so that you are well informed and prepared for your next steps. And the more you know about yourself and your needs, the easier it will be to find the job that suits you.