“What are your strengths and weaknesses?”

A question that many struggle to answer.


2 months ago|3 min read


By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

“What are your strengths and weaknesses?” That’s a question that many struggle to feel confident answering.

When I coach people to answer this question, I remind them that when they hear the question about strengths, they should know that the next question will be about their weaknesses.

So when answering the question about strengths, try to connect your answer to the job description from the firm you are interviewing for. For example, if you are interviewing for a position that requires someone to be detail-oriented yet with proven experience satisfying a demanding constituency, pause to make it seem like you are thinking and then respond by saying, “Hmm (a short pause). I think one of my strengths is that I am thorough (detail-oriented) while working well with demanding people to satisfy their requirements and help them feel heard and satisfied. If you draw a blank with connecting the dots, you can talk about your determination, that you care about doing good work, you work well with others, and are good at facilitating change.

Be prepared for a follow-up question that will let you tell a story about how you’ve done that in the past.

And when they switch to weaknesses, my preferred answer (and the one that requires people to practice saying it) is “There was a time in my career when I spent a lot of time and effort fixating on my flaws. When I made a mistake, I really beat myself up. I would read books, ask for advice, sit in meetings and try to learn from others to try to get better. Over time, I learned there were certain things I was not good at.

For example, I am not good at coding an app. I just don’t have that mindset. Over time, I’ve learned to play to my strengths. That’s because when I focus on my weaknesses, there’s always going to be better than me. I’ve found that it takes a lot of energy for me to get better at my weaknesses, but few will be better than me for my strengths.”

What I’ve done is transition the question to answer it about your strengths from your weaknesses (coding an app), tell them few people are going to be better than you at them, and avoided the weaknesses answer.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2300 episodes. He also hosts Job Search TV on YouTube, Amazon and Roku, as well as on BingeNetworks.tv for Apple TV and 90+ smart sets.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter, (he/him/his), has helped companies hire talent and people find work. More than 40 years of recruiting experience assisting individuals to improve their career as an executive recruiter. Now, a career coach, leadership coach, and executive coach. I coach over Zoom. Do you need help becoming the leader you want to be? Do you need help with a career transition or in your role as an executive? Schedule a free discovery call or coaching session at TheBigGameHunter.us My previous work allowed me to do successfully complete searches in 49 of 50 states plus Canada for positions ranging from C-suite to the staff needed to accomplish objectives, increasing a firm's profitability and market share, working with brand name organizations and startups alike.. HOWEVER, I have transitioned to coaching where I take a holistic approach to career coaching by helping people be more successful changing jobs or careers, hiring more effectively, managing and leading, as well as resolving specific workplace issues. Listen to the #1 podcast for job search, No B.S. Job Search Advice Radio in iTunes, Spotify (video podcast), Google Play and others. JobSearchTV.com has an enormous library of career content. You can also watch me on the Job Search TV app for Fire TV and firestick. On Apple TV, Roku and 90+ platforms, watch me on Bingenetworks.tv.



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