One of the most commonly asked questions in job interviews is “What are three of your key strengths?” and “What are your three areas of improvement?”
Typically, these kinds of questions catch most interviewees off guard because they fail to determine their strengths and weaknesses in the given time.
Employers tend to ask these questions to observe how well you know your capabilities and areas of improvement and your overall attitude towards your strengths and weaknesses, as seen in your manner of answering this specific question.
Here are 2 key points to bear in mind whenever you are asked about your 3 key strengths and 3 areas of improvement:
1. Refrain from saying you do not have any weaknesses
The interview asked a direct question, and as such, you must answer directly. Do not try to evade the question by simply telling the interviewer that you do not have any weaknesses.
The last thing you would want to do in a job interview is for you to appear like a braggy applicant who does not have any weak points.
Believe it or not, hiring managers prefer to hear an applicant admit a few weaknesses than an applicant who claims he does not have any.
Every person from all walks of life has an area that still needs improvement. It is unique for every individual. Your strengths may be another person’s weakness and vice versa.
Interviewees must also present a confident yet grounded personality whenever undergoing job interviews. Admitting areas of improvement and having a healthy amount of self-confidence and self-worth is the perfect balance to increase your chances of landing your dream job.
Related: The 6 female personality types
2. Acknowledge the areas that you are still lacking
Most job applicants struggle to acknowledge the areas that still need improvement for fear that it will affect their chances of landing the jobs.
However, you have to remember that what the employers care about the most is whether or not you can honestly acknowledge the areas where you need to improve on and if you are willing to take the necessary steps to get better at it.
By admitting your weaknesses to your interviewer, you give them the impression that you possess a positive attitude for personal growth. It is something most hiring managers would typically look for in an applicant.
After you have shared your areas of improvement, you can quickly follow it up with how confident you are that the workplace environment in the company you are aspiring to work for will play a role in maximizing your full potential.
Example Answers for 3 Key Strengths and 3 Areas of Improvement
Let’s now jump into some of the possible answers most hiring managers would expect you to give when specifically asked this question in your job interview.
Below are some example answers in various industries you can use as prompts to get your way through the question “What are your three key strengths and three areas of improvement?”
For jobs that include dealing with people
- 3 Key Strengths: Intelligence, Communication Skills, Empathy
- 3 Areas of Improvement: Punctuality, Computer Skills, Time Management
Among all my abilities as an employee, I am most confident in my intelligence, communication skills, and empathy. I believe possessing a competent level of communication skills and emotional intelligence is imperative in accomplishing the company goals, specifically since most jobs require dealing with people from all walks of life.
As for my areas for improvement, I know that I need to improve my punctuality, computer skills, and time management. I certainly need to be more consistent at arriving on time. To be more productive in the workplace, I must also work on my time management skills. I should also invest more time in developing my computer skills.
For corporate work
- 3 Key Strengths: Work experience, passion, analytic
- 3 Areas of Improvement: social skills, leadership skills, presentations
My skills advantage in work experience, analytical thinking, and enthusiasm for my job enable me to overcome adversities in my chosen career. Knowing I am skilled in these fields keeps me determined and motivated to accomplish any challenge I may encounter.
However, I have a hard time socializing with other people. I have a lot to improve on my leadership skills and conducting business presentations. To succeed in the corporate world, I must address these areas of weakness that are vital for a harmonious relationship in the workplace.
For jobs in fast-paced work environments
- 3 Key Strengths: Accountable, prompt work habits, physical labor
- 3 Areas of Improvement: social skills, computer skills, orderliness
One of my strengths in the workplace is my accountability for every work I do. Aside from that, I also prefer finishing any task ahead of schedule, and I do not mind doing physical labor. My key strengths prove to be efficient in fast-food restaurant jobs and other fast-paced work environments.
I need to improve my social skills and orderliness, which are equally imperative in this particular field of work. I also need to develop my computer skills as it is one of the common skills requirements in this digital age.
I am confident that working for your company will provide avenues for me to get better at my areas of improvement.
For jobs in the educational field
- 3 Key Strengths: Passion for teaching, 21st-century learner-centered approach, math skills
- 3 Areas of Improvement: simplifying complex concepts, social skills, utilization of technology
In my opinion, an effective teacher has a genuine passion for teaching, along with a good understanding of 21st-century learners. These, along with my mathematical skills, are my three key strengths in the teaching field.
Although sometimes, I have problems simplifying complex concepts for learners to understand. I also have a lot to work on building a relationship with my colleagues and my technological skills.
However, learning never stops, more so when improving one’s weaknesses. Knowing I still have numerous things to learn gives me the foresight on how I can be a more effective teacher to my students.
For security jobs
- 3 Key Strengths: Observation skills, watchfulness, focus
- 3 Areas of Improvement: leadership skills, physical labor, computer skills
The key strengths that made me confident to apply for this job are my observation skills, watchfulness, and focus on the job at hand. Possessing all of these strengths is necessary to become an effective security guard.
There are things that I am not good at, like dealing with other people, doing physical labor, and operating computers. While I know I have to improve on my weaknesses, I prefer focusing first on my strengths by searching for the best matching jobs for them.
For managerial positions
- 3 Key Strengths: managing other people, problem-solving, productivity
- 3 Areas of Improvement: communication and interpersonal skills, team orientation, decision making
The people I have worked with in the past would bear witness to my strengths and areas of improvement, and they would be the best judge of my character and skills as an employee. One of my key strengths is managing other people, solving problems in the workplace, and productivity.
To be a more effective manager, I need to improve my communication and interpersonal skills, team orientation, and decision-making.
However, these are all just from my account. I’m sure my former colleagues will provide a more objective insight into my skills and abilities for the job.
For social worker jobs
- 3 Key Strengths: resilience to adversities, emotional intelligence, determination
- 3 Areas of Improvement: being too emotionally involved, communication skills, accomplishing tasks on time
In my opinion, my main strength lies in my ability to adapt well despite any adversities in my work. Another key strength of mine is that I have a good level of emotional intelligence. I also possess the determination to accomplish the job. All of these strengths are effective for social work considering the daily experiences in the field.
However, sometimes, I can’t help but get too emotionally involved in my work, especially whenever I encounter cases that bother me. There are also times when it can be difficult for me to get my message through to my recipients. Lastly, my dedication to the job makes me lose track of time because some aspects of social work require you to get to the core of the problem to make a difference.
Whenever you encounter this kind of question, you evaluate yourself as a career person. Most importantly, you reflect on your skills and abilities that make you stand out from other applicants.
Bear in mind that you have to answer this question honestly and with humility. Find the balance between being confident with how far you have come in the field and grounded foresight to improve your areas of weakness.
Put your best self forward in answering every question in the interview and give a genuinely satisfying answer that can land you the job.
Sylvia Silverstone is a passionate writer who loves to share her knowledge and expertise on a wide range of topics, including beauty, life hacks, entertainment, health, news, and money. With a keen eye for detail and a talent for storytelling, Sylvia's engaging writing style keeps readers coming back for more.