What Are Your Greatest Strengths and Weaknesses?
Answering this question is like holding a double edged sword.
Because if you answer truthfully, you will come across as weak, give an evasive answer; you will come across as a phony. Both ways it has the ability to harm your chances.
Since this question is asked during most interviews, its better to anticipate and prepare for this question.
The key to answering this question lies in first understanding why these types of questions are asked. These types of questions are asked to understand your ability to assess yourself. Its also used as an indirect tool for gauging your self awareness.
Why is your ability to assess your strength and weakness important?
By asking this question and understanding your answer the interviewer is trying to arrive at a decision about how well you fit the job. So your answer should convince him that you fit the job to a T.
Analyse what your strengths and weaknesses are. Then map it to the job.
For example you have applied for an EXPORTS MANAGER vacancy. Before you go for the interview read the job description. Match it to your strengths and weakness.
Lets say you have 5 years handling exports of medical electronic goods. But the company is into electronic consumer durables.
You can reveal how your experience in handling medical electronic goods is similar or if not superior to their current needs. Then this is your strength. Dont do this by comparison, just state it. (If you compare and contrast, it will give the interviewers a handle to bring up areas where you are weak.)
What are your weakness? Lets say they have revealed that they import something like one consignment a year. Obviously you have no exposure to imports. State it so, but also follow it up quickly with examples of how quickly you learn on the job.
If the interviewer still trys to corner you by saying that they were asking you about your personal strengths and weakness.
You can use the same method to answer, i.e., how you tend to focused on getting the job done to the exclusion of all else. And about weakness you can say that you tend to isolate yourself from other things so that there is no distraction.
Please understand the examples mentioned above are just examples. Always be ready for new and unexpected twists and angles which come up in the interview.
Wishing you, everlasting success.