Job Interview Question & Answer: What Would Your Previous Supervisor, Family Members, or Friends Say Your Greatest Strength and Weakness Is?

Answering Questions Based On Others’ Perceptions of You

The Dichotomy of The Question
Employers tend to ask various questions regarding personal strengths and weaknesses during interviews. Depending on the wording, hiring personnel may use such questions to assess self-awareness, work ethics, and other similar traits. When the question requires job seekers to speak to the opinions of others, such as, “What would your previous supervisor, family members, or friends say your greatest strength and weakness is?” interviewers remain interested in ability to respond to criticism, honesty, and the like.

Perhaps more helpful to note, employers ask the question to gauge both professional and personal attitudes. Asking about the opinions of previous supervisors gives interviewers the opportunity to hear about what kind of workers candidates may prove, while responses detailing the thoughts of friends and family members speak to general disposition and social skills

Determining Strengths and Weaknesses
Before interviews, job hopefuls should dedicate some time to preparing for questions regarding strengths and weaknesses. To determine the beliefs of past supervisors, applicants should consider performance reviews, instances of feedback, special projects, and other work situations wherein managers revealed information about individual strengths and weaknesses. If interviewees stand relatively new to the workforce and have not received formal feedback from bosses or managers, self-awareness and reflection persist as necessary. Focus on any comments about productivity, timeliness, and the like. Assessing the opinions of friends and family proves simpler as job seekers may ask directly and use answers to inform interview responses.

During Interviews
As with any interview question, hiring personnel, ask “What would your previous supervisor, family members, or friends say your greatest strength and weakness is?” to garner information about the abilities of individuals to work well for the company. Therefore, job candidates should prepare responses which speak to the needs of the employer. Highlight strengths relevant to available jobs and detail weakness not necessarily detrimental to job performance. Furthermore, round out answers with brief and concrete examples to help interviewers understand how the strengths of individuals may benefit companies and stress how the weaknesses prove learning tools for future professional growth.

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