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In job interviews for a project manager position, the interviewer often asks the applicant to reflect on their own strengths and weaknesses. What is the interviewer hoping to learn by asking this? How should I as an applicant approach answering it?

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  • Just be honest :) We don't know your strengths and weaknesses. – Stanislav Bashkyrtsev Jan 10 at 7:39
  • @StanislavBashkyrtsev: I just want to know the examples with framework to frame the answer ;) – Sophia Wilson Jan 10 at 9:26
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A lot of strengths answers can be tailored to the organisation doing the interview. For example, with a company that prides itself on the knowledge of its staff then it might be worth talking about one of your strengths as your background reading and quick understanding of problem domains.

For weaknesses I recommend answers that can be interpreted both as bad and good things. For example:

  • "Sometimes I focus too much on the problem in hand."
  • "I can sometimes spend too much time with the delivery team and not enough communicating with wider stakeholders."

The idea with these kinds of answers is to make the interviewer respond with something like: "Oh yes, we've all done that!".

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For the weaknesses there's a specific pattern that can be used

My greatest weakness would have to be my constant drive to strive for perfection, realistically there is no such thing as perfection so it's important to feel confident in a project being complete.

However by acknowledging this and learning to overcome this it has lead me to produce some of my greatest work. For example: list portfolio pieces that pertain to job Provide an example of how you've learned to overcome your weakness or how its helped you in the long run.

In other words

[Weakness + show how that is a weakness]

[How realizing this helped in real world projects].

P.S. - I can't recall where exactly I found this, only when I wrote it in my notes (26th of November 2020). If you know who's the person behind it, please edit to give the proper credit. It's likely a combination between two different sources, as I can recall.

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