In the recruitment process, especially during interviews, the question; “what are your strengths and weaknesses?” finds high importance. Very many people mention the same or equally important strengths and weaknesses. The most mentioned strengths are “experience”, “flexible”, “reliability”, and weaknesses are “sometimes too perfectionistic”, “impatient” and “can’t say no”.

Why are the same statements made over and over again? Why are strengths evaluated positively and weaknesses negatively? Why are everyday successes and failures not reflected upon? Why are people trained to turn weaknesses into strengths? Why are weaknesses not seen as the other side of strengths? Why are weaknesses not perceived as a differentiating element and put to useful use for one’s own positioning?

The SWOT analysis can be helpful in addressing the issue. It is important to note that a context is also taken into account. The concretisation with the SAR method (situation/action/result) leads to a better understanding.

In a certain situation a strength can be a weakness and in another situation the same weakness can be a strength. Understanding could be balanced as simply as this. A balanced person has the same number of strengths as weaknesses.

Where there is sunshine, there is shadow. Why the shady side is often seen as negative is probably related to our constructed value system, which is only oriented towards a certain situation. When the sunshine is too strong, the shadow is a useful and positive protection from burns.Accordingly, we should learn that every strength contains a weakness or every weakness contains a strength. So the questions about strengths and weaknesses should always be contextualised and answered accordingly.

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