Personal SWOT Analysis: The One Hardest Question In The Interview Everyone Dreads…

How many times have you faced the dreaded question in an interview: What are your weaknesses? Many people find this question intimidating because they worry it leaves the door open for inference about them and extrapolated- a risk that no one wants in an interview.

A way to answer this question

When you think a bit deeper, any weakness never stands on its own. It usually is a side effect of a strength that you carry; and, in that, represents an opportunity. For example, a tendency to micromanage is hidden a natural strength of an underlying rigor, a concern about getting things right, and a desire to have your people succeed.

Strengths and opportunities should always counterbalance your weaknesses to project your personality in a wholesome way while positioning you in a positive light. Doing so also reveals a lot about your self-awareness and maturity- which can be a big differentiator when you are in a competitive recruiting situation.

So how do you prepare yourself for such an exchange? The answer is to create a personal SWOT! In this article, we will discuss -

What is a personal SWOT Analysis?

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. A personal SWOT Analysis is a great way to organize, prioritize, and plan and communicate your personal development. It is really a story that you tell about yourself.

Backing up statements with examples, or involving one or two external opinions, is a great way to tell this story.

How to start your Personal SWOT?

It is worth setting aside some quiet time reflecting and introspecting to create a personal SWOT for starters. Starting early and giving yourself time is a good idea since it’s hard to create a coherent story about yourself when you are crunched for time.

Based on your performance reviews and appraisals, you might already have many data points about yourself. If so, take the time to browse through that material and gather themes. In case you are at relatively early stages in your career, find a colleague or friend you trust, get into a quiet room, and ask them their opinion. Better still, if there are a couple of people you trust, get a second person’s opinion for a truly full picture.

Let’s begin your personal SWOT Analysis. First, separate your diagram into your four sections.

See our SlideUpLift SWOT PowerPoint Templates section for great templates that can give you perfect starting points. In these templates, you will also see some actual examples to get inspiration from.

First, Your Weaknesses

This is where you should start! Surprised? But here is why it might make sense.

Weakness is a great good place to start since it helps clarify thinking by focusing on your vulnerabilities and makes you feel more human. This also gives fodder for thinking deeply about and framing your strengths since strengths are often the flip side of your weakness. Besides, many of us tend to be overly self-critical and may have our self-improvement ideas ready-made in our minds.

Remember thinking of your weaknesses doesn’t have to be a soul-crushing exercise. Even CEOs of companies are on a self-improvement journey; knowledge of one’s weakness is a testament to one’s self-awareness.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

For example, do you struggle to speak amongst dominating individuals?

Do you need to brush up on your public speaking?

Do you worry too much about deliverables?

Do you have a fear of failure?

Do you seek too much consensus?

Are there functional skills that are missing from your toolkit?

These are just ideas and concrete examples that may help you frame yours. If any of these resonate, please feel free to borrow.

Then, Your Strengths

Believe it or not, some of us really struggle with this. The question people get trapped in is: What am I really good at? How do I know my strengths are really what others will value. Let me break it to you folks: don’t overthink this- keep it simple.

Here are a few tips to get you started

1. Think of everything you excel at, including specialist skills and knowledge that benefit the organization.

2. Recall your key achievements, including successful projects and campaigns, and think about what made that work. For example, how well you communicated, how well you delegated; your functional strengths, your ability to strike relationships

3. What other personal behaviors have held you in good stead? For example, are you calm under pressure? Are you great with people? A patient listener?

Strengths as the flip side of your weaknesses? This would be important to include to ensure you are telling your story as a person. Taking examples from weaknesses above

1. Your difficulty to speak amongst dominating individuals can show that you want to remain calm and not add to the heat individuals can cause. In those situations, you try and find another way to express yourself

2. Your worrying too much about deliverables can come from a concern to ensure organizational success. It just causes personal stress but relieves organizational stress

3. Your seeking too much consensus comes from your wanting to be inclusive. It can cause delays but creates more robust outcomes

Be sure to pepper this section with a few of these types of strengths to round off your weaknesses.

Then, Think About Your Opportunities

The opportunity space is a topic that deals with how your persona can impact business, projects, people, etc. This is where you take your personal story and extend it to the external impact. Here are a few ideas to get you started-

1. For example, if you are good at, say, Project Management, it can open up opportunities for you to create an impact in any field by your ability to work in a structured manner

2. Your ability to go with people can go a long way in generating camaraderie and positive energy. Those are essential ingredients towards robust leadership skills

3. Your remaining calm under pressure can create opportunities to work in many situations involving a lack of structure and stress.

Last but not least, Your Threats

For this final part of the Personal SWOT Analysis, you’ll need to identify any external obstacles between you and your vision of success. And most importantly, what are you doing about them.

1. Are any of your peers holding you back? Is there someone on the team who is making your job harder? How could you approach this problem constructively?

2. Compare yourself to your peers. Are you being overshadowed by a more vocal or ambitious colleague? What can you do about it?

3. Are there new processes or technologies pushing the industry forward, and your lack of training means you’re trailing behind? Think about how you can fix this.

The threats section is all about personal awareness and your forward-looking mindset. So make the most of this section.

If you have examples to back these claims up, then all the better. And remember, these examples don’t necessarily need to be actions performed in the workplace. If you did something awesome like rescue a puppy on the road, don’t keep it to yourself!

Final thoughts

A personal SWOT Analysis is a great way to tell your story and communicate your whole persona to the interviewer. Done well, this can help differentiate you in a competitive pool with robust self-awareness open-mindedness.

A few templates to do an effective Personal SWOT Analysis -

View Personal SWOT Template

View SWOT Analysis Template

View SWOT Analysis Template

View SWOT Analysis Template

View SWOT Analysis Template

View Free SWOT Analysis Template

Watch this video to learn how to effectively do a Personal SWOT Analysis -

How to do a personal SWOT Analysis

Also, Do check out this short read if you want to learn all about SWOT Analysis and showcase your personal or business analysis in the most effective manner.

Now you don’t have to scour the web to find out the right templates. Download our PowerPoint Templates from within PowerPoint. See how?

About SlideUplift:

SlideUpLift is an online platform to help professionals make compelling presentations using principles of vision science and storytelling. The platform contains an online library of pre-designed presentation templates that can be used across industries and functions.

Check out our library of free PowerPoint templates, which are weekly updated to serve professionals' presentation needs. You will find out the simplicity and ease in downloading the editable template, filling it with your content, and building world-class presentations in just a few clicks.

Originally published at on February 1, 2021.




SlideUplift is a utility to help business professionals create powerful presentations using ready to use impactful PowerPoint tools and templates.

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