Online banking, artificial intelligence, and robots replacing charismatic men and women in banks. All these trends keep creeping into the banking of 21st century, whether we like it or not. Luckily though banks realize that the majority of customers still prefers human touch and smile to robotic answers and AI, and they employ thousands of tellers and personal bankers across the country. If you also hope to join their ranks, working in a nice and clean environment, helping customers with their financial transactions, you’ll have to pass an interview. And one of the most common questions you will face is the dreaded “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” question.

Before we look at 7 sample answers, I’d like to tell you the most important thing you should remember while interviewing for this job: Your attitude matters the most, not the exact strengths and weaknesses you mention. Hiring managers in banks know very well that perfect tellers do not exist. Each of us has some strong and weak points. But they hope to hire people who are aware of their weaknesses, and strive to improve on them (as well as on their strengths) day after day at work. If you manage to show such an attitude in your answer, you will be just a step away from the coveted job contract… Let’s move to the answers, including both conventional and unconventional choices.

7 Sample answers to “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” interview question for tellers

  1. I consider my communication skills my greatest strength. Both verbal and non-verbal communication, I feel that people can easily understand my message, and they enjoy talking to me. I believe it will help me in my work in the bank. My organizational skills aren’t too shabby either, and I typically do not struggle to plan my day efficiently and to stick to the plan throughout the day. If I should pick one weakness, I’d pick impatience. It happens to me that I want to move on with something too quickly, or close a deal before the client is ready for the move. I am aware of this, try to analyze my sales talks retrospectively, and hope to improve on my weakness, which should also help me improve my results in any job I have.
  2. I would pick empathy, emotional intelligence as my greatest strengths. It doesn’t matter in what mood a customer arrives to my desk, I can always give them the feeling of importance and understanding. I believe to stand out when it comes to dealing with different personalities, simply because I can pick the right words in every situation. No doubt I sometimes make a mistake–everyone does, but I still believe to stand out with my empathy. Talking about weaknesses, I’d pick lack of ambition. There is this saying that if you plead life for a penny that’s exactly what life will pay you. And I’ve been pleading life for pennies for long enough… Now I am here though, hoping to get a job in a bank and restart my career.
  3. I would say my greatest strength is my attitude to life. Always eager to learn something new, to progress, to achieve better results each month, I am the one who gives things a real shot. Be it work, sport, relationship, I do nothing half-heartedly. And my biggest weakness? When I think about it, I have to go with lack of experience. I’ve never worked in a bank before, or in a similar setting. And though I am eager to learn as much as I can about the place, and I am sure you have excellent training program in place for new hires, I am aware that lack of experience is my weakness and disadvantage when compared to other job candidates who have experience.
  4. Speaking honestly, I do not know. This is my first job application ever. What I believe is that we all have some perception of ourselves, who we are, what we can and cannot do. But is the perception correct, or is it just an illusion we believe into? In my opinion, one has to do the job first, in this case the job of a teller, for a few weeks to see what their weaknesses are. And I am sure I will struggle with something, but I can assure you that as soon as I identify my weaknesses (perhaps with the help of my manager), I will try my best to eliminate them.
  5. My experience is my biggest strength. I worked as a teller in XYZ branch of ABC Bank for seven years. The branch eventually closed down, since we could not compete with bigger names in the area, but in those seven years I’ve seen it all, I’ve done it all. Every possible interaction with a customer you can imagine, every situation one can experience in a bank–including an armed robbery. With these years under my belt, I believe to be ready to deliver top-notch results from day one, and hope you will give me a chance to prove it. And weaknesses? Well, maybe I am a bit over-confident :), but that’s not necessarily a weakness in this profession, is it?
  6. I would say that my biggest strength is my ability to work in a fast-paced environment without experiencing a burnout, or any other issues. We all know how it works in today’s competitive marketplace, and I am not naive. You expect results from your tellers, to deliver again and again. Many people may struggle to deal with such pressure, but I have worked in such an environment for years, and you can be sure I will handle it. When it comes to weaknesses, I have to pick concentration. It happens to me that my mind wanders away, and I lose focus in work. Sometimes I am hearing but not listening, if you know what I mean. But I am aware of this weakness, and apply different exercises that help me stay in the present, and focus on what’s going on around me.
  7. Maybe my biggest strength is my ability to hide my weaknesses. Or have you spotted any in the interview? What I try to say here is that I excel in selling myself, my abilities and skills. And this does not apply to interviews only, it applies also to relationships. I honestly believe that I can transfer this ability to my work in a bank, selling banking products to people, making sure that they center their attention on the strengths of our products, and not on the weaknesses when we compare them to products of our competitors. If I manage to do it, I am sure you will be satisfied with my results. And then my strengths and weaknesses won’t be important anymore…


If you do not know what to say, you can always go with experience

As you can see on my list of sample answers, you have many options. You can talk about communication skills, leadership, empathy, time management, ability to handle the pressure of fast-paced environment, patience or impatience, ambition or lack of it, and so on, and so forth. You can even go with an unconventional answer, just like no. 4 or the last one on my list.

However, if you are not sure what to say in the heat of the moment, or forget the answer you carefully prepared upfront, you can always fall back on working experience. Either you have it (in a bank or in a related field), or you lack it. In the first case it is your major strength, since you’ve done it all and know how to work with customers in a bank and achieve desired results. In the second case it is your weakness, something you are aware of but cannot change. But you will try your best to learn from the training program and from your more experienced colleagues, and no doubt this weakness won’t restrain you from achieving your goals in the bank in the long run.

Ready to answer this one? I hope so! Do not forget to check also sample answers to other tricky questions you may face in your teller interview:

Matthew Chulaw
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