Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Interview Question: "What are your greatest strengths?" -Best Practices

Interview Question: “What are your greatest strengths?”

“What are your greatest strengths?” 

Interviewers ask these types of questions because they’re looking to ensure that your strengths support the needs of the company and that you’re truly qualified for the position. How you answer this question may determine the Interviewer’s decision on whether or not you are the strongest candidate for the job.

Many candidates assume “what are your greatest strengths?” is a pretty easy question to answer.  Seems simple, right?  Just list off some of things you’re good at, a few synonyms, some big words…Well, if you want to impress the Interviewer my recommendation would be to NOT just ramble off your best qualities, talents or abilities. Instead, offer some of your GREATEST strengths that would support you in the role that you’re interviewing for. Give detail, be specific and explain each of the strengths that you reference. It’s about “quality not quantity.”

In some cases, an interviewer will actually come right out and ask you for an explanation and ask for you to give examples.  As a recruiter myself, I always want to know more.  For each of your strengths, clarify.  

When preparing, ask yourself these type of questions...
  • Why is this my strength?
  • How has it impacted my job/career or the organization I’ve worked with?
  • How did I develop these strengths?
  • What are some specific examples of how and when I’ve used these strengths?
  • What compliments/comments have I been given by management regarding my strengths?

After asking yourself these types of questions, you can better prepare yourself for the Interviewer’s question regarding your strengths.  You can use those answers to provide more detail and give a clearer explanation.  In the interview, give specific examples, be accurate and be honest.  Most importantly, give the Interviewer a better understanding of your capabilities and how your strengths can benefit their organization.

Here is an example answer... 

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"What are your greatest strengths?"

Example Answer: “Time management is one of my greatest strengths in addition to having a very strong work ethic. When given a deadline I typically choose to start working on that project immediately and finish ahead of schedule. In the past, this has allowed me to do more research, be more thorough and make any additional changes needed ahead of time to ensure that I am satisfied with the final results before submitting any work.  I truly believe that my work is a representation of myself and also the company I work for. That being said, it is important that I am able to put in the necessary time and dedication into anything that I put my name on.”

When preparing for the interview, research the company and the specific job you’re interviewing for. You’ll want to know the qualifications required and compare those qualifications to your own skills. You can find reviews on numerous companies through websites like Glassdoor and Indeed.  By reading reviews submitted by current and past employees, you are able to learn more about the company’s values, work environment and additional responsibilities of the job.

The bottom line – to let them know you have the skills, qualifications and that you are absolutely capable of doing the job. Provide the Interviewer with information that proves you are an ideal candidate for the position. Remember that you are trying to sell yourself. Focus on demonstrating how YOU can be an excellent addition to their team and set yourself apart from the other candidates.

Common Strengths
  • Strong work ethic/Hard worker
  • Leadership skills
  • Loyal/Dedicated
  • Time management
  • Determination
  • Problem Solver/Finds solutions
  • Out of the box thinker
  • Goal oriented/with the end goal in mind
  • Flexible
  • Communication Skills/People Skills (written & Oral)
  • Quick Learner
  • Team Player (but able to work independently)
  • Reliable
  • Positive attitude
  • Organized

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  • Be truthful and accurate.
  • Be confident and prepared.
  • Do your homework. Research the job/company.
  • Be specific and give examples.


Next Entry will be on how to answer “What are your weaknesses?” 

1 comment:

  1. Tks very much for your post.

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