Answer the Interview Question “What Is Your Greatest Strength?”

three gold trophies in case

The question of what your greatest strength is in the workplace always comes up, no matter what position!  Answering your strength is actually easier than you think, if you know what to look for!

Watch for Different Versions of The Strength Question

This question also hides under the disguise of:

  • What do you do best?
  • What is an area where you consider yourself an expert?
  • What area are you considered the go-to person on your team?
  • What’s your greatest attribute?

 

Typical Follow-up Question:

“Can you give me an example of how you’ve used that strength in your job?” Or the more notorious version: “Can you give me an example of how you’ve used that strength in your job in the last week?”  Make sure you’re talking about a strength that applies to your last position and  one you use regularly!

 

What the Hiring Manager Really Wants to Know

Do you have an accurate view of yourself and are willing to present it or are you trying to present false strengths that you think align with the position?  Plenty of people think that guessing what the hiring manager wants and then pretending to have that quality.

 

Know Your Strengths

Before you go into your interview, think about what you do that other people consider you to be an expert. Is it more important for your interviewer to know your soft skills (attitude, team player, organized, etc.) or should you tote your hard skills (solid accomplishments, like specific technology, spreadsheets, relevant certifications, etc)?  Once you choose the type of strength that is needed, it’s important you choose something that you also have a story telling how it’s relevant to your past position and how it might apply to the new one. Keep it short, simple, and easy for the hiring manager to understand how it would help their company.

Examples of possible strengths here.

Show Strong Work

Be specific! Give them at least two specific numbers, such as: dollar amounts, amounts of time, size of teams, number of projects, and/or percent increases. Telling them definitive information that they can check with your references will make it Implying that they should take your word for how successful you are isn’t nearly as convincing as presenting the information easily. Consider if two candidates interview, but only one gives definitive evidence. Which one do you think would be offered the position? Make sure you give them a reason to pick you!

 

Examples of a Good Answer

“I have a few strengths… (pause to think) and I’d have to say I’m dependable. Part of that is I have met all of my project deadlines at work and have done that for the last 3 years. People know that they can trust me to do what I say I’ll do. When I’m given a project, the team knows I’ll get it done on time.” (Proceed to give example of recently finished project)

“I’d say that I communicate well under pressure. When I was asked to cover the incoming phone calls, I was able to cover them 100% of the time and also decrease the number of incoming wrong numbers by 25%, leading to more time for more time face-to-face with incoming customers.”

“I’d say my ability to handle pressure and work under a tight deadline. In my last position, I was able to juggle several projects on short notice for (name specific clients) and was able to complete 100% of my projects, which resulted in us winning $500k extra business from those clients.”

 

Key Points To Remember About Strength Question

  • Give an honest answer
  • Give an example/story of how you helped past companies
  • Keep it short
  • In that story, give 2 (or more) of numbers or solid examples conveying your past success

Make sure you also know your greatest weakness! 

Before you go, make sure you dress for success.

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