Unlike the “What are your weaknesses” question, the “What are your strengths?” interview question is one of the easiest questions you’ll be asked during your interview. This strength interview question gives you the perfect opportunity to modestly bring out your key traits and impress the interviewer in just the first few minutes of the interview.
The key to answering this question is being able to support your strengths with examples! You cannot only say, “I am hardworking, organized, patient, and a quick learner” because anyone can just list a bunch of generic strengths. That will not make the interviewer remember you. Instead, use this opportunity to prove to the interviewer that those are, in fact, your actual strengths by giving concrete examples. You need to show the interviewer how you stand out from the crowd, what it is that makes you different from the next candidate, and essentially persuade the interviewer with reasons why they should hire you.
You should describe the skills that you have that directly relate to the job that you are applying for. If you are unsure of what those skills may be, a helpful hint is that usually in the job posting, there is a description of the position itself, along with the skills a qualified candidate should have. You basically want to repeat some of those skills back to them, but support them with examples that prove to the interviewers that you do, indeed, possess them.
Some specific examples: Skills you may want to emphasize if you’re applying to these positions:
- Sales – Communication skills, persuasive, self-confident, persistence, sociable
- Accountant – Attentive to details, analytical, problem solver, good with math/numbers
- Lawyer – Persuasive, negotiator, problem solver, active listener, communication skills
- Teacher – Patient, communication skills, leadership skills, problem solver
Again, for any position, make sure you do your research and find out what skills are needed for the specific role that you are applying to. Emphasize those skills in your interview. You can also observe the skills and attitudes of the people who already have the job to give you a better idea of what employers are looking for.
“What Are Your Strengths?” Examples
NO: Bad Interview Answers: Listing out generic strengths without specific examples
- “My greatest strength is that I have strong people skills. I’m always interacting with people in my previous jobs and helping them solve any problems that they may have. I love working with people and it really shows. I have also received a lot of positive feedback on my skills from my customers.”
Remember, anyone can easily say this. Simply saying that you help people solve problems is too general. Giving a personal example of how you solved a problem may make this answer stronger.
YES: Good Interview Answer: Support your strengths with personal examples
- “I am very organized and great with time management. This is mainly because I always keep a planner, where I write down all the important dates and deadlines. I set my priorities and goals so I know what I need to get done. Setting goals and staying organized are useful because I am able to get things done without procrastinating. For example, when I am given an assignment and I know it’s not due for another month, I get started on it right away because I feel more comfortable if I am able to get it out of my way and just be ready for any upcoming assignments that may have more strict deadlines. I guess that’s why I am always able to finish projects a few days before the given deadlines…”
You should definitely share a personal story of how your organization skills or your effectiveness with time management has helped you with your work. Sharing personal stories will give the interviewer a sense of honesty. However, remember to keep your story concise, relate to the point that you’re trying to make, and not deviate from the question.
- Other strengths you can use for the interview include: Attentive to detail, patient, self-confident, quick learner, problem solver, team player, initiator, any technical skills etc. – All these are great qualities, but again, make sure you are able to support these strengths with examples!
This question allows you to have the absolute right to brag about yourself because you are essentially trying to sell yourself to the company! If you don’t feel comfortable “bragging” about yourself, just think of it like this: If you don’t brag about yourself right now, no one else is going to! But you want to make sure you do it humbly and avoid over exaggerating your skills. You don’t want to come off as egoistic. Nevertheless, the “What Are Your Strengths?” interview question gives you a great opportunity for you to shine and amaze your interviewer.