How To Answer: ‘What Is Your Greatest Strength?’
What is your greatest strength? Is a common question in job interviews for any position. The interviewer is only interested to know what you can do for the company and that you have what it takes to push the organization forward. They are looking for a unique quality you possess that is not found in others.
Answering this question is an opportunity for you to display the skills, talents, and accomplishments that make you the best candidate for this position. Therefore, you have to be prepared for it.
First, here are some lists of strengths that are worth mentioning:
- Honesty and integrity
- Strong work ethics
- Proficiency in writing
- Critical thinking
- Analytical skills
- Organizing and planning skills
- Dedication and commitment
Tips for answering ‘What is your greatest strength?’ in a job interview
During a job interview, it’s likely that an interviewer will ask you tough interview questions about your strengths and weaknesses. It’s therefore important that you are able to discuss both.
Just as we listed some above, you should sit and make a list of your topmost strengths and be creative about it. To help you narrow it down to what the interviewers would want to hear, you should look up the job description and check out the qualifications listed there. Then select those skills of yours that match them and are relevant to the job description.
You can come up with strengths from:
- Your talents- this includes your gifts and abilities such as organizing events, creative and imaginative writing, conflict resolutions, etc.
- Your experiences-you can add your professional experiences while working in a particular industry while carrying out a particular project or your experience with using a particular tool or software.
- Soft skills- your personal skills such as team spirit, analytical skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, leadership skills, negotiation skills, and persuasion, etc. are all part of your strengths.
- Your educational qualification or training- if you have a relevant background in that job field such as degrees, internships, certifications, and seminars, you can enlist them as part of your strengths.
All these can be used to answer the question, ‘What is your greatest strength?’
Narrow down your list
Focus your list on your strongest strengths that would add more value to the company. Also, narrow them down to the ones you would be more comfortable to talk about. Some people already know their strengths and even have favorite ones they like talking about. Make sure to include those in your list.
Get your story ready
Develop at least one or two stories to show that you indeed possess those strengths, as you listed. It is not enough to just list out strengths to your interviewers without backing them up. You are advised to prepare and practice before then so you don’t go there and stutter or ramble for too long.
Keep your response brief and concise
Do not give lengthy speeches. 2 to 3 minutes is enough to list your strengths and highlight them. Remember to stick to the relevant ones.
Be honest but don’t be too modest
This is an opportunity for you to display your skills and talents; therefore; you should ensure that you give an honest response. Don’t just make up a story out of the blue just because you want the interviewers to be impressed with you.
On the other hand, do not play the modesty game or act too humble. Do not pick weak and lame strengths when you can go for the stronger ones. Don’t use a general term like “I have a pleasant personality” as your major selling point. Just anyone could possess or even claim to have a “pleasant personality”.
Be specific and show that you have an extra value to add which other candidates may not be able to add to the company.
Sample to ‘What is your greatest strength?’:
‘I would describe myself as a pro-active, energetic, and positive person. I’m a dedicated professional who’s willing to go the extra mile to complete the required tasks.
For example, last year, my managing director was looking for a volunteer to manage monthly performance reports. Even though I knew it was a time-consuming job on top of my daily tasks, I decided to volunteer and got appointed. In my previous position as an intern, I was also responsible for running these reports as well, and I saw an opportunity to manage the process more efficiently for my team.
I discussed the current process with my manager and the managing director and provided them with feedback on possible improvements that I had in mind. Based on their feedback on my ideas, I created a new report that was mostly automated, which saved hours in comparison to the old report.
When I presented the new report to my manager and managing director, they were impressed with the improvements. Not only did the new, mostly automated report save time, but I also created a far clearer overview of the team’s performance. Within three months other departments in the company started using the new model too, which was a great personal accomplishment for me.’
Tips to help you discover your strengths
Not everyone knows his or her strengths. Some find it difficult to identify their strengths. Here are a few tips to help you develop a list of your own strengths:
Assess your skills
This is something you should do before your interview. Write down your skills and divide them into three classes;
Hard skills- they are usually knowledge-based and specific to a field or industry. They are those skills you acquired based on your educational background and experiences, such as degrees, computer training, and language learning.
Soft skills- also called transferable skills, can be moved from one job to another, e.g. communication and interpersonal skills, analytical skills, leadership skills, management skills, and organizational skills.
Personal skills- sometimes, these skills are categorized under soft skills. Still, they are more of your unique attributes such as being friendly, able to connect with people, hardworking, punctuality, and dependable.
Dig to get more clues
Check out the reviews you got in your previous jobs for the positive feedbacks. What were the compliments you received? Do the same with your emails if you receive feedback via emails. If you are a fresh college graduate, think of the positive feedback you have received from your supervisors and professors after your project works and internships.
Get opinions from people that know you
People that know you can tell your personality. Don’t underestimate how much your friends and colleagues know about you. You can seek their opinion. You can also ask a family member to tell you what they think are your greatest strengths.
Job Interview Topics – Common Job Interview Questions & Answers
Below you can find a list of common job interview topics. Each link will direct you to an article regarding the specific topics that discuss commonly asked interview questions. Furthermore, each article discusses why the interviewer asks these questions and how you answer them!
- Career Change
- Career Goals
- Conflict Resolution
- Creative Thinking
- Cultural Fit
- Customer Service
- Growth Potential
- Honesty & Integrity
- Job Satisfaction
- Entry-Level & No experience
- Prioritization & Time Management
- Situational & Scenario-based
- Stress Management
- Telephone Interview
- Work Ethic