How to Answer the “What Are Your Greatest Strengths?” Interview Question

An interview is a great opportunity to sell yourself as an employable package. In that context being asked to outline your greatest strengths should be an absolute gift.

Yet in the interview spotlight, many candidates struggle with this question and fail to adequately showcase their attributes. Here we explore how to successfully spell out your strengths.

Interview Skills and Answers to Questions

Strength selection

Having already matched up your skills to the selection criteria for the job, you know you are the right fit for this opportunity. Now you have the chance to apply the same matching process to your strengths. Being asked to describe your strengths is a common question so be prepared and anticipate that it will come up in your interview. As part of the interview preparation process make a list of your specific strengths. If you’re not sure what your strengths are, then use an online assessment tool or talk to a professional interview coach.

Now sift through your list and select those strengths which are most relevant to this particular post. Weed out any which you cannot link with the job requirements e.g.. if it is an administrative post then leadership is not as relevant as for example attention to detail. Hold onto the original list as the strengths you focus on next time may be different depending on the job in question. For now, choose those which help reinforce your suitability for this particular job.

Supporting story

It is quite simply not enough to just state what your strengths are. Telling the panel that you are adaptable to different circumstances or are an exceptionally fast learner should just be opening gambits. You need to paint a picture for them of how you have used these strengths in situations in the past. Think about how your strength would be applicable in the context of the job as this will give you an insight into what information the employer needs to hear.

Bring the strength to life by being as specific as possible with your story. Be descriptive in terms of the impact your strength had on the situation and if possible quantify the result achieved. This will make your example stand out and will also add to the credibility of your claims. Structure your answer as you would with any other interview question- using the STAR approach can really help with this. This involves you describing the (S) ituation, (T) ask, your (A) ction and the (R) esult achieved. Using this systematic approach will really help sell your strengths.

Powerful performance

Describe your greatest strengths in an engaging way. This is a further opportunity to demonstrate your communication skills- of central importance in many jobs- and your enthusiasm. Candidates are often concerned about coming across as arrogant when talking about their strengths. Finding the right balance and achieving a quietly confident approach will enhance not only this part of the interview but also improve the overall impression you make on the panel. Be authentic, be compelling and be proud of what you can do. Interviewers can tell when people are uncomfortable talking about their achievements and can misinterpret this as lack of self-belief.

Take time to practice delivering your answer. Ask a friend to listen to your response and encourage them to give honest feedback. Taking advice from a professional interview preparation company can really help articulate your strengths and improve your overall performance on the day.

For answers to more common interview questions, see our free information on the ISC Professional website.

Interview Skills Click Common Interview Questions
Interview Skills Click Common Interview Questions

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