When you go for a job interview, among the easiest questions you will be asked is the question: what is your greatest strength. When you are asked such a question, it is best to explain attributes that will show you are qualified for that particular job.
The best way to answer is to show the interviewer how your experience and skills directly relate to the job that you are interested in. In order to be fully prepared for that question, look at the qualifications required for that job then match them to your skills. Pick out those that seem strongest and use them to answer the question.
Part 1: What Is Your Greatest Strength?
Knowledge-Based Skills: These are the ones that you get from experience and education such as technical ability, training, degrees, languages, skills and computer.
Transferable Skills: These are the skills you consider mobile, you move around with them such as planning skills, problem solving skills, people and communication skills.
Personal Qualities: These are your unique traits such as punctual, a team player, friendly, formal, flexible, hardworking, dependable and expressive.
Once you are done with the list, pick out five strengths that match what is required for the job. If you are asked further, be ready with specific examples that will directly relate to the job requirements.
Part 2: How to Choose the Right Strength for Interview
Pick out strengths that you actually have. Do not say you possess a strength simply because it is a requirement, or your friend pulled that trick in an interview and it worked. Instead, be the best version of yourself, professionally. It will be easier to convince the interviewer if you give your actual strengths.
Before the interview, take time to cross check your strengths to the requirements of the job. You might have several strengths but their relevance to the job in question is what matters.
Pick specific strengths. Do not go for something that is too general like people skills; instead say “convincing communication” or “relationship building”. If 90% of your friends would say they have a similar strength, drop it and choose another.
Don’t Be Too Modest
Don’t walk into an interview room with “pleasant personality” as your selling point. Everybody has or should at least have a pleasant personality. Instead, go in with something solid that will add value to the position.
Be Ready to Prove
Always have evidence to back up your strength. In this section, you should be careful not to talk for too long. It is, therefore, wise to pick out three strengths and practice how you will support each prior to the interview.
Avoid Common Mistakes
There are mistakes that many candidates make when answering "What is your greatest strength?". This is meant to be your moment to “sell” yourself to the interviewer by charming him. Here are a few mistakes that will cost you:
Lack of Self-Awareness. Most candidates do not take time to know what their strengths are. If you are not able to identify them, seek advice on how to realize them.
Humility. For those who have gotten their previous jobs easily, it might be hard to “sell” themselves. For this reason, they tend to be too modest in saying what they are good at.
Picking Weak Strengths. Others give strengths that do not make them unique or are just not suited for the job. Don’t mention strengths that every other person has. This will make you forgettable to the interviewer.
Part 3: Sample Answers
I consider problem solving as my greatest strength. I view situations from different dimensions and even when faced with difficult challenges, and I make sure that my work is completed on time. I also believe that I have exemplary communication skills. I am relaxed when making a presentation to executive members as I was when dealing with junior members of the team. Previously, I worked as a programmer and that helped me get a developer’s perspective. I believe they respected me for that quality.
This is a good answer because it sums up the best three of your strengths related to the job you are interested in. If you plainly say that you have good communication skills and you are a problem solver, it will sound weak and memorized. What you need to do is to add more details to the skills you are referring to in such a way that you will impress the interviewer.
One of my strengths is my solid work ethic. I place all my focus to meet any deadlines that I have committed myself to. A good example is what happened last week. Our team in Singapore delayed in submitting some figures and we had a report due. Since it was a must for the client to receive the report on time, I burnt the midnight oil and completed the spreadsheet.
You realize that this answer expounds further on a “hard worker”. When you say you are hardworking, it might sound too general and too cliché. Like the candidate above, it is best if you are more specific and explain what work ethics means to you and shows that you can be counted on to meet tight deadlines by giving a precise example.
Want to know more tips on answering what is your greatest strength, the video below can give you a professional help: