|  October 12, 2012

Common interview questions: What is your greatest strength?

The QuestionWhat is your greatest strength? or Tell me about your biggest strength.

(note: click here to see the “What is your greatest weakness” post)

Why do they ask:  Employers are asking this question because they want to make sure of a few things

  1. you are confident
  2. you have an area that you are strong in
  3. that you are able to identify it and use it to your advantage
  4. that it will help you get this job done well

Things to consider:  Don’t be afraid to “toot your own horn”.  This is the time to do it. Hopefully you already know what you’re really good at but if not, make sure you give it some thought.  Also, in the case of an interview, you’ll want your strength to relate to the job.  Maybe you’re a really good runner but if this is a sales job, that probably isn’t relevant.

How to answer:  Taking a cue from the above, tell your interviewer about something you are really good at and then give examples.  Also make sure they know you’ve actually been recognized for it and then explain how you might apply that strength to the job you’re interviewing for.  This ensures that your strength is validated (by those around you) and will actually make you an even better candidate for the job you’re talking about.  Your tone must be really confident as you speak to these things.  No matter how good your answer is in content, the way you present it is really important.

A sample answer for an entry level role might sound like this:

One of my biggest strengths is my organizational skills.  I’m naturally a very organized person and always have been in my personal life and with school.  I realized in my internship last summer that it is a huge asset professionally as well.  One project I worked on required [insert example of time when you had to organize chaos] and now the [thing you put together] is used across the company and there is a better system in place.  I received great feedback on this project from my manager and I am proud that I was able to create more efficiency for the company.  I know that this role requires [insert relevant responsibility here] and I think my strong organizational skills will be a big asset to that task as well as many of the others.

Key takeaways:

  • Whatever you say, say with confidence
  • Pick a strength that is relevant
  • Give examples
  • Show that you’ve been recognized for this strength
  • Tie it back to the current job

This question should be one of the more fun ones to answer in the interview.  There are lots of points in the interview where the focus will be on difficult situations, mistakes made, and other scenarios that are not as fun to speak to.  Get excited to show off your good qualities and “sell yourself”.  If you’ve answered this question well before, leave a comment!  Would love to hear how our readers have nailed this question in the past.


answers to interview questions


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