Responding to “What Are Your Greatest Strengths?” This Year

If you have a job interview, the interviewer will likely ask, “What are your greatest strengths?” Here’s how you can ace the answer.

Job Interview
Job Interview

What Do Employers Mean When They Ask “What Are Your Strengths?”

When a recruiter or hiring manager asks you what your greatest strengths or greatest weaknesses are, they are doing so for a very good reason. First, they are trying to get to know you as a person; they want to know what you feel you are best at and, potentially, whether you know where you need improvement. 

This is key because it shows that you have a degree of self-awareness. Furthermore, employers are trying to figure out whether you will be a good fit for the job you have applied for, as well as how you will fit into the company’s culture. Essentially, they are asking, “Why should we hire you?” 

So as you can see, this is a good question for interviewers to ask. It’s also why this is one of the most common interview questions asked by recruiters and hiring managers, no matter what kind of role they are interviewing for. Of course, in order to get to this point, you will need to write a good resume and a strong cover letter.


Some Common Strengths To Consider Mentioning

While you answer this question, you can mention any skills or traits you consider to be major strengths. However, there are certain strengths that are more impressive to certain recruiters. For example, if you are applying to be a programmer, technical skills may be more attractive than creative skills. Of course, some strengths like being a hard worker and having great people skills are good to use in virtually any situation. The most common personal strengths mentioned by job seekers in interviews include: 

  • Creativity
  • Project management
  • Discipline
  • Writing skills
  • Analytical thought
  • Delegating
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Management skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Multitasking
  • Public speaking
  • Customer communication

To prepare yourself for a job interview, start by listing all of your greatest strengths, whether those are personality traits or hard skills. Once you have this list, you should circle the personal strengths that are most relevant to the job you have applied for. This list of strengths will make it easier to answer this and other interview questions.

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How To Answer This Question

You should treat this question the same way as common interview questions about behavior such as, “When have you shown leadership skills?” Provide the interviewer with a specific example of why you consider a certain skill or trait to be one of your key strengths. When you’re asked this question, tailor your answer by providing skills that suit the requirements of the job description.

It is important to be detail-oriented when you answer this question. Focus on specifics when you give examples of strengths. While some people can feel like they’re bragging by answering this question confidently, during a job interview, it is okay to do so. Being self-critical or too humble will not impress the hiring managers. When asked these kinds of job interview questions, you should be honest but positive and talk about personal strengths that are connected to some of your biggest success stories—especially if they earned you glowing performance reviews, helped you become a good team player or achieved academic or sporting success.

By providing a clear, concise answer followed up by specific examples of times when you have used those strengths to your advantage, you will show the recruiter adaptability and active listening skills. This will increase your chances of securing a second interview or even a job offer. Make sure you focus on the biggest strengths you have that are relevant to the job posting and only move on to less relevant or less robust strengths if the recruiter asks for additional examples.

FAQ: “What Are Your Strengths?” Question

Q: What are some other ways employers ask this question?

  • What strengths would you bring to the company?
  • What are [number] strengths you bring to the position?
  • What do you do best in your current job?
  • What would your coworkers say is your greatest strength?
  • What is your strongest area of expertise?

While these are the most common ways to ask this question, preparing to answer any strength-related questions ahead of time will allow you to thoughtfully answer the questions. 

Q: How do I present my strengths most effectively?

Make good use of your communication skills. Speak directly and confidently about your greatest strengths and give examples of times when you had a chance to use them to their full potential. These strengths can be soft skills such as problem-solving abilities and leadership skills or hard skills like SEO or social media marketing.

Q: Which of my qualifications is most important to list?

If you want to determine which of your qualifications can be classed as your greatest strengths, you should consider which you have used effectively in the past. Having examples of your strengths prepared ahead of the interview can help when answering tough interview questions. 

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