One of the most common interview questions you will come across is “what is your greatest strength”. It may not be phrased in that exact question but often, interviewers ask a question along the lines of your skills, abilities, or what you can do.
This is asked because interviewers want to see what YOU can bring to the table. Amidst the many applicants saying the same thing 99% of the time, they want to see what makes YOU different, what makes YOU special.
With a bit of self-reflection, it should be quite easy to figure this out. The tricky part is how to explain it during your interview without sounding too boastful or too cliché - what can you say and how do you do it? The most important thing to do is to give concrete examples of the strengths you have.
Let’s talk about some common strengths and how to explain them in detail for your interviewer to understand.
Motivation to learn
“I love reading books and articles so I can learn something new as well as improve the current skills I have”
“I believe that we all should be constantly learning because once you stop learning, you stop growing and improving”
"I feel like I will be able to learn a lot from this position, which is something I look for in a work environment”
“When I learn something new, I apply and practice it immediately until it becomes a new skill”
“I focus 100% on what I am learning, which gives me the ability to pick it up quickly”
Achieving tasks and goals
“I make it a point to try and accomplish every single task required that day – it gives me a sense of achievement and that is what pushes me to do my best”
“It makes me feel good to complete the things I set myself to do”
“I schedule my tasks, requirements, and activities so I can meet all deadlines”
“I like to prioritize my tasks and get the most important ones done first”
“I write down lists and keep a checklist to ensure that I'm on track with work”
“I understand that there are many things that I cannot control, so I go with the flow with whatever situation I get put into”
“Being positive helps customers or clients see that I have confidence in our product”
“Having a positive attitude usually spreads and it allows me to lead by example”
Customer Service Skills
“By nature, I have a lot of patience. This makes it easier for me to handle customers respectfully and attentively”
"I am also a customer to other brands and services so I understand the frustrations customers have. Realizing this allows me to see things from their point of view and how to properly deal with any problems they have”
“I like to know if the people around me need help with tasks or problems they are facing”
Respect for others
“I always try to take other people’s opinion into consideration and analyze it”
“I don’t feel the need to always argue my point. I accept that people have different opinions so instead, I try to find ways to compromise”
“I think it’s extremely important to keep an open mind. You may actually learn things from other people’s point of views”
Other strengths you can reflect on:
- Attention to detail
- Proficiency with software or programs (relevant to the job)
- Good at task management and prioritization
- Time management skills
- Communication skills
- Good Focus
- Futuristic and forward thinking
- Problem-solving abilities
Being able to answer this question can be the difference between landing the job and getting that “sorry but thank you for your time” email. Set aside some time to reflect on yourself so you know what your strengths are and look back on past experiences that you can relay to further back-up those strengths.
For maximum effect, make sure the strengths you mention relate to the skills needed that are listed in the job description. For example, if you’re applying to a customer support position, talk about strengths in customer service, respect for others, or being helpful. If you’re applying to a creative role, talk about your creativity, ability to meet deadlines, or achieving tasks and goals.
Be confident in your answers but keep them short as to not sound too boastful. As much as possible, avoid sitting there for a long period of time saying “uhmmm, ahhhh”, because this conveys that you don't have confidence in yourself to at least know what you’re good at.
Take the time as well to practice and go over common interview questions
so you are well prepared. Do your research on the company, set up an appropriate outfit, get those resumes printed out, and put a smile on your face!