Common Interview Questions Answered: “What Is Your Greatest Strength?”
This question can be one of the easiest but also one of the most difficult in the interviewer’s arsenal. You don’t want to seem arrogant when answering, but you also want to show self-awareness and maturity.
Keep it relevant
This is your opportunity to show that you’re the best candidate for the job they’re hiring for. First things first, check out the job description and have a look at some of the desired characteristics. This could be the ability to build relationships, or to come up with innovative solutions.
Next, write down the traits that you actually possess. Chances are, if you are interested in this career some of those traits will match. If they don’t, don’t panic. Find an innovative way to make your greatest strengths match their greatest requirements. Thinking outside the box is a pretty valuable strength too, remember.
And keep it professional
It’s important to note that while perfecting the perfect glitter make up might make you the envy of the office at the Christmas Party, it’s not going to get you hired for the majority of gigs. So when we say think outside the box, we’re more talking about how your strengths could be useful for the everyday tasks at hand.
This doesn’t mean that your play time isn’t relevant. If you’re the social butterfly at all the parties, or seemed to know everyone at student club nights, chances are you’re a born networker. If you’re the one your friends come to for advice, and you have seen your advice work, chances are you are good at coming up with responsible solutions. Finally, if you’ve been voted as Secretary or Treasurer for your Mixed Hockey Club, then that could be treated as proof you’re responsible, organised and mature.
Listing your strengths might seem a sure way to get hired, but you actually need to go beyond this. You want proof. You want a time where you actually showcased this strength. Make the skill tangible.
This is the perfect time to link in some of your extra-curricular activities. If your greatest strength is being a team player, then bring up that time that you played netball and ended up in the final of BUCS. If you think your ambition makes you stand out from the crowd then show a time you pushed yourself – that half-marathon, or extra GCSE. The more memorable it is, the better.
The real professionals at interviews manage to get all of these answers to sound like they are rolling off their tongue. Plan your answer, write out a paragraph and then practice till it sounds like your friend just asked you over a pint down the pub.
An example to help you on your way:
“I’ve found that my greatest strength is taking the lead in difficult situations. This was particularly helpful when doing my Gold Duke of Edinburgh as we got lost in bad weather (PROOF). Through taking the lead I was able to ensure that my team got down to safety before the storm came in (PROFESSIONALISM). This would be helpful when handling projects with tight deadlines (RELEVANCE).”