How to Answer “What Is Your Greatest Strength?”

Best answers and examples on "what is your greatest strength"

common interview question - what is your greatest strength

At a job interview you could be asked the question “what is your greatest strength?” directly, or indirectly. In fact, the question and how successfully you answer it could be the make-or-break part of your interview.

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How to answer the “what is your greatest strength” interview question

What to avoid in framing the “what is your strength” best answer for the job interview

If you are among a group of qualified candidates, those other candidates probably answered the job interview question “What is your strength” with uninspired generalities like, “I’m hardworking,” or “I’m professional,” or “I’m enthusiastic.” 

What you need to come up with during the interview on what is your strength is one to three strengths that will make you unique and add value to the organization.

Also, be on the lookout for job interview ice-breaker questions  

You could be asked what seem to be unchallenging questions like “What is your favorite sport?” or “What books are you reading?”

Be prepared with an answer that matches your knowledge of the job requirements. 

If you’re going to be part of a large team, your answer should include a preference for team sports, like volleyball. 

Likewise, if the job calls for heavy market research, read up on the subject and talk about a book that you have read on market research trends, and, again, relate your reading to the job and your value as a future employee.

So, the interviewer might not use the words “greatest strengths” in the question. The interview question could be something like, “Tell me how your performance at your last job contributed to your employer’s success.”

You need a strategy to answer the “what is your greatest strength” interview question

You need to be prepared and decide how you are going to answer the question ahead of time. That thinking involves an honest self-inventory. You need to narrow down your strengths to one, but not more than three, choices and craft an answer that seamlessly incorporates those strengths. 

The strengths you want to highlight should have already been mentioned on your job application, résumé, and cover letter. Your strengths need to be backed up with proof, and you need to be prepared to demonstrate how those strengths contributed to what made your résumé stand out—your past contributions and accomplishments, which are the best indicators of future performance.

Choose 1 to 3 from the following inventory of valued strengths and determine which are relevant to the job requirements, and you have demonstrated in the past:

  • You are disciplined and focused.
  • You are resourceful and seek challenges.
  • You are detail-oriented. 
  • You are a fast learner and seek improved ways of doing the work faster, better, and more successfully.
  • You are loyal and trustworthy and will keep the interests of the organization always as your first priority. 
  • You are commercially aware; that is, you know what the company does, whom it serves, and how it has been successful in the past.
  • You are a collaborative worker and understand the value and purpose of teamwork. 

More advice on techniques for answering “What is your greatest strength”

While the answer to the “what are your weaknesses?” interview question should be short, it is important not to gloss over the “What is your greatest strength?” question. That is because the interviewers are looking for answers to the following:

  • Do you know your own strengths?
  • Is your self-image and statement of accomplishments backed up with evidence?
  • Are your strengths relevant to the job they are seeking to fill?

You must avoid the impression that you’re struggling to get the question behind you. Be humble and don’t brag or ramble. 

Do your research and get more suggestions on how to describe what are your top strengths

There is plenty of advice available on the web and elsewhere on how to answer the “what is your greatest strength” interview question. For example, in his YouTube presentation, British job interview expert Richard McMunn provides a quick overview and advice, and a well-crafted sample response incorporating his three favorite strengths.

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