WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS? HOW TO ANSWER THIS COMMON INTERVIEW QUESTION
This is another of those tricky questions that can catch a candidate off guard at interview. With a little bit of thought and preparation, however, you can use your answer to show the hiring manager you are the right person for the job.
Here are some suggestions for exploring the question in an advance so you are ready to impress on the day.
First, what are your strengths? You may already have a fairly clear idea. If not, think about professional situations where you believe that you have exceeded expectations. What hard or soft skills or qualities did you use in these situations? Alternatively, think about feedback sessions or annual reviews with previous supervisors. What strong points have they highlighted? What have they praised you for?
>>Aim for a list of about 10 skills and qualities you are confident you possess.
Next, look at the job description (JD) for the role you are interviewing for. What core skills and qualities does it mention as being “essential” or “desirable”? If you’ve been shortlisted, the hiring manager already considers you to be a potentially good fit for the role. There is a strong likelihood that some of the skills and qualities on your list are also on the JD.
>>Reduce your list of 10 skills and qualities to about 3-5 that are relevant to the role. Ideally you’re aiming for a mix of hard and soft skills and qualities.
If you are applying for a job as a territory sales representative, you could single out communication & influencing skills, self-motivation, and the ability to use sales technology. For a management role, you could highlight strategic thinking, team building and the ability to see the bigger picture.
>>Finally, think about how you have used each individual skill and quality on the job. After all, the hiring manager doesn’t just want to know what strengths you have, they want to know how you have put them into practice.
A candidate interviewing for a management role might choose to go into more detail about their team-building experience.
E.g. Team building is definitely one of my strong points. In my current role, I have set up three project teams from scratch, drawing on people from across the business. I always start the project with a kick-off meeting, not just to outline the tasks ahead, but as an opportunity for everyone to meet and get to know each other. I follow up with informal coffee chats and more formal meetings where we discuss what needs to be done and celebrate individual and team success.
It can take time to explore your strengths so you have something relevant to say at interview. But it is time well spent. You are not only showing your hiring manager that you’re a strong candidate for the role, your interview preparation demonstrates that you value the opportunity you have been given.
If you’re looking to invest your strengths in a new role, contact the professional team at Optimal Recruitment today on firstname.lastname@example.org or 02 8416 4181.