What Are Your Strengths? (Basic Interview Question)

What Are Your Strengths? - Interview Question

Chances are you are going to be asked quite a few questions through the course of an interview.

One of the questions you’ll more than likely be asked is, “What are your strengths?”

This can be daunting because most people either become overwhelmed with responses or draw a blank.

(Or sometimes both!)

No need to panic.

Believe it or not, this is one of the best questions that someone could ask you in an interview.

This is your chance to show off what you are made of without any judgment of sounding cocky.

Being asked what your strengths are is the perfect setup to tell the employer exactly why you are great for the position.

No, it’s not a trap.

The interviewer wants to hear your confidence as you explain how your strengths make you a good match for this position.

When answering this question, there is really only one thing you need to ask yourself.

“Are my strengths needed in order to succeed in this position?”

If the answer is yes, then you are on the right track.

If the answer is no, then you need to rethink your answer.

Depending on the positions you are applying for, your answers could be very different.

Learn How To Answer The 16 Most Common Interview Questions.

Below, we’ll take a look at how your response could vary depending on the position you are applying for.

Good and not so good responses

From reading these examples you will get a general idea of how you should tailor your strengths for the position you are applying to.

Take a look below.

  • Sales Position

Hiring manager: "What are your strengths?"

Bad Answer:

I am extremely sensitive and agreeable. When somebody tells me ‘no,’ I give them their space and respect their wishes.

Good Answer:

I am extremely ambitious. I love being social and meeting new people. My mother always told me that I should become a sales person because I do not understand the word ‘no.’

  • Human Resources

Hiring manager: "What are your strengths?"

Bad Answer:

I am very good at focusing on just one thing and working on that task until it is completed perfectly. I am also the type of person who does not really need to plan anything or write anything down.

Good Answer:

I am extremely detail oriented. I am easily able to manage multiple tasks at once. I have personally always kept a detailed calendar with all of my important dates, deadlines, meetings, and events in order to stay organized.

  • Technical Position

Hiring manager: "What are your strengths?"

Bad Answer:

I think I am very creative and artistic. I like to combine different forms of code to make my own version. I call it Pyjavc#.

Good Answer:

I am very analytical with my work and have always done very well with mathematical problems. I am extremely detail oriented and am constantly learning the latest trends to reduce footprint.

You’ll notice that the good answers focus on framing the strengths in a positive light.

It is important to consider your strengths in the context of what the company will need from you.

Do they need someone agreeable or someone ambitious?

Does the position require a lot of creativity or more detail-orientation?

Creativity may very well be one of your strengths, for example, but in some cases, it might be more important for the hiring manager to hear how detail orientated you are.

We recommend that you do not copy these examples word for word.

You should use these only as basic guidelines and then build off them for your own answer.

You have your own unique strengths, so why not use them?

Icing on the cake

To go above and beyond, add a sentence explaining how these strengths will relate to the exact position you are applying for.

Try to avoid saying something like:

I am extremely ambitious. I love being social and meeting new people. My mother always told me that I should become a sales person because I do not understand the word ‘no.’ 

Instead, try saying:

I am extremely ambitious. I love being social and meeting new people. My mother always told me that I should become a sales person because I do not understand the word ‘no.’ I would love the opportunity to bring my competitive spirit and can-do attitude to the amazing sales team here at ABC Company.

See the difference?

The first response only expressed an ambitious attitude.

Not bad.

The second response, however, made a connection between this ambitious attitude and how this would benefit the company.

In other words, it shows how this strength can be used to contribute to the company.

Even better.

Now, practice this a couple times before each interview and you are all set!

Answering the interview question, “What are your strengths?” will be a walk in the park.

The next question you can guarantee this will be followed up by is, “What Are Your Weaknesses?”

This question sounds even worse, right?

Click the link to find out how you can make this dreaded interview question work for you!

Need more help?

We know the amount of time it takes to adequately prepare for an interview.

It can be a very stressful process.

That’s why Find My Profession offers expert interview training for any career level.

Call or email us today to learn more about all of our professional services.

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