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Entries in interview strengths (1)


6 tips on tackling the 'What is your greatest strength' interview question

Questions like “What is your greatest strength?” might seem like pretty standard fare in any interview. However, these questions help employers understand the candidate’s self-assessment, self-critical and questioning skills. 

Here are on some tips on how to tackle questions about your greatest strength:

  1. Share a strength that is relevant to the job: Reveal strengths about yourself that are relevant to the job. For example: if you’re applying for an editing or reporting position in a newspaper, then traits like sticking to deadlines and eye-for-detail are highly prized. On the other hand, a supervisory position requires highly efficient management skills. 
  2. Avoid drawing parallels to strengths that are irrelevant: Avoid talking about your strength in activities that have no relation to the job. For instance: Don’t simply point out that you were a star lacrosse player at school. How does that help with the graphic designer job you’re interviewing for? Instead, point out to the discipline and commitment required to become a lacrosse player, and highlight those points as your strengths.
  3. Elaborate your strengths: It is clichéd to say that you’re a great team player. Instead, back the statement up with specific examples from your past experience. If your strength, for example good people skill, helped others achieve their goals, then mention it. 
  4. Ask for specifics: Don’t hesitate to ask the interviewer to expand on the question. Are they interested in personal strengths or professional strengths? Is the interviewer analyzing general competencies or technical skills? 
  5. Avoid vague-terms: Interviewers are seldom impressed with phrases like “I can get the team going” or “happy-go-lucky”. Instead, use concrete phrases like motivator, positive thinker, leadership skills etc.
  6. Focus on 2 or 3 core strengths: Before the interview, list down your strengths and choose 2 or 3. Carefully outline your reasons behind choosing them. This will become your answer to the question, “What is your greatest strength?”

People often have a hard time verbalizing their strengths. In an interview, the fear of blowing one’s trumpet can lead to an underestimation of skills and strengths. Don’t let that be the case. Focus on core strengths and pitch them in a balanced manner to the employer.

Accentuating your strengths, with examples from previous positions, and how they came to benefit your prior employers will be a big plus in your interview.

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