You've got something coming up that all job seekers are hoping for, a job interview. Congrats! Before you interview, it's smart to spend a little time preparing for the most frequently asked interview questions. One of the most common interview questions: what are your greatest strengths?
Answering this interview question might feel daunting, but it's a great opportunity to let your skills shine in a focused and meaningful way. Here, we'll talk about the best ways to prepare to discuss your strengths with any interviewer.
Preparing for a job interview is a critical step in getting the job you want. There are certain questions you can almost always expect in a traditional job interview, like “What is your greatest strength?” and “What is your greatest weakness?”
These questions take some thought and preparation. It isn't about the hiring manager giving you a hard time. In reality, they're looking for reasons why you stand out from other candidates, and reasons why you're the best fit for this particular role.
Answering these questions is an excellent opportunity for them to get to know your personality, and for you to illustrate past experiences that have made you the strong candidate you are today.
If you think about it, you probably have a lot of attributes you consider to be strengths. But when asked what your greatest strength is, it can be hard to narrow it down to the best answers.
That's where the prep work comes in. Come ready with specific examples and past work experiences to back up your statements. This not only brings your resume to life and lets the interviewer know more about your skills, accomplishments, and personality, but also shows that you took the time to think through your experience and how it would apply to the job requirements of the role or company you're applying for.
Here are a few steps job seekers can take to prepare for when an interviewer asks about your greatest strength:
Use Teal's Skills Database to identify your current skills and potential skills that you want to acquire. Once you've identified those, enter them into Teal's Skills Identifier.
Within Teal’s Job Tracker are tips and resources to help you practice interviewing.
You can keep track of the research you conduct in Teal’s Job Tracker. Tips and guidance are offered of where and how to conduct research. You can also log the research completed on any contacts you have made at the company.
When sitting in an interview, the goal is to walk the line between boastfulness and modesty. Don't overtly brag, but do share your achievements and stories that highlight your talent and even your growth over time. A few tips for this:
Use Teal’s Resume Builder to quickly compare the skills and keywords in the job posting to those in your resume. Make sure to add any relevant experience to your customized resume and to your interview answers.
If you're having a hard time figuring out your strengths, consider these suggestions as a starting point, or refer to Teal's free Skills Workbook:
Another thing we recommend that you do before you go into the interview is to do a little bit of introspection and self-awareness work on your work style by taking Teal’s Work Style Assessment. This is a quick self assessment to help you build your confidence in your career journey.
Ready for some sample answers of what to say in an interview when asked about your greatest strengths? Here are some examples for how to answer:
Example 1 - Pick a character-based strength
“I'm a motivated problem solver. I'm not afraid of sitting down either independently or collaboratively with a team to find solutions to complex problems. In my last position, I helped lay out a progress plan for a struggling department, which ended up hitting their annual sales goals by Q3.”
Example 2 - Choose a skills-based strength directly related to the job at hand
“I have excellent writing skills. As a freelance journalist, I have written for a variety of print and digital publications, so I know how to tell a good story while adhering to an editorial style guide. In my past content marketing roles, I've honed my ability to write clear, concise content for web pages, email communications and case studies.”
Example 3 - Be specific about a technology-based skill
“I've worked with Shopify for five years. I am intimately familiar with how the platform runs and have even figured out some workarounds that impressed my previous employer. I know this is a requirement of the job, and it's a skill I'm confident I can bring to the table.”
Example 4 - Don't discount your education or internships
“My background as a communications major has helped prepare me for this role. While earning my degree, I was able to jump right into the industry with an internship drafting press releases and researching press contacts for a well-reputed local firm. My supervisors commented on my strong communication skills. I even have experience giving presentations to clients.”
When preparing to answer interview questions about your greatest strengths, don't forget to also talk about your weaknesses (although, we prefer to call them “opportunities!”).
Be prepared to talk about your greatest challenges or growth opportunities based on your work experience so far. Prepare an answer that is honest and true, but also has a positive side to it. For example, you might talk about how you used to struggle with Microsoft Excel, but by taking extra training seminars and working with your supervisor, you've gained more confidence and capabilities and have seen solid improvement in your performance.
Don't let talking about a challenge or growth opportunity put you into a negative headspace. Use appropriate body language to help the interviewer understand that you are a hard worker and can overcome challenges.
Answering questions about yourself during job interviews, whether positively or negatively, can be a bit uncomfortable at times. You don't want to come off as pompous and braggy, and on the other hand, you don't want to appear self deprecating and lacking confidence in yourself and your abilities. Teal has a tool allowing you to receive feedback from others to help you better understand all you have to offer.
If you don't have any formal, documented feedback to review, consider asking other people for their viewpoints on your skills using the Work Styles 360 Assessment. Current and former co workers, friends, and even family can all help you get a more realistic grasp on your key strengths and what you offer.
Talking about yourself isn't always easy. Try to remember that the question offers an opportunity to share what makes you a great fit for the role, with examples from your real-life experiences. The best answer is typically one you have prepared. You may meet with more than one person and chances are that at least one of the team members will ask you a question about your strengths. Your response should highlight the qualifications and attributes that make you a star candidate and hopefully land you that job offer.
Plan to put some time and effort into preparing your interview answers, and you'll know you presented yourself in the best light.
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