A few weeks ago we discussed confronting an interview question about your weaknesses. Now, it’s time to talk about the inverse: your professional strengths. Whereas a question about weakness could act as a trap, strengths are a different story. This question is more akin to a gentle volleyball set up for you to spike home for a point. Read on to you can make sure your answer lands in bounds.
Speaking to Your Strengths
To begin, we’ll start with the obvious: be honest and truthful. You wouldn’t be the first to try and dupe the hiring manager with a lie. Also, if any ‘strength’ seems too good to be true, they will generally ask for a work example to back it up with, so be honest! A good way to start the thought process for this question is to form a list of strengths you have. Look at job descriptions for where you’ve worked, and recommendations from coworkers. Knowing your own strengths and having them on paper is incredibly helpful. However, you’re not going to be discussing all of these in the interview.
Once you have a long list, try and pick out the few that are your strongest, and the most relevant to the position. Although you may be a 5 star chef, that won’t do you much good as an Accountant. Bring up only the relevant strengths, no matter how badly you want to boast about your homemade soufflé.
You are ultimately being asked, ‘Why are you the best candidate?’, and should bring
up your strengths to answer that question. This is your chance to steer the conversation, so highlight your most standout and relevant qualities. You should discuss your unique qualities that set you apart. This is not a time to be modest, but it’s also not a time to act cocky. Instead, you want to speak to your strengths with practiced confidence.
With all of this said, don’t go into the interview with a list and flowchart of strengths ready. If during the interview you pick up on things that seem extremely important to the company that weren’t in the job description, think of relevant skills and bring them up. Also, it’s okay to pause and think for a brief moment. However, don’t hesitate too long, you don’t want the hiring manager thinking you’re struggling to recall your strengths.
The Importance of Context
Throughout this entire blog, we’ve been discussing talking about your strengths. However, that’s not all you should be doing. Every positive quality you bring up should have a work story attached to it. I this story demonstrate your abilities to put it into practice. This reassures the hiring manager that your strength is actionable in the workplace.
Follow the above steps, and you’re sure to hit it out of the park. Also make sure you stay consistent, unlike our sports analogies. We hope this blog helps you speak to your strengths in an interview, and we’ll be back tomorrow with more job advice from our favorite movies!