When interviewers ask “what is your greatest strength?”, there are a couple of things they’re looking to hear. There are also a few things they really do NOT want to hear.
So in this article, we’re going to look at some sample answers for “what is your greatest strength,” and tips for creating your own answer that will impress the interviewer.
Let’s get started…
Being put on the spot and asked to brag about yourself in the interview is never easy. However, there are a few steps you can follow to make sure you give a solid answer that interviewers will like.
Here are some key rules to remember when answering, “What is your greatest strength?” in an interview.
It’s going to be a lot easier to give a clear, concise interview answer (which is always a good thing!) if you just pick one strength.
So choose one thing, keep your answer brief, and focus on making that one point and describing that one key strength of yours.
If you aren’t sure what strength to choose, keep reading. We’ll cover that in the next step…
Do NOT just go in and “wing it.” Even preparing a half-decent answer will be better than making it up on the spot.
You’re going to gain a big advantage by doing this right now. So make sure you know what strength you’ll talk about ahead of time.
When answering, “What is your greatest strength?” it’s best to pick something that will help you succeed in their job. This makes it more likely the interviewer will offer you the position.
So think about what strengths of yours will help you most in this job you’ve applied for.
Look at the job description, figure out what the job requires or what’s most important to the company.
Think about whether the job is highly technical or not. Is leadership involved or will you be working as an individual? Will you be interacting with customers or not? Does the job use creativity or logic more?
You need to be looking at the job description and asking yourself those questions BEFORE choosing which strengths you want to share.
Because the whole idea is to share a strength that will make the company think you’re a valuable candidate and someone they should hire for their job.
After sharing your strength, point out exactly how this will help you succeed in their job. For example, you could say:
“My greatest strength is attention to detail. I’ve always been detail-oriented in my work, and it’s something I enjoy. I saw on your job description that this role involves a lot of detail-oriented work, which is one reason I applied.”
We’ll cover many more answer samples in the next section of this article.
After you tell them what your greatest strength is and why it will help you in their job, try to back it up with some proof. How? By telling a story or giving an example of how you’ve used this strength in the past – to help a previous employer.
Giving a detailed example is 10-20x more powerful than just saying you’re good at something. So talk about how you used this strength to achieve a specific result.
Using the example answer we just looked at above, you might continue and say:
“In my last job, I was frequently required to manage 8-10 client projects at a time, and often had 75 different tasks going on in those different projects. Being detail-oriented allowed me to deliver 100% of my projects on-time to our clients. In fact, I finished 45% of my assigned projects ahead of schedule.”
The key piece to remember here is: It’s always good to be detail-oriented and specific when answering questions about your strengths. Your answer (and past work) will seem much more impressive to the interviewer when you get specific and name real results and numbers like the example answer above.
Now you know the steps to follow to give a great answer when the interviewer asks for your biggest strength. Now let’s look at some example answers to help you create your own answer.
First, here’s the answer you’d get if you combine the pieces we looked at in the steps above…
“My greatest strength is attention to detail. I’ve always been detail-oriented in my work, and it’s something I enjoy. I saw on your job description that this role involves a lot of detail-oriented work, which is one reason I applied. In my last job, I was frequently required to manage 8-10 client projects at a time, and often had 75 different tasks going on in those different projects. Being detail-oriented allowed me to deliver 100% of my projects on-time to our clients. In fact, I finished 45% of my assigned projects ahead of schedule.”
Now let’s look at some other good answer samples for your greatest strength.
“My greatest professional strength is the ability to handle pressure and work under a tight deadline. I think that would help me succeed in this position because of the large number of clients and deadlines I’d be working with here. In my last position, I handled difficult projects on short notice for a number of our top clients like Coca Cola and Microsoft. I completed 100% of the projects I was assigned and this resulted in us winning $2 million in additional business from these clients.”
Always remember, the number one thing a hiring manager wants to know is how you’ll help the company make money or be more successful.
What can you do for THEM?
So that’s what we’re doing in the sample answers above. You’re not just sharing your greatest strength, but you’re making it crystal-clear why this strength will help THEM, and you’re proving this by sharing how it has helped your previous employers.
So the question of “what are your greatest professional strengths?” isn’t just a chance to brag, it’s a chance to prove you can help the company! And that’s what will get you hired.
Now that you know how to answer questions about your greatest strengths and have seen two full answer samples for this question, let’s talk about some mistakes to avoid in your answer!
First, you never want to say, “I’m not sure” or “I don’t know”. Always have one specific answer ready, that’s “tailored” for the company you’re interviewing with. (This should sound familiar if you read the steps near the top of this article).
The next mistake to avoid is sounding scattered or naming too many strengths. As mentioned earlier, it’s best to pick one single strength to talk about. You can stretch this to two strengths if you really want, but don’t name any more.
The third and final big mistake to avoid is sounding too humble/shy. There’s a time and place to be humble, and a time to be confident and brag a bit about yourself. This is an interview question where you really do need to be comfortable talking highly of your own skills.
So make sure you practice sounding confident when you give your answer.
If you do follow the steps I’ve laid out above, you will have an impressive answer for, “what are your strengths?” or “what is your greatest strength”… so you can get more job offers and avoid feeling anxious when you hear this type of question.
If you want more help preparing, I’d also recommend preparing to answer questions about your greatest weakness.
You can also read a list of the top 14 interview questions and answers HERE.