What is your greatest strength?

Posted: 05/29/14 | Category: Interviewing Job Search

Some job interview questions seem like no brainers. For example, there are numerous ways to incorrectly address your greatest weakness, but can you really fumble “what is your greatest strength?”

Do more than answer. Tell a story

The human brain is drawn to stories. We try to connect the dots and details into a narrative that makes sense with our experiences. The interview process is no different.

Good interviewers are storytellers. So, your best answer to “what is your greatest strength” crafts a concise response with examples that employers can imagine. Choose a time when your greatest strength guided you through challenges.

In your example, address the problems towering before you. Emphasize the ways you whittled that problem down to size. Highlight how your greatest strength, one of the greatest tools in your tool belt, is ready to be wielded at a moment’s notice. Finally, punctuate your story with tangible, quantitative results (increased productivity, boosted sales, social impact, etc.) that encourage employers to imagine what you can do for them.

A hidden question?

On the surface, “what is your greatest strength” is a relatively straightforward question. Yet what separates one personal traits from all the rest? It depends on the situation.

Think about it. There is no “greatest strength” for every situation. Each obstacle you face benefits from different elements that, when added together, are stronger through their combined chemistry.

Try to rephrase the question this way: “what is the greatest strength you have to offer our company?”

Your greatest strength should fill a void in the company or enhance a quality that already makes it exceptional. If it doesn’t, pick a strength that does.

Say what’ll be heard

While performing your pre-interview research, find out what traits the company values most. The top resources include:

• Job openings
• About Us pages
• Employment/career pages
• Company social media profiles

Across these resources, you’ll start to see a pattern. Certain personality traits will stick out like a sequoia from mere shrubs. It might be a “detail-oriented personality” or an “analytical mind” or a “go-getter spirit.” Whichever keyword is most prominent is the one to use. Mass-produced answers will always fall flat. 

Need a little extra help?

Having a hard time even getting to the interview? Cut through all the red tape by calling our General Employment team. They can present you straight to employers, to help you skip ahead in line and put your interview skills to use.

by James Walsh