Interview Preparation: What are your Strengths?
In this write-up, we tackle a critical and vital job interview question: What are your strengths? This is one of the most common questions asked during job interviews across all levels of positions and also across all industries. Even if the interviewer does not ask this question directly, you must have the ability to effectively answer this question to land that lucrative job. After all, from the perspective of the employer, the primary purpose of a job interview is to comprehend what you can offer to the company as well as why should the employer hire you specifically instead of others vying for the same position. Therefore, it is extremely important to prepare an effective answer to the potential question “what are your strengths.”
To make the right impact, you must first be adequately prepared to talk about your greatest strengths. Most candidates squander this opportunity to make a powerful impact by answering poorly. Hence, this is a golden opportunity for you to leave your competitors far behind if you can elaborate on your core strengths in a compelling and genuine way.
Let us start by delving into the purpose of this question and what insight does the interviewer gain by asking the question: what are your strengths.
Why is this Question Asked and What is the Interviewer Trying to Judge?
The primary role of the interviewer is to seek out a candidate who will perform optimally in the vacant position and gel well with other team members. By asking the question “what are your strengths,” the interviewer wants to find out the following:
The above five points are the primary reasons for interviewers asking the question “what are your strengths.”
Sample Answers to the Question “What are your Strengths”
Sample Answer 1 to “What are your strengths”: Three Primary Strengths for a Team Leader (Technology)
“My greatest strength is that I am a problem solver. I possess the ability to analyse a situation from diverse perspectives, and I can get work done and things moving despite major obstacles. In addition, I am a skilled communicator par excellence. I am equally confident in making presentations to senior executives as well as resolving conflicts between junior staff members. My previous role was that of a programmer; hence, I possess a developer’s perspective, for which my seniors respect me for.”
Make a note that the candidate has not included an exclusive example for each of the mentioned strengths. On some occasions, you would want to avoid going too deep while framing an answer. The candidate has prevented the answer from turning into a lengthy monologue. He or she elaborated succinctly with regard to each strength and left the question open for the interview to widen the scope of the question. The candidate should come up with a convincing “story” for each of the mentioned strengths. In this way, he or she will be adequately prepared when the interviewer further asks, “Tell me more about a specific episode when you solved a problem” or “Tell me of an instance where you mediated and resolved a conflict.” Once you answer these questions related to “what are your strengths,” you can be rest assured you have hit the nail on the head.
Sample Answer 2 to “What are your strengths”: Work Ethic
My outstanding strength is my sound work ethic. When I commit to deadlines, I do all it takes to ensure timely delivery. For instance, once, we had an important report due and received some numbers late from our team in Chennai. I was responsible for pulling out an all-nighter to complete the spreadsheet because I realized that the client “had” to have access to the report at the predetermined time.
Sample Answer 3 to “What are your strengths”: Written Communication Skills
“I take immense pride in my writing skills, and I firmly believe that these skills will make me an excellent analyst. I have the ability to communicate challenging subjects to a diverse target audience. I can handle lots of data and info, and formulate the themes and stories that clients need to be briefed about. I honed my writing and research skills while I extensively wrote for the college magazine. I learned to adhere to deadlines because editors were extremely demanding. I also won an award for my write-ups on the financial crisis.
As a candidate, you must walk into every interview with a sole goal: to state your greatest and most relevant strength to the prospective employer. If you are not asked the question “what are your strengths” directly, search for openings. Emphasize your strengths if you are asked a behavioural question such as “tell me something about…” If the interviewer still does not pitch in the question “what are your strengths,” wait till the end of the interview, and when the interviewer asks the candidate if he or she has something more to add, grab the opportunity with both hands and summarise your strengths, reiterating your interest in the position.
In the competitive job scenario, one should not leave any stone unturned to grab the attention of employers, and a cover letter can help you achieve this. A cover letter puts forward your qualifications, intentions, and your skills in a crisp and appealing manner. For the best first impression, you should make sure that your CV is accompanied by a Cover letter.
Here are some of other major reasons why you need a cover letter along with your CV.
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