So, we’ve covered weaknesses. Now let’s look at answering a question that seemingly asks you to sing your own praises. How straightforward is the answer to this common interview question and what is the best kind of response to give?
Pick one to three
One of the trickiest aspects of this question is to hone down the attributes you believe to be your strongest. Your interviewer is not looking for a laundry list of traits like ‘hardworking’, ‘great attention to detail’, ‘team player’, ‘perfectionist’, ‘dedicated’, etc. They are looking for quality, not quantity here.
Make them relevant
When you know what qualities you’re going to talk about, it’s important to not rattle them off without context. Why are these qualities your best? How have they helped you in your career? How will they help you in the new role, should you get it? How will they benefit the company as a whole? Making them relevant not only shows your interviewer where your strengths lie, but it’s a great way of not making yourself sound like all you’re doing is telling them how wonderful you are. It also means you won’t get caught out if you’re specifically asked to cite examples when each strength you’ve talked about has come into play in your professional life.
Don’t just tell them what they want to hear (if it’s not true)
You are not the only person they have interviewed. You are not the only person they have asked this question of. Don’t insult their intelligence by giving answers you believe would be music to their ears if the truth is actually a different story. As we’ve already covered in our “What are your weaknesses?” blog, it’s ok to have faults. You are not perfect, but you do have something they really want. This is what you need to nail in your response to this question.
Don’t contradict your weaknesses
You may have already been asked about them, or it may the be the next question. Make sure that whatever the order, you don’t contradict what you have said or are going to say about your weaknesses. This will seriously harm the credibility of both responses.
Use your strengths to fill in gaps in your CV
If there are parts of your CV that are lacking, you may be able to compensate for these somewhat by talking about strengths that make up for them. Again, only if relevant and only if true.
Be humble, but not too humble
You don’t want to appear ‘braggy’ but by the same token, you don’t want to appear to be too humble. It can look like false modesty and your interviewer will spot it a mile off. You are allowed to sing your own praises here, but just be careful to keep the balance between overconfidence and humility. Again, making your responses relevant to the business and the role is a good way of doing this.
This question provides a great opportunity to demonstrate what an asset to the business you would be. It’s almost certain to come up so make sure it is one of the answers you include in any interview prep you do.