It’s the question we all think we know. It’s something we don’t really prepare for because we think we know the answer to it. However, speaking from experience, it’s a lot harder to answer on the spot than you originally anticipate.
What are your strengths?
This question, this simple question, is something that so many candidates struggle with. It’s time to conquer it – and here’s how.
- Make a cheat sheet
It sounds so weird, and kind of unnecessary, but it totally works. Write down everything that comes to mind when you ask yourself what you’re good at. Even if it’s just “sweeping the floor,” any and all things you’re good at will only lead to your mind thinking of more. Even if you don’t think it’s not a “real strength” write it down.
For example, I’m the youngest of three. Naturally, I’m pretty annoying. When I write down my strengths before an interview I make sure that I write this one down as well. Obviously I don’t tell an interviewer that I’m annoying. I simply take the good out of this characteristic of mine. I say that I am passionate, and that when I get an idea or a task, I’ll be so thorough in completing it that it’s annoying.
Bottom line here: Write down EVERYTHING!
- Talk to your parents
You might be thinking that I’m crazy, but hear me out. Your parents are your number one fans! They watched you grow up and know all of the amazing things you can do. Ask them what your strengths are, and I’ll bet you get an even better idea than what you came up on your own.
You can also talk to your friends or significant other. They might give you a hard time every once in a while because you can’t cut an onion right, but I guarantee they’ll be quick when you ask them what you’re good at.
Bottom line here: Ask around!
- Form your answer for this specific interview
Do your research and try to learn as much as you can about the company. Check out employee reviews and see what kind of people they employ. Try as hard as you can to formulate for yourself what strengths this company is looking for. Answer the question, “what would be the strengths of a successful person in this job?” If you can answer this, then you’re set.
For example, if you have an interview with an accounting firm, they won’t want to hear about your strengths you have for caring for animals. They’ll want to know about your expertise with Excel and QuickBooks. Show them how strong you are in their principles, and they’ll be very impressed.
Bottom line here: Make sure you tell the interviewer why your strengths fit their company.
- Practice, practice, practice
I know, I know. I sound like a broken record. But I cannot stress this enough. Practicing answering this question will make it much easier. When you can effectively react to this question and show the interviewer that you’ve thought about yourself in their company, then you’ll definitely stand out from the others. A flawless delivery will not only make you feel good, but it’ll also make you look good.
Bottom line here: Practice!
Simple enough, right? Four easy steps to nailing that question. And one of them requires no effort on your part! With these in your back pocket, the next time you talk about your strengths in an interview will lead to a better and more composed answer.