At some point in every job interview, the interviewer will ask you to list your greatest strengths. It might seem like a simple question, but not everyone is prepared to give an accurate and impressive answer.
Even those who are confident enough to list several strengths often miss the mark. Some come up with great answers, but they don’t know how to deliver them. Their responses may sound arrogant and prideful, rather than humble and self-aware. How you choose to describe your strengths is critical.
Even more crucial is understanding that everyone has different strengths. A quality that is a strength for you might be a weakness in someone else.
To help you compose a great answer to the strengths question, we’ve compiled this list of 10 strengths for you to consider. We hope to get you thinking, and your ultimate goal should be to evaluate each strength in relation to your character to determine whether it’s something you might claim in an interview or not.
1. I Know How to Use My Resources to Do the Job Right
Interviewers will accept that you won’t know everything; they shouldn’t expect you to. It’s a good move to recognize your weaknesses and show you know how to find solutions to them.
If you’re good at using your resources to solve a problem, this can be an impressive strength. Don’t forget to prove that you really do know how to use your resources, though. For example, let’s say you were once assigned to design and print a brochure for your company, but didn’t initially know how. You could then explain how you found an online resource with simple design and printing matrices to get the job done.
2. I Am Positive and Enthusiastic in Any Work Environment
Explain what helps you maintain these qualities. You might talk about being loyal to the company and invested in its success. Even if things look a little shaky at times, you know how to maintain positive energy and keep your eye on finding a solution.
3. Honesty and Integrity Come Naturally to Me
These qualities are highly valued in most workplaces, and you should be able to prove you have them. Have a specific story ready in which your honesty and integrity were tested. Your response to such a situations will display your strength of character.
4. I’m a Creative Problem Solver
Speak about your ability to see matters from various viewpoints and how you accomplish tasks even in the face of substantial obstacles. Share an experience in which you needed to solve a problem quickly, but none of the conventional methods were viable.
For example, if you were having difficulty providing a particular resource to a client and all the conventional methods of obtaining it were not working, you might explain how you found a unique contact that had the resource, and you were thereby able to meet the client’s needs.
5. I Have a Strong Work Ethic, and When I Commit to a Deadline, I’ll Do Whatever It Takes to Meet It
If this is true, your previous employers will back up your story. This strength might manifest itself in the extra hours you spent in the office after closing or in your leadership performance above other team members. Showing up on time, prepared, and ready for the day will also demonstrate this positive quality.
6. I Am Flexible Enough to Handle Change and Adapt Quickly
If you make this powerful initial statement, go on to support it with an example. You might share a time when, as a customer service manager at your last job, you were confronted with steady employee turnover. Explain how you were able to adapt to each new employee as they came aboard. You could also share a specific instance in which you turned a negative situation into a positive one thanks to your quick thinking and problem-solving skills.
7. I’ve Always Been Particularly Adept at [Insert Company Value]
Many organizations will expect you to be familiar with their company values and/or mission statement. You can earn extra points with this question by explaining how a core company value at the place you would like to be hired is also one of your biggest strengths.
8. I Understand People
Great leadership, quality customer service, being a team player, and almost any other job skill boils down to your ability to understand and work with people. You can capitalize on this ability as a strength for most positions, even if the one you’re interviewing for doesn’t primarily revolve around people.
For example, let’s say you’re interviewing for a financial analytics position in a meat packing plant. You could explain how your ability to understand people makes you a great team player. You know how to communicate well and recognize both verbal and nonverbal cues that can help a project succeed. Even though this position doesn’t focus on working with people, your ability to perform as a team player is going to be an attractive trait.
9. I Know How to Delegate Respectfully and Responsibly
If you’re interviewing for a managerial position of any kind, demonstrating an ability to delegate is typically a home run. If you can delegate, you showcase your capacity for efficiency, team development, leadership, and empowerment. You’re basically showing that the job isn’t going to be all about you. You know how to make others feel valued by building up individual teams and the firm in general.
10. I Have X Years of Experience in This Field and Have Learned Versatility and Adaptability
Experience is an interviewer favourite, obviously. If you have 20 years of experience in a field without a degree, you’re going to be far more valuable to a business than a fresh college graduate. Leverage that experience in the interview.
Explain that, as the years have passed, you’ve not only continued to master your craft, but you’ve also learned to adjust with the industry. Conditions are always changing in business, so this skill is highly coveted in the job market.
Anna Johansson is the founder and CEO of Johansson Consulting. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.