A little while ago we posted the topic ‘How to answer the question: Tell me about your weaknesses?’ in an interview’, now it’s time to flip it around and look at your strengths.

As applicants, we all wonder ‘what’s the point of the question tell me about your strengths’, obviously we aren’t going to talk ourselves down and say something like “I have no strengths” or pick something pointless to share such as “my strength is I can eat 4 packets of tim tams in row”. So really, what’s this question all about?

The reason for this question is to allow the interviewers to see how self- aware you are, if you can sell yourself and how you cope when put in the spotlight, which can be difficult for many people.

As an interviewer, we can often get some strong insights into an individual, it allows us to learn attributes about you we may not get any other way.

Let’s have a look at the different ways this question can be asked:

  • Tell me about your strengths?
  • What are your strengths and how do they enhance your day to day?
  • Tell me why we should hire you (essentially here you have to sell your strengths)
  • Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses

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Now, you have some sample questions, it’s important to realise the best answers are practiced ones, which still come out naturally.

By nature, most people are not that good when having to talk how good they are or having to sell themselves. Therefore practice is imperative.  As we say: PREPARE, PRACTICE & PREPARE some more. Let’s now try and answer with some practice scenarios:

Q: Tell me about your strengths?

Good answers:

A:  My strengths lie in my organisation skills. I am a strong planner, I ensure I adhere to timelines by following a project plan, identify any risks early and work closely to the plan to ensure all deliverables are met.

A: My strengths are my ability to communicate and influence. I am a strong communicator and can engage with people from all walks of life. Over the years I have focused on enhancing my ability to influence through communication which is really beneficial to help bring people on the journey with you.

A: My entrepreneurial flair is my strength. I have a mindset of growth, innovation and creation. This has come through my experiences in developing an eBook and running a small online business. These experiences and mindset would be really beneficial to your business as it fits in with your company’s vision and values.

Not good answer:

A: My strength is I am a hard worker, therefore you can trust me to deliver. The reason this is not good enough is because in today’s current business world, being a hard worker is not enough, you need to be flexible, agile and conscientious, we expect everyone to be a hard worker.

Q: Tell me why we should hire you (essentially here you have to sell your strengths)

Good answer:

A: I am your person for the job because I am innovative, with a forward thinking mindset. I’m curious and driven by success of the team I work in. My passion for (insert job or industry type XX) ie: technology is clear by my deep knowledge about big data, with my spare time outside of study being spent learning more about big data and how to succeed in a competitive environment. I am well rounded and believe through my community engagement in non for profits and my local sports team, I am bringing you future talent for your organisation.

Not good answer:

A: You should hire me because I really want this, I would be so upset if I didn’t get it and I believe through my studies and drive, I would be the right person for this role.

Top tips to create an awesome answer:

Talk about things that are relevant to the job, skills or traits the organisation is looking for. Ensure they are relevant, valuable and found through your research, not presumed. Where possible, try and tie your answer to the organisation.

Sell the things you do that make you a more well-rounded citizen, such as volunteering, community work, mentoring etc. Organisations are looking for a well-rounded individual who can adapt in any scenario.

Avoid talking about things which are not relevant to work scenarios such how fit you are, how active you are on social media etc. These points are only relevant if you are going for a job in fitness or a social media specialist or something similar! The point is refer to traits relevant to the job and industry type you are going for.

PREPARE, PRACTICE & PREPARE. This answer generally does not come easily and many people are not great at selling themselves on the spot in an interview, unless you are prepared. This question will not trip you up if you are well prepared.

Practice being self-aware. If you are not sure what your strengths are, sit down and create a list by analysing yourself and past experiences. Asking friends, family and work colleagues is a great place to start. *ALERT*: ensure you are open and receptive to feedback and do not let any strengths or weakness feedback which you receive upset you.

This blog is best paired to read with ‘How to answer the question: Tell me about your weaknesses?’. When you read and prepare both together, you will see a significant value in how you prepare for your interviews.

Good Luck!

UC Grad Recruiter