Your strengths say a lot about you as a candidate.
By asking you about your strengths, here’s what the interviewer is looking for:
- They want to know if you know your own strengths
- They want to know if you’re realistic
- They want to know if your strengths are relevant for the job
While answering, the HR manager is going to expect examples from you.
So, to answer correctly, you need to convey the above 3 points in your answer and provide a real-life, relevant example of the strength in action.
You can claim you’re the most hard-working person in the world and amazing at time-management, but without providing an example, you might as well be making the whole thing up.
So, when considering which strength to mention, think about when was the last time you used it.
What happened? How did you react to the situation? How did your strength help solve the problem?
Basically, the formulaic approach to answering the question is the following:
- State your strength
- Provide an example of when you used this strength and how
- (Optional) Describe what kind of impact you made
Here’s what a real-life example of what that might look like:
“My biggest strength is that I can think on my feet and can work under a lot of pressure. As an event manager at Company X, we were organizing an IT conference that needed a number of last-minute changes – due to a speaker canceling because of an emergency and 2 of our volunteers not being able to show up.
So, we allocated more time to each speaker and added a QA section at the end of each speech. We also encouraged the present speakers to talk about their business and personal experience more in-depth after they were done with their speech.
As for being understaffed, one day before the conference, I reached out to my network and found 2 students who were willing to help out. I personally met them 2 hours before the conference and got them up to speed with everything we were doing for the day, and gave them their tasks.
In the end, everything went well without any other problems popping up.
The more specific your example is – the better.
Make sure you also give some background and context if necessary and explain how and why you made the decisions.
You want to make sure your example paints you in a positive light (obviously), but also so that you’re not showing off.
Speaking of, make sure to be humble when talking about your strengths.
You want to flatter yourself, but not to the point where you’re bragging about it.
Talk about your experience matter-of-factly instead of singing praise for yourself.
Source: Career blog.