“What Are Your Strengths?”: How to Answer This Tricky Job Interview Question

Strengths interview question

The “Tell me about your strengths” question is bound to come up in any job interview.

Fear not:

Make sure you're prepared for it. How?

It's easy:

Just follow this simple step by step guide.

How to Identify Your Key Strengths and Ace Your Job Interview

3 strengths job interview question

What are you good at? What are your strengths and qualities?

These are questions you should ask yourself before you interview for a job:

No doubt you thought about these things when you wrote your CV, but with different priorities in mind.

So let's start afresh.

How to find out what your strengths are?

#1 – Professional Strengths: Brainstorming

Brainstorming: identify your strengths

An effective brainstorming session can do you the power of good: brainstorming is an ideal process for generating new ideas, as long as you follow the experts' advice.

To start, all you need is:

Paper, a pen, 10 minutes and an alert mind – so yes, a good cup of coffee before you start will help!

And then?

Make a list of the strengths that come to mind.

Start with work-related strengths but don't restrict yourself or worry about whether they are relevant or not. You can delete later if you like.

Now that you have your first list, it's time to try to make it as complete as possible.

To do that you will need...

#2 – An outside opinion: the strengths you never knew you had!

Personal strengths as seen by others

Now that you've listed your strengths, it's time to ask for some feedback.


Call a trusted friend, someone who knows you well and can be objective. Ask for a description of your strengths.

Think about it this way:

Some will be the same as the ones you came up with, but you may well hear about aspects of yourself you had not taken into consideration.

Or if you'd rather play it safe, you can always pick out your strengths and weaknesses from a ready-made list.

We've taken care of that too: check out our list of strengths and weaknesses for job interviews!


Here's what to do next:

#3 – Select your best strengths

Answer to the interview question about your strengths

Now it's time to bring out the very best of you from your list of strengths!

First of all:

It's important to be honest with yourself and choose the strengths that you actually possess. Narrow your list down to about 10 qualities.


Because this list is the starting point for each job interview you have. Use it to choose three work-related strengths that match what the employer is looking for in the job posting.

Here's the point:

If you're applying for a job as a developer then knowledge of JAVA or C++ is essential. If you're hoping to be hired as a personal trainer then enthusiasm and sportiness are the cards you'll want to play.

Now you have part of the answer and you're ready for the greatest strengths job interview question!

But wait!

Remember, you only have part of the answer: just listing your strengths won't be enough.

Here's what you need to do…

#4 – How To Present Your Strengths During an Interview

How to answer the job interview question about your strengths

What's missing from your strengths?

Concrete examples.

When you talk about your strengths and qualities you need to be able to back them up with examples. Actions speak louder than words.

Here's what to do…

Be ready to give short examples to show how you have been able to put your strengths to good use in the past. Focus on the work environment for maximum impact!

And make sure you don't fall prey to these mistakes…

Avoid These 4 Common Mistakes When Talking About Your Strengths

Mistakes to avoid when answering the question about strengths

If these are your first job interviews, you may lack the necessary experience to avoid the most common and serious blunders.

But don't worry:

You can learn from the mistakes made by whole generations of job searchers!

#1: Not preparing a list of strengths in advance

List of professional strengths

The worst mistake you can make is to go to the interview without a pre-prepared list of strengths.

Just imagine:

Fumbling with your answer will give the impression that you don't really know yourself. If you don't know your qualities, you certainly won't be able to impress an interviewer.

But careful not to overdo it…

#2: Reeling off 87 strengths

Identify your main strengths

You should mention a few strengths but don't get carried away!


What we said about quality rather than quantity?

List too many strengths and you'll blow your chances!

Think about it this way:

You will only prove that you don't know your greatest strengths and your list will come across as a bunch of empty words….how are you going to find time to back up all your claims with concrete examples?


Strike a balance between arrogance and confidence that enables you to show your strengths in the best possible way.

#3: Could 90% of the population claim your strength?

Identify unique strengths

You have a few points to make, don't waste this opportunity.


Look at your shortened list of strengths and ask yourself this question: “How many other people could claim to have my strength?”

If the answer is too many, then choose another one.

Don't forget:

Your job is to convince the interviewer that the unique value you would add to the company is not easily come by.

And finally, avoid…

#4: Losing sight of the final goal

Always be professional

Never forget why you are trying to outline your strengths.

Focus on strengths related to work and to the job you are interviewing for.

So, be careful:

Is that strength you had in mind really going to enhance your application?

It all depends on the situation:

Your studies in chemistry are a winning card for a sales position in the chemical industry but won't get you an accounting job.

How to be prepared for anything

Answer to the question “What are your main strengths?”

We've reached the end.

Now you know how to ace the answer to the dreaded question: “Tell me about your strengths”!

But this is only one of the interview questions you'll likely be asked.

If you really want to be prepared for anything, be sure not to miss our complete list of interview questions and answers!

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