How to answer the interview question: “What Are Your Strengths?”

What Are Your Greatest Strengths?

Tips to Answer This Question:

Here’s what most people say:  I’m a hard worker, good team player, a people person, get along well with everyone, nice, friendly…etc.

The problem with these answers is that the hiring manager expects that of you already, or they wouldn’t be interviewing you!  These answers don’t get you anywhere.  They don’t have “food value” by themselves.  They must be illustrated with examples that demonstrate how you have used the skill.  Do not use cliché and tired words that every recruiter and hiring manager has heard a million times.

Before the interview, list out your strengths and try to come up with 1 to 2 examples that really demonstrate each skill.  This way you will be ready with your answers and won’t freeze up under pressure.

Here’s an example for “I am a hard worker”:

“We were recently working on a very tight deadline renewal proposal for a customer.  There were a number of quotes that we needed to review and one of the people on my team was out on vacation.  I stayed late and worked diligently with the remainder of the team to make sure that we got the proposal out on time.  As a result, we were able to retain the client and renew the business.”

Here’s an example for “I am a people person”:

“I have always been told I have really good people skills.  Recently one of our best customers called in with a big messy claim.  She was pretty irate and not happy with how the claims adjuster had treated her.  I calmly listened to her concerns, suggested a couple of ways we could work through the problem, then contacted the carrier’s adjuster team supervisor, explained the problem, and was able to get the claim back on track.  The adjustor called the client, apologized for their rudeness, and as a result, the customer called me back and thanked me for getting involved and even wrote a thank you letter to my boss.”

Make sure to back everything up with a little story that shows your strengths in action.  Watch for “buying” queues from the hiring manager such as head nodding or agreement sounds that give you valuable feedback that your answer is hitting home.

 

 

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