19 Answers To "What Is Your Greatest Strength?" [2020 Updated]
“What is your greatest strength?” is probably the most used interview question ever. Unfortunately, it can also be a bit hard to answer. On one hand, interviewees don’t want to seem conceited or overly confident. On the other hand, nobody wants to seem timid or unconfident in the middle of an interview.
In this guide, we’ll be looking at why interviewers ask this question, what your answers should and shouldn’t include, and fifteen stellar example answers for your reference. First, let’s look at why interviewers always seem to ask this question.
Table of Contents
- Why Do Interviewers Ask This Question?
- What Your Answer SHOULD Contain
- What Your Answer Should NOT Contain
- 19 Answers To "What Is Your Greatest Strength?"
Why Do Interviewers Ask This Question?
Hiring managers usually ask this question to get a feel for what your real skills and strengths are. That’s pretty obvious, right? But they’re also asking this question to see how you answer this question. If you’re not confident in your abilities, why would they want to hire you? They’re also looking for qualities and strengths that best fit the position you’re looking to be hired for.
What Your Answer SHOULD Contain
Take the time to list out your best strengths as a person and as a skilled worker. These can include soft skills, hard skills, and experience. From there, pick through which qualities have the most relevance to the job you’re applying for.
With three or four strengths remaining, pick on that you can provide a situational example of. For example, say you’re torn between “people person” and “problem solver.” For “people person,” you don’t really have a great example story to tell. For “problem solver,” you actually do have a somewhat funny story that has an ending that shows you are dedicated to fixing issues as they come. The latter would be a better answer to choose.
It’s important to elaborate on your strength, but you don’t necessarily have to come up with a grand story. You can keep your answers short and sweet, but substantial and impression-making.
What Your Answer Should NOT Contain
Don’t be humble, but don’t exaggerate your actual strengths.
Be comfortable in articulating exactly what makes you a viable candidate. Relate your strengths to what the company wants and needs in the position you’re interviewing for. Don’t bring up strengths that are completely irrelevant to the position.
It’s also important to note that you’re only supposed to answer with one strength. Rattling off a bunch of lesser strengths takes up time and makes you seem like you weren’t prepared. Pick one strength, or find a way to relate two strengths to each other in your answer. Be calm and firm in your answer as well.
19 Answers To "What Is Your Greatest Strength?"
Check out these great “What is your greatest strength?” examples! Each sample answer should be used as a guide, versus copying them directly.
1. My greatest strength has to be my solid leadership skills. I’ve been the lead in several productions and they’ve all turned out to be successful, and I was really able to get through to my team so we could work together properly.
Why this is a good answer: Simple, sweet, and to-the-point.
2. I have always been known for my work ethic and dedication. I am committed to meeting deadlines and taking responsibility for the quality of my performance.
Why this is a good answer: This answer is quite and to the point, which can be beneficial.
3. I solve problems. I like taking a problem and looking at it from every other angle. I also enjoy work that challenges me and pushes me to think outside the box.
Why this is a good answer: This is great because it shows that you thrive on the process.
4. A few weeks ago I was working with a client who had us on a very tight deadline. There was an error in the delivery of some important paperwork, and it didn’t get to our office until closing the night before the deadline was in place. Rather than go home and ignore the problem, I stayed late that night and finished the project. I made sure that our deadline was not only met but that the report was accurate. So I’d say my greatest strength is my dedication to the project.
Why this is a good answer: This answer includes an example, which makes it more personal and believable.
5. I really enjoy situations where I am allowed to work with other people to come up with creative solutions. At my last place of employment, we were asked to come up with ways to increase our workflow without lessening our accuracy. By analyzing what every other department was doing as well as finding ways to work together more efficiently, I was able to not only streamline the process but made it possible for us to beat our first deadline by three days with a superior product as an end result.
Why this is a good answer: This answer includes an example, which makes it more personal.
6. I am definitely a people person. I was a customer service representative for the past six years, so I’ve learned how to deal with a wide variety of personalities, positive or negative. I really enjoy handling tough cases because it gives me a chance to problem-solve. Linking together two strengths (being a people person and problem solving, in this case) can be a really good answer.
7. I have solid management skills. I’ve been in this field for many years and I understand the balance between being an overbearing manager and being a true team leader.
Why this is a good answer: By recognizing the difference between the two sides of management, it makes you look experienced.
9. I’m always willing to take on responsibilities. I thrive on being busy and I’m dedicated to seeing a project through to the very end. On the other side of this, I know when I’m at my limit and need to pass on an assignment to another team member. It’s better, to me, to be honest about our limits rather than taking on responsibilities that we can’t see through.
Why this is a good answer: This is great because it links two strengths together, but is also down to earth and real about workload expectations.
10. I really enjoy interacting with the public and I absolutely love doing outreach. Two years ago I was fortunate enough to be a part of the recruitment team. A lot of other people on my team found it stressful and didn’t enjoy it, but I really found that I loved the excitement and the rush of having so many people come through so quickly who wanted to hear my company pitch. Not only was I constantly engaged for the entirety of the job fair, but I was able to meet a lot of people for networking purposes. I had a great time, and we filled all of our employment quotas!
Why this is a good answer: It’s okay to be excited about your answer and be honest about a situation that it applies to, even if it’s something small.
11. I’m dedicated to meeting deadlines. I’ve always liked the thrill of having a goal and a set time to achieve that goal. Not to say I see deadlines as a game, but meeting the deadline itself is a kind of personal fulfillment to me.
Why this is a good answer: Clarifying your answer in case you say something that could be misunderstood is totally fine to do in order to improve your answer.
12. I’m very flexible. I have friends that can’t handle when plans are changed or moved around, but I’ve never understood that. I’m a very easygoing, adjustable person. If my shifts change or an abrupt change needs to be made to a project I’m working on, I simply go with the flow and act accordingly.
Why this is a good answer: Hiring managers appreciate flexibility in schedules and workload.
13. I keep my eye on the details. When working on a team, I think it’s vital to have people of varying strengths to create the perfect product. Where other team members might overlook something, my eye goes right to it. I think this is a great quality to have in product quality control.
Why this is a good answer: This is a great answer because it’s humble and notes the importance of individual members of a team.
14. I’m an extremely quick learner. When I first read about this position, I noticed that you provided on-site training to cover some of the skills I may be lacking. I think you’ll be surprised at how quickly I pick all of it up and am able to integrate into the company culture as quickly as possible.
Why this is a good answer: This answer is quirky and a little challenging without being rude or conceited.
15. Being reliable is definitely my best trait. I think it’s easy for people to bail on responsibilities, show up late to work, not meet deadlines, etc. For me, it comes naturally to commit to the things I care about, and I can definitely see myself caring quite a bit about this company and our success.
Why this is a good answer: This answer is personable and admirable, which hiring managers may vibe with.
16. I have a solid work ethic and presence. When I'm working on a new project, I don't just want to meet those deadlines. Rather, I’d prefer to complete the project well ahead of schedule. Last month, I even earned a bonus for completing my four most recent reports one week ahead of time.
Why this is a good answer: This answer has an example to back up the claim, which helps solidify it.
17. I have extremely strong writing and content creation skills. Having worked as a copyeditor for three years, I possess an attention to detail when it comes to my writing. I have also written for a variety of publications and papers, so I know how to shape my writing style to fit the task and respective audience.
Why this is a good answer: Bringing up experience is a good way to tie together your strength and how it became one.
18. I am a skilled and practiced salesman with over twenty years of experience. I have exceeded my sales goals every quarter by at least 20% for the past five years, and I've earned a bonus each year since I started with my current employer.
Why this is a good answer: Providing the numbers and proof of your skill will vibe well with employers.
18. I pride myself on my customer service skills and my ability to resolve potentially difficult situations, no matter who it involves. With six years of experience as a customer service associate, I have learned to understand and resolve customer issues effectively and quickly. On a related note, I also have strong communication and people skills, which help me to work well with customers, team members, and management. I am known for being an effective team member.
Why this is a good answer: Using words like “pride” shows that you have self-respect when it comes to your strength, which implies confidence.
19. My background as a Creative Writing and English major will definitely help me succeed in this position. I restructured, edited, and wrote the employee newsletter for my school and brought focus to teacher profiles and contributions. Our surveys indicated that the new format was more appreciated, more widely read by staff and students, and helped with recruitment efforts. I also re-wrote major sections of the teacher’s handbook to simplify the language.
Why this is a good answer: Providing examples of how you’ve implemented your strength will be helpful in assessing the truth in your statements.
Interview Question FAQ
Job seekers questions and answers regarding this common job interview question.
Should I mention skills when answering this interview question?
It may seem like a great answer to mention things like technical skills, interpersonal skills, and communication skills. But a better way to answer this question is to focus on a professional strength that shows your competencies and comprehension of what the job requires to meet employer outcomes and goals.
What key skills should I mention if any?
Come up with an honest answer that makes you a good fit for the position. If this means you want to focus on one skill that you think is absolutely necessary to meet the goals in the role, then start there. But expand beyond skills as you continue to answer. Like why you feel those skills are important. Being a team player is always a key skill that you can lean on, regardless of any job. Another mistake is to mention transferable skills, but that's not necessary.
Should I mention personal skills?
No. They should all be professional traits, not personal traits. The hiring manager is looking for more information about you as an employee, not your personal life. While a personal strength or personality traits might seem like something great to mention, it has to be aligned to the job. Not your personal life. Make sure your interview answer speaks to that.
What if I don't know what my biggest strength is?
You can ask a previous colleague or mentor. See what they say and what stands out to them. If they can help you to find an accomplishment from your prior work, then that's an additional benefit you can write down and utilize in your answer to this common interview question.
What key strengths should I mention?
Be sure to look at the job ad and job description, then try to determine what you feel the employer is going to be looking for. Then try to decipher what you might expect the interviewer wanting to see in terms of strengths. Then assemble your answer from there. The interviewer wants to know more about your core competencies, which is why they ask this question.
What are some bad strengths?
A bad answer would be, "I'm a hard worker." That's too simple and not unique enough. It doesn't tell your potential employer enough about your professional history. Try to think about the needs of the specific job you want, then reverse-engineer strengths from there.
Other "Strength & Weaknesses" Resources
- Learn how to answer the interview question "What is your greatest strength?" - 19 Answers To "What Is Your Greatest Strength?"
- Learn how to answer the interview question "What is your greatest weakness?" - Answering "What Is Your Greatest Weakness?" In A Job Interview
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