In this video tutorial, watch an example of how two people answered the common interview question what are your strengths. Valerie Sutton, director Career Services at Harvard Graduate School of Education, analyzes their answers and offers tips on how to best address this interview question and ways to improve.
- Let's here some answers from job candidates responding to this question. What are your strengths? Remember that it is important to analyze the job description to determine what you focus your answer on. The first candidate is Tom, who is interviewing for an entry level position as a UX designer. In this job description, customer focus, visual learning and storyboarding are the key elements. - What are your strengths? - As you saw on my resume, I'm very customer-focused. I do a lot of user design, and I do a storyboard in the prototypes that I have.
I have a visual board that I use for my customers so then that way, they're able to use the mobile devices, and then in my storyboard, I take all of that on with my other projects as well. - Tom focused on several core competencies, including customer focus, visual learning and storyboarding when answering this question. He also effectively supported this with a specific example and highlighted his course knowledge. Job candidates are often nervous when interviewing early in their career, and that's okay.
If I were to give Tom advice, I'd say he should pause before answering the question to collect his thoughts. Now let's look at how someone seeking a more senior position as a training and development manager might answer this question. In this position, it is important to have experience with evaluation, assessments and a collaborative working style. - What are you strengths? - My strength is in evaluation and assessments of programs. In the last position I had, I created a development plan for a 1400 person company, which focused on senior management and line employees.
Part of the evaluation was creating a 360 assessment so that employees could have a holistic view of their work performance, and I believe the key to bringing out my strength is collaboration, and I was able to demonstrate that in my last position, working with senior managers. - During her interview, Donna focused on two competencies, evaluation and collaboration, when answering the question about her strengths. She brought these out in a specific example that will definitely spark interest in the interviewer.
It is often easier for the candidate to answer these types of questions when they have direct experience in the field, rather than showing how transferable skills from things like course work or other experiences might apply.
- Tell me about your strengths
- Tell me about your weaknesses
- Why are you interested in our company?
- Why did you leave your previous company?
- Tell me how you handled a difficult situation
- What questions do you have?