In this video tutorial, learn how to answer the common interview question what are your strengths. Valerie Sutton, director Career Services at Harvard Graduate School of Education, explains these type of questions can be answered by focusing on your core competencies. She shows you how to structure your answer.
- Tell me about your strengths is often a common question from inexperienced, or untrained interviewers. The question framed this way can confuse a candidate, and they may wonder why the interviewer even called them. It encourages rambling responses if you don't know how to focus your answer. What they're trying to discover is your core competency for the job, and if you have a realistic view of yourself. We all have many strengths that we can bring to a position, they key to answering this effectively is to identify the traits that align with the job, and prioritize what you would focus on.
You want to be sure to cite specific examples to support your viewpoint. You don't want to fake your answer, because follow up questions could include, give me an example of how you've used this strength in the last week, or can you give me another example of how you have used this strength? You should identify the core competencies by looking at the job description. Focus on the first three competencies listed to prioritize your answer, then come up with examples that support these strengths.
This is good practice for any interview, because there are more savvy ways to ask this question. A trained interviewer is going to ask this question in a variety of ways to get a more accurate view of what you bring to the job. A few examples might include, what would your direct reports say about you? How would your supervisor describe your value? Discuss your resume, or tell me about an accomplishment you are most proud of. Your preparation for your core competencies will work for any of these questions.
It's always a good practice to be prepared for a strength-based question. By identifying the employers needs, and developing examples of how you meet their needs, will prepare you for any question.
- 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?