How to Answer “What Are Your Greatest Strengths?” Interview Question

One of the most common interview questions is “What are your greatest strengths?” This question may seem simple, but it requires careful preparation and practice to answer it effectively.

In this article, we will share some tips on how to identify and showcase your strengths in an interview, and how to avoid some common pitfalls.

Why Do Employers Ask This Question?

Employers ask this question for two main reasons: to assess your suitability for the position and to evaluate your fit for the organization. They want to know if you have the skills, knowledge, and abilities that are relevant to the job, and if you share the values, vision, and mission of the company. They also want to see how confident, enthusiastic, and self-aware you are.

How to Prepare for This Question?

Before you go to an interview, you should do some research and reflection to prepare for this question. Here are some steps you can follow:

Read the Job Description Carefully

Identify the main requirements and expectations for the position, and match them with your own strengths. For example, if the job requires strong communication skills, you can highlight your experience in giving presentations, writing reports, or leading meetings.

Check the Company Website

Learn about the company’s history, culture, products, services, and customers. Find out what the company values and what makes it unique. For example, if the company is known for its innovation, you can emphasize your creativity, problem-solving, or adaptability.

Make a List of Your Strengths and Achievements

Think of some examples from your education, work, or extracurricular activities that demonstrate your strengths. Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to describe each example in a concise and specific way. For example, if one of your strengths is teamwork, you can say: “In my last project, I worked with a team of four students to design and implement a marketing campaign for a local business. We divided the tasks according to our skills and interests, communicated regularly, and supported each other. As a result, we delivered a high-quality product on time and within budget, and received positive feedback from the client and the professor.”

Ask for Feedback from Others

Sometimes, it can be hard to recognize your own strengths, or you may overlook some of them. You can ask your friends, family, teachers, or colleagues for their opinions on what your strengths are, and how they have seen you use them. You may be surprised by what they say, and you can add some of their insights to your list.

Practice Your Answer

Once you have a list of your strengths and examples, you should practice your answer out loud. You can practice with a friend, a relative, or a mentor, and ask them for constructive feedback. You can also record yourself and listen to your tone, pace, and clarity. You should aim to answer this question in about one minute, and focus on three to five strengths that are most relevant to the job and the company.

How to Answer “What Are Your Greatest Strengths?”

When you are in the interview, you should answer this question with confidence, enthusiasm, and honesty. Here are some dos and don’ts for answering this question:

Focus on the Most Relevant Strengths

You don’t have to list all your strengths, or the ones that are obvious or generic. Choose the ones that are most related to the job and the company, and that set you apart from other candidates. For example, if you are applying for a customer service position, you can emphasize your communication, empathy, and problem-solving skills, rather than your technical or academic skills.

Use Keywords That Employers Look For

Some of the most common and desirable strengths that employers value are: honesty, trustworthiness, creativity, communication skills, leadership skills, intelligence, reliability, likability, positivity, independence, problem-solving, detail-oriented, hard-working, team player, quick learner, flexibility, passion, organization, and strong work ethic. You should use these keywords in your answer, and back them up with specific examples.

Provide Specific and Quantifiable Examples

Don’t just state your strengths, but also demonstrate them with concrete and measurable examples. Use the STAR method to describe a situation where you used your strength, what task you had to accomplish, what action you took, and what result you achieved.

This will show the employer how you apply your strengths in real scenarios, and what value you can bring to the company. For example, instead of saying “I have strong leadership skills”, you can say “I led a team of five people in a project that increased sales by 20% in six months”.

Be Humble and Realistic

You should not exaggerate or lie about your strengths, or claim that you have no weaknesses. You should acknowledge that you are not perfect, and that you are always willing to learn and improve. You should also avoid sounding arrogant or boastful, or comparing yourself to others. Focus on your own strengths and achievements, and how they can benefit the employer.

Don’t List Irrelevant or Negative Strengths

You should not mention any strengths that are not related to the job or the company, or that could be seen as weaknesses or liabilities. For example, if you are applying for a customer service position, you should not say that you are an excellent photographer or a certified sailing instructor, unless these skills are somehow relevant. You should also avoid saying that you are too perfectionist, too honest, or too competitive, as these could raise red flags for the employer.

How to Avoid Common Mistakes?

When you answer this question, you should avoid these common mistakes:

Being Too Vague or General

Don’t give a generic or clichéd answer that doesn’t show your personality or uniqueness. Avoid using words like “hard-working”, “motivated”, or “team player” without giving any examples or details. These words are overused and don’t tell the employer anything specific about you or your abilities.

Being Too Modest or Self-Deprecating

Don’t downplay or underestimate your strengths, or apologize for them. Don’t say things like “I don’t have many strengths”, “I’m not very good at this”, or “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to brag”. These statements can make you seem insecure, unconfident, or unqualified. Be proud of your strengths, and express them with positivity and enthusiasm.

Being Too Negative or Defensive

Don’t mention any weaknesses, flaws, or failures in your answer, or try to justify or explain them. Don’t say things like “I’m too perfectionist”, “I’m not good at multitasking”, or “I sometimes struggle with this”. These statements can make you seem unprofessional, incompetent, or unfit for the job. Focus on your strengths, and save your weaknesses for another question.

How to Follow Up This Question?

Sometimes, this question is followed by another question, such as “How do you use your strengths in your work?” or “How do you balance your strengths and weaknesses?” You should be prepared to answer these follow-up questions as well, and use them as an opportunity to give more details and examples of your strengths.

You should also be ready to answer the opposite question, “What are your greatest weaknesses?” which is often paired with this question. You should answer this question honestly, but positively, and show that you are aware of your areas of improvement, and that you are taking steps to overcome them.


Answering the question “What are your greatest strengths?” in an interview can be challenging, but it can also be a great chance to showcase your skills, knowledge, and personality, and to impress the employer. By following the tips in this article, you can prepare and practice your answer, and deliver it with confidence and enthusiasm.

Remember to focus on the strengths that are relevant to the job and the company, and to back them up with specific examples. By doing so, you can set yourself apart from other candidates, and increase your chances of landing the internship or job of your dreams.

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