How to answer the interview question: “What is your greatest strength?”

You can expect to hear some form of this question in almost every interview. Often the question, “What is your greatest strength?” is paired with the question “What is your greatest weakness?”.

Why an employer would ask this question

Employers ask about strengths for a variety of reasons. Beyond the obvious reason of wanting to understand your strengths, employers use your answer to this question to gauge your character.

Your answer shows an employer how you respond to uncomfortable topics of conversation. Are you able to remain composed under pressure and provide an honest answer when you’re in the spotlight?

In addition, employers want to gauge your level of self-awareness. Do you know yourself well enough to know which areas you excel in and which areas need improving?

How to approach your answer

How you answer interview questions about your strengths is just as important as the strengths you name. It’s important to appear confident and convey your ability to do the job without appearing arrogant.

It’s also important that you give a truthful answer to this question. When preparing for your interview, review the key skills required for the job. Choose a few skills that align with your strengths, and form an answer around those skills.

When you’re preparing your response, remember to dive deep. Avoid generic responses such as, “I have great leadership skills” or “I’m a team player.” Instead, take a few minutes to explain how your skills will benefit the company. Be prepared with specific and relevant examples that will show the employer that you are able to apply your skills in a professional context.

Read more: What is the STAR Interview Response Technique

Let's talk about what not to say

Don’t be too modest. This is your opportunity to shine.

Don’t be too generic. Use specific examples that describe your specific strengths.

Don’t chose irrelevant strengths. Align your answer with the key skills required for the specific job.