When you’re interviewing for a job, there’s a strong chance that a recruiter or potential boss will ask what you believe are your strengths. This is an easy question to answer. Interviewers will certainly want to know that your perceived strengths line up with the position you’re seeking, but they are also interested in whether you’re self-aware and confident. With a little practice, you can answer that question without appearing either arrogant or overly humble. Here’s how.
Show Your Strengths: STAR Method in Action
Talking about your strengths is an opportunity to show why you’d be a great fit for the job and how your skills align with the company or team. The key is to think about what strengths you have that match one or more of the aspects of the job description. A strength can be either a technical skill or a soft skill, such as teamwork or communication.
Once you’ve decided which of your strengths you want to feature, it’s time to identify real life examples where you’ve demonstrated that strength. The best way to approach behavioral questions is to use the STAR method. This helps you break down a scenario and explain how you successfully navigated it.
Situation: Offer some background on the task or challenge that you’ll be addressing.
Task: Define what your role and responsibilities were for the particular situation.
Action: Explain what steps you took or ideas you offered to help solve the problem or tackle that challenge.
Result: Share how the situation was resolved, highlighting how your actions helped reach that conclusion.
Here’s an example:
If you interview for a position that requires you to lead or even be part of a team, you might choose to say one of your strengths is leadership.
Situation: I volunteer as a gardener at a local park and enjoy working with new volunteers.
Task: The park identified a need to educate new volunteers about native plants.
Action: I organized a training session to teach my team members about native plants.
Result: The new volunteers found it so useful that the training is now part of the new volunteer onboarding process.
In this scenario, an interviewer might recognize your ability to take initiative to address needs and lead a new volunteer training. While this answer may seem simple, it demonstrates your strength in both initiative and leadership, which are valuable traits to all employers.
If you find it is hard to identify your strengths, consider your ability to:
- Solve problems
- Take direction and focus on tasks
- Use technology
- Lead or mentor
Rehearsing your answers can also help you feel prepared when heading into your next interview. Common interview questions to consider include:
- “Why do you want this job?”
- “Tell me about a time when you had to learn something quickly but knew nothing about it before.”
- “Tell me about a time you made a mistake.”
- “Tell me about a goal you set and how you achieved it.”
- “What is one of your weaknesses?”
Reflect on your skills and accomplishments. Think about why they qualify you to succeed in the job you’re applying for. Think about the strengths of your professional role models and whether you have some of those same qualities. Consider a time when a teammate shared something they admired about you. Or think back to any times you received recognition for your work and what skills allowed you to shine.
Source: Ticket to Work