While this may seem like a simple question, it can be challenging to answer because you need to carefully consider what qualities or skills are most relevant to the job you’re applying for.
To successfully answer this question, we’ll show you how to back up your answer with concrete examples.
Why do interviewers ask this question?
Interviewers are looking to gain a deeper understanding of your strengths, as well as how you approach challenges and work with others. They want to find out how well you understand how to use your strengths to succeed in the workplace, and whether or not those strengths align with the company’s needs.
This question also helps interviewers see how you define success and what you’ve accomplished with your skills. If you don’t have professional experiences, you can also include non-professional ones as long as they’re relevant to the job.
Your answer will help them determine whether you’re a good fit for the role you’re applying for.
How to answer “what are your strengths?”
There are several ways to effectively answer “What is your greatest strength?”
Follow the steps below to craft a response that shows employers why you’re a good candidate:
1. Determine what your greatest strengths are
Before you even begin to prepare a response to this question, you need to identify your strengths.
You can do this by asking yourself the following questions:
- What are my greatest skills or talents?
- What do people consistently tell me they admire about me?
- Why am I good at what I do?
Apply these questions to both your professional and personal life, especially if you’re still a student and have little work experience. Consider skills and talents you’ve used throughout your academic life, personal projects, volunteering, or internships.
Once you have a list of strengths, narrow them down to the top 3 that are most relevant to your current job search.
2. Select a strength relevant to the job
Having a strength isn’t going to do anyone any good if you never get to use it at the job you’re interviewing for.
That’s why you should always answer with the most relevant skill you have related to the job position. Look carefully at the job description for the position you want, and check the responsibilities section and the requirements section to determine which required skills overlap with yours.
For example, if you’re a recently graduated high school student applying to your first job as a store clerk, you may see the job description emphasizes the need for customer interaction and resolving customer complaints.
In this case, you could elaborate on your outstanding interpersonal skills and problem solving skills which you developed through your numerous extracurricular activities, group activities, and team projects.
3. Back up your answer with concrete examples
Once you’ve selected your greatest strength, it’s time to provide concrete examples to back up your answer.
Examples allow an interviewer to see how you react to certain situations in a professional context and how you could potentially act in the role you’re applying for. Providing concrete examples also gives credibility to your claims.
“What is your greatest strength?” sample answers
Here are five industry-specific sample answers for “what is your greatest strength?” to help you craft your own response:
Customer service answer sample
“One of my greatest strengths is my excellent customer service skills. I’m highly empathetic and always strive to understand the underlying needs of each individual customer to create a personalized experience for them.
This level of care and attention has resulted in a 30% increase in customer satisfaction levels, repeat business, and positive word-of-mouth referrals in my last position as a customer representative.”
This is a good, clear sample answer for a customer service representative. They first illustrate their greatest strength by specifying what their excellent customer service looks like and then highlight the positive results for their last company with a hard number.
Technology answer sample
“My greatest strength is my ability to quickly learn and master new software platforms. Whether it’s a CRM tool or a project management system, I have a knack for picking up new tools quickly and using them effectively to achieve results.
In fact, I regularly organize short workshops to train my team in new tools I’ve acquired and we’ve seen a 45% increase in work efficiency and a 20% in productivity. I started out in my current company as a web developer intern and was able to become team lead within 3 years. I’m now looking for new challenges to keep developing and expanding my skill set.”
This greatest strength sample answer shows that the candidate is able to learn new technical skills quickly. At the same time, they proved their ability by mentioning the fact they rapidly climbed the corporate ladder to access a leadership position.
Sales answer sample
“My greatest strength is my ability to successfully close sales deals. I am confident in my ability to build positive relationships with potential clients and communicate the benefits of a product in a clear, compelling way. This has led to a high volume of closed sales for my past employer and helped them achieve their business goal of increasing revenue by over $700,000 in the last quarter.”
In this example answer, the candidate clearly shows how they’re able to close sales successfully. They also provide the interviewer with hard numbers demonstrating how much revenue they brought in for their past employer.
Digital marketing answer sample
“My greatest strength is my deep understanding of digital marketing strategies. Whether it’s SEO, PPC, or web analytics, I have extensive experience in all aspects of online marketing and can quickly adapt to new trends and best practices to ensure the success of our campaigns.
This has helped me consistently drive conversions and increase traffic on both websites and social media accounts leading to over $150,000 in increased revenue in the past quarter for my former company.”
This candidate for a digital marketing position highlights their greatest achievements in specific areas of their expertise and shares how much revenue they helped their past employer earn within a given amount of time.
Graphic design answer sample
“My greatest strength as a graphic designer is my keen eye for design trends, and I always strive to produce work that stands out from the competition.
While I’m confident that my unique style is what attracts new clients to hire me as their freelance graphic designer, I’m able to adapt my style to suit my clients’ needs to hit their target audience. In fact, two of my most recent projects were used for a large sports brand in both their US and China campaigns.”
This graphic designer candidate decides to focus on their ability to bring about desired results. They illustrate this by showing that their work is not only in high demand and appeals to large brands, but that they’re able to adapt their work to their clients’ audience.
Example strengths by industry
To help you craft your own sample answers, we’ve broken down the process for you in the following examples. After identifying certain strengths and selecting your greatest one, each example shows various situations in which you could’ve developed and used this strength.
Example strengths for customer service
If you’re applying for a customer service position, some potential greatest strengths to highlight might include:
For example, if you’re a recent graduate and you developed exceptional listening skills through participation in a public speaking club in college, you could mention the following:
- Your ability to quickly understand a customer’s needs by paying close attention to the words they used and the emotion behind their voice
- How this enabled you to provide a more personalized experience for each customer
- How this resulted in higher satisfaction levels and repeat business
Example strengths related to technology
If you have a strong background in technology and are applying for a position that requires knowledge of specific software programs, some potential greatest strengths to highlight might include:
- Strong understanding of job-relevant computer programming languages (Java, Ruby, C++, HTML)
- Expertise with various software platforms (Android, Linux)
- Ability to work quickly and effectively under pressure
For example, if your greatest strength is your ability to quickly learn and master new technologies, you could say the following:
- How you improved your coding skills quickly by attending coding bootcamp classes on nights and weekends in order to stay up-to-date with the latest software trends and expand your skillset
- How these skills helped you successfully implement innovative solutions for your past employer
- How these solutions resulted in improved productivity and overall customer satisfaction
Example strengths related to sales
If you’re applying for a sales role, you may want to highlight these sales-related strengths:
- Outstanding negotiation skills
- Strong communication skills
- Excellent time management skills
For example, if your greatest strength is your persuasive communication style and ability to quickly build rapport with clients, you could mention:
- How you consistently exceeded sales targets and retained a high percentage of clients
- How you adapted your communication style to suit different types of customers
- How you closed sales deals successfully with difficult customers
Example strengths related to digital marketing
If you’re applying for a digital marketing role, some potential greatest strengths to highlight might include:
- Expertise in SEO and PPC strategies
- Strong understanding of web analytics tools
- Ability to work effectively under pressure
For example, if your greatest strength is your ability to optimize paid search campaigns through the effective use of keywords and ad copy, you could say this:
- How you managed to increase traffic and conversions for your past employer
- How you consistently tested new strategies and stayed up-to-date with the latest changes in paid search algorithms
- How those strategies led to higher ROI for marketing campaigns and a stronger bottom line for the company
Example strengths related to graphic design
If you’re applying for a graphic design role, some potential greatest strengths to highlight might include:
- Strong technical skills (Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator)
- Expertise in visual design principles
- Ability to work effectively under pressure
For example, if your greatest strength is your ability to create high-quality graphics that capture and engage the audience, you could illustrate this with the following:
- How you consistently received positive feedback from clients for your designs
- How this led to increased brand awareness
- How your designs improved customer engagement and conversion ratings