The interview statement “Tell me about your strengths” has tripped up many a professional. And may have been the top reason they lost the job offer.
Many believed it meant telling the interviewer about job tasks they were capable of performing skillfully. Others believed it meant ‘tell me what you can do for us’. And still others mistakenly thought it was one of those trick questions interviewers are known for asking and blew it off.
That said, to an interviewer it is an extremely important question. Asked to elicit what you believe you do best. What are you most successful in doing? What are you most proud of? Which of your strengths helped the company you work for post gains or readily move in a more profitable direction? In providing this information an interviewer can better determine whether you are a good fit for the job at hand.
Warning – this is not the time to tell an interviewer or decision maker what you believe they want to hear.
Since most interviewers will ask this question, before you begin your job search, or schedule an interview, do the following:
1. Read the job ad carefully to determine which of your skills match up with those the company requires. Are they looking to hire someone who can manage a team of forty or lead a group in taking on a new project? If you believe you prefer the job which requires you to lead a team of forty, you should be a leader. A decision-maker who keeps the group on track and on schedule. If you prefer the position which regularly requires you to launch new products or projects, you should be capable of motivating your staff. You must be someone whose ability to direct inspires others to perform at peak levels.
2. Know the type of environment you work best within. Are you comfortable in task-driven environments where stress is the norm? On the other hand are you better suited to a relaxed atmosphere which allows you to work at your own pace?
3. Using past successes as a measure, determine what strengths you are most proud of and which you have used the most during your career or current job. These successes will point out what is most likely that competitive advantage which places you above others who may apply for the same job. In short, these strengths are what make you great at what you do.
Here are a few other strengths an interviewer or company decision maker is looking for. Good to excellent:
- Verbal skills.
- Communication skills.
- Interpersonal skills.
- Problem Solving.
- Critical Thinking.
- Organizational ability.
- Leadership qualities.
4. Regardless of the job, is this a company whose mission you can get behind? Do you approve of the way in which they treat employees? What about their reputation? Will you be proud to tell friends and others you work for them?
Long before you start job searching you should determine what your strengths are. Once you determine what they are, your job search will be easier. Aside from that, it will be far easier to find jobs which best fit you. Which will allow you to succeed and flourish.
Submitted by: Jean L. Serio CEIC, CDI, CPC, CeMA
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