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What's Your Greatest Strength?
"What's your greatest strength?" is an of-
ten-used job interview question and is frequent-
ly paired with the greatest-weakness question.
This question is also an invitation to explain why
you are the best-qualified candidate for this job.
If you are typically a modest person or not accus-
tomed to bragging about yourself, get over it, at least
for your job interviews. If you don't tell employers
what your strengths are, they will never know. Em-
ployers ask this question for a couple of reasons:
They are interested in what you think your strengths
are because that gives them an insight into your per-
This is the quickest way to gain insight into your
Yes, if they spend 30 minutes studying your Linke-
dIn Profile and your LinkedIn Group activities, they'll
get an idea of your strengths, but reality is few em-
ployers want to spend that time because they might
not find the answer or they might reach the wrong
Don't simply pick any random strength you've been
told you have (a great cook, good with kids, able to
leap tall buildings in a single bound, etc.).
The strengths you describe must be relevant to
the job, or they really don't matter to the employer.
Being a good cook isn't relevant to most office jobs,
unless the job is writing or editing a cook book or
cooking instruction videos.
ANSWER THE REAL QUESTION
Look to address the real concern behind the great-
est-strength question, which is "Are you a good can-
didate for this job? Will you be able to do this job well?
Will you fit in with the other employees?"
They are thinking: What is this person really like?
Can this person communicate well? Is this person
self-aware and confident?
Prepare for Job Interview Success: What IS Your
Hopefully, you are reading this article because
you understand the importance of preparing for a
job interview. Walking into an interview expecting
to succeed without preparing is a waste of time.
1. DEVELOP A LIST OF YOUR STRENGTHS
Since the same strength won't necessarily work for
every job opportunity, even in the same company, de-
velop a list of three to five (hopefully, more) strengths
that you can use as appropriate to that opportunity.
Some of your strengths are based on your educa-
tion and experience -- skills you have developed, like
using a particular tool required for your profession.
Perhaps you speak more than one language, or are very
skilled at keeping unhappy customers from getting
Your Personal Characteristics:
• Some of your strengths are personal character-
istics. These are the "soft skills" that make you a
good team member and a productive employee.
• Choose strengths that are relevant to the job you
are interviewing for, and be sure to have at least
two examples of accomplishments that prove
those you have those strengths.
WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR STRENGTHS ARE?
Think about the aspects of your work that
make you feel the most successful, and write
• What part of your work do you enjoy doing the most?
• What part of your work is the easiest part for you
to do (particularly the parts that seem to be more
difficult for others)?
• What accomplishments are you proudest of (even
if no one else seemed to notice)?
• What have you been recognized for by an employer
-- either in a performance review, a salary increase,
or a bonus?
• What other internal reward or recognition have you
received -- like employee of the month?
• What external reward or recognition have you re-
Which of the characteristics employers value
(above) are reflected in your accomplishments? Con-
nect your accomplishments to those highly valued
These strengths can be a simple as never missing
a day of work or never being late for work (reliable).
What Do Others Think Your Strengths Are?
Often, we are not the best judges of our strengths.
We think we are, but a view from the "outside" is
often more reflective of reality. So, after you have
developed your list of strengths, ask a friend or for-
mer co-worker (more than one, if possible) if those
are the strengths they would choose to describe you.
Their answers could surprise you, and, probably, will
be very helpful.
Ask for examples of when you demonstrated that
strength. Then, put together a very short narrative of
why something is a strength for you. Have additional
Choosing Your Best, Most Appropriate Strengths
for Each Opportunity
Before each interview, pick the strengths that are
directly relevant to the positions you are seeking. Help
the interviewer understand how your qualifications
match their requirements. Which of your strengths
fits this job and this organization the best?
If the description is so short or vague that the re-
quirements are hard to figure out, scan the lists of
"Characteristics Employers Value" and "Skills Em-
ployers Need" (below) to find the ones that seem most
appropriate for you and the specific opportunity.
2. DEMONSTRATE YOUR STRENGTHS WITH YOUR
Make a list of the times when you demonstrat-
ed a strength on your list:
Issues you recognized and addressed?
Problems you solved?
Processes you improved?
Expenses reduced as a result of your actions or
Profits that were generated as a result of your
ideas?Other improvements that resulted from your
ideas or actions?
When you have a list of three or more examples of a
strength, think about exactly what happened -- what
was the reason you did the action, how
did you do it, and what was the benefit
of your work. Apply the principles of
the structured CAR (Challenge - Action
- Result) or STAR (Situation - Task -
Action - Result) method to describe
Be prepared to describe your strength
and the accomplishments that prove
you have that strength. Also, be sure
that both the strength you choose and
the accomplishments that illustrate it
are relevant to the job you are inter-
Your CAR/STAR descriptions will
help you with your resume and Linke-
dIn profile as well as with your job in-
Possible Strengths: Skills Employers
Don't forget your skills that ap-
ply specifically to this opportunity,
based on your experience or edu-
A type of customer
A type of business
An aspect of business (marketing,
finance, law, customer service, and
A skill (writing great blog posts,
selling a specific product, writing
great proposals, designing excellent
A technology (OS10, Bluetooth,
AWS, CISSP, and so on)
A job-specific tool like an EKG ma-
chine, an infusion pump, a backhoe, a
drone, an immersion blender, an HV
Gen 2 battery pack, etc.
Don't limit yourself to the skills
you have developed only in school or
in a job. You may have also developed
skills in any volunteering you may have
Possible Strengths: Characteristics
Look at this list,below, of charac-
teristics that employers prefer for
their employees. Relate the charac-
teristic you choose to the require-
ments of the job, with examples of
how you have demonstrated it in
• Independent (vs. needing
• Team player
• Quick learner
• Good communicator
• Passionate about doing a good job
Determined (you never give up until
the job is done and done right)
Leader (particularly important for
jobs managing people and/or projects)
When you have accomplishments
that can be verified through public
media (LinkedIn or other media) or
through discussions with your refer-
ences, choose strengths that include
SERVICE COMMISSIONS DEPARTMENT
ADVERTISEMENT OF VACANCY
DIRECTOR OF PERSONNEL ADMINISTRATION
UNIQUE EYECARE COMPANY LIMITED
• BSC or Doctor of Optometry/Degree
• Minimum of 5 years recent work experience
• Tobago Opticians Registration Council
1321 SS Erin Road Penal
+1 868 270 5930
Ministry of Labour and Small and
Mic r o Enterprise Development
#50-54 Duke Street
Port of Spain.
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