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  • Writer's pictureSamradni

How to answer 'What are your strengths?' in an interview

One of the most common questions asked during an interview is that around your strengths and weaknesses.

More often than not candidates prefer preparing for this question in advance because they feel it will help them answer this better.

However, how can you be sure that what you have prepared for, is actually the right answer?

With this blog post we will look at ensuring that your preparation for this question is spot on!

This blog post will include the following points:

1. Intent behind asking about your strengths in the interview

2. How should freshers answer about their strengths

3. How should experienced candidates answer this question

4. Examples of Strengths to talk about

5. Perfect outline to answer 'what are your strengths'?

Let's look at each of them in detail:

1. Intent behind asking about your strengths in the interview

Your strengths maybe directly or indirectly related to the requirement of the JD that is being shared.

Let me explain!

Let’s take an example, if one of your strengths is ‘Communication’ and if the JD requires you to be a people’s person, then this works brilliantly.

So the intent is more so around understanding how the person fits into the JD.

The other reason why this question could be asked to know what is it that you are most proud of.

When you are asked about your strengths, it is imperative that you put your best foot forward and highlight things you are proud to have.

These talk volumes about you and your personality, and for companies that are on a lookout to not just hire someone who would work for them, but hire someone from a personality stand point, this becomes crucial to note!

2. How should freshers answer about their strengths?

It’s important that you create a link with the job description and your personality to answer this question.

I have seen this when taking interviews, myself, when asked this question, people just state the 3 strengths/qualities they ‘think’ they have.

But ideally that’s the worst way to go about it, because you are leaving too much room for guess work.

The interviewer may not be able to understand exactly what you are trying to communicate.

For example, if you say you are a ‘team player’ don’t just use this as two words, instead say something on the lines of “ I am a team player, during my college project work I would always lead the group and ensure that all the people get equal opportunity and all the points are addressed well’.

Now this makes sense, because you are not just communicating about your strengths but also explaining on why this is your strength.

And as a fresher, you will need to not just have points to mention from your college but also your personal life in general.

Try and link all your strengths to the JD that is sent, this will ensure a clear connect with the job and your personality.

3. How should experienced candidates answer this question?

Now for the experienced candidates, this becomes a little tricky because you will be judged based on your past experiences more than your personality.

Because for an experienced candidate, the interviewer has an option to judge past roles, with respect to a fresher, this part is missing.

Try to link your strengths to your past experiences, this is the best way to highlight your best moments from your last company.

And you may not get this option later, so better utilize this question well.

You can say ‘ My strength lies in leadership skills, my ex-colleagues/subordinates would agree that I manage to lead from the front and take others with me’.

Now this may be a little generic, so go on with this- give them an example of how you managed to achieve this through one of the examples from the past.

Remember that throughout your interview, you must be talking about something or the other- do not have a silent spell, it may backfire and make the interviewer lose interest.

4. Examples of Strengths

1. Communication Skills

If you are going for a marketing interview, having good communication skills can be a very strong advantage over your peers.

But note, that you should genuinely be good at this- cause if not, then this will be evident from your interview itself.

2. People Skills

Another excellent strength to possess for a marketing role.

In a marketing role, more often than not, you would be dealing with people from various facets- you will have your colleagues, supervisors, vendors, etc. and your style of talking needs to be perfect for each of them.

So being a people’s person ensures this!

3. Initiative/Go Getter

In a marketing role, you are always expected to be on your toes.

It’s an ever-evolving field and hence you must stay up to date with everything, this is only possible if you take the initiative and work towards things, instead of waiting to be told to do something.

4. Patience

This is my favorite, patience is possibly the strongest strength that I would look for when hiring someone for my company.

You need to be patient about results, you need to be patient about outcomes- with patience comes consistency and a ‘won’t give up’ attitude.

This is great to have on team!

5. Analytical Skills

This doesn’t necessarily have to do with numbers, but how well can you analyze a situation and make it work for you.

What are the learnings that you can derive out of a market research and how can you ensure that these learnings are then incorporated while devising a marketing strategy will be crucial?

5. Perfect outline to answer this question

The perfect outline to answer this question goes as follows:

1. Start by deciding the three strengths that you wish to highlight (3 is the best number in this case)

2. Take one strength at a time, and try to relate it with your past experience.

3. Ensure that your past experience is measurable in nature, only then will it have the best impact.

4. Do this for the other two strengths as well, make the explanation as elaborate as possible.

5. At the end, say that these are my top 3 strengths and I am working on improving myself in other areas as well (This may prompt them to ask you about your weakness, and we will have the next blog post talking about the same)

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