What is Your Greatest Strength?

"What is your greatest strength?" may seem like an easy job interview question. However, for many candidates it can be tricky—either they're too modest in their response or they don't highlight those strengths that most closely match the job requirements. Many candidates are unsure about how to answer this question. It’s important to be prepared for this question and have an answer ready. Even if you aren’t asked this question, you will be aware of your strengths and what you can bring to the position.

In this article, you'll find a guide on how to answer the interview question about your greatest strengths, and what—and what not—to say when you respond, with example answers too.

How to answer “What is your greatest strength?” interview question

Your strengths reveal a lot about you as a candidate. When you are asked questions about your strengths, discuss attributes that will best qualify you for the specific job and set you apart from the other candidates.

By asking you about your greatest strengths, here’s what the interviewer is looking for:

  • They want to know if you're aware of your own strengths
  • They want to know if your strengths are relevant for the job role
  • They want to know if you’re realistic

While answering, the hiring manager will also be looking for examples from you. So in order to answer appropriately, you need to convey the above 3 points in your answer and provide a real-life, relevant example of the strength in action.

You can claim you’re the most tech-savvy person in the world and amazing at  project management, but without providing an example, you might as well be making the whole thing up.

So, when considering which strength to highlight, think about the last time you used it. 

What happened? How did you react to the situation? How did your strength help solve the problem?

Basically, the best approach to answering this interview question is as follows:

  • State your strength (must be relevant to the job)
  • Provide an example of when you used this strength and how
  • (Optional) Describe what kind of impact you made

The more closely your strengths match the stated job requirements, the more likely you'll be to get a job offer.

“What is your greatest strength?” sample answers

Below are real-life example answers for the the interview question “What is your greatest strength?”:

  1. My greatest strength is my writing skills. I can also work to tight deadlines under pressure. For example, I was once asked to complete a project that fell through the cracks. My editor discovered the mistake two hours before the deadline. It was an important piece that gave our publication a scoop on the topic in question. Not only did the piece have to go out on time, but it had to be perfect. I hunkered down and wrote. The result? The article was on time and acclaimed.
  2. I have a solid work ethic. When I'm working on a project, I don't just want to meet deadlines. Rather, I prefer to complete the project well ahead of schedule. Last year, I even earned a bonus for completing my three most recent reports one week ahead of time.
  3. I’ve always preferred to work in groups and find that my collaborative nature is one of my strongest attributes. On projects that I directed, I work well to inspire diverse team members and work side by side with them to achieve the project goals. In fact, I’ve increased productivity by ten percent over the course of two years. 
  4. Whenever new software is released, I’m always the first one to test and get familiar with it. I love pushing the edge and learning every aspect of the new software. In fact, just last week I found a software issue with one of my video games. I called the developer, and they fixed it right away. This position will give me the opportunity to apply my passion and help make programs better for your company.
  5. I am a skilled sales representative with over ten years of experience. I have exceeded my sales goals every quarter by at least 20%, and I've earned a bonus each year since I started with my current employer.
  6. I consider my leadership skills to be one of my greatest strengths. During my time as a department head, I successfully merged two teams and organized training programs for all team members to ensure that everyone was confident in their new role. As a result, we were able to increase sales by 5% within our first month as a new team.
  7. My greatest strength is attention to detail. I’ve always been detail-oriented in my work, and it’s something I enjoy. I saw on your job description that this role involves a lot of detail-oriented work, which is one reason I applied. In my last job, I was frequently required to manage 8-10 client projects at a time, and often had 75 different tasks going on in those different projects. Being detail-oriented allowed me to deliver 100% of my projects on-time to our clients. In fact, I finished 45% of my assigned projects ahead of schedule.

Notice how each answer above has quantifiable information that validates your strengths. This helps the interviewer understand how much you have to offer if you were to be hired.

Finally, always remember, a great way to prepare for interview questions is to have a friend or family member pretend to be the interviewer who asks you questions while you practise your answers.