When working with my clients, the question that confuses or even paralyses them the most is when I ask them ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses’ or ‘Why should this company hire you?’.
In the Australian way of life, is it the tall poppy syndrome that holds us back from knowing our strengths? Or perhaps it is that we are simply encouraged to be modest. The end result is that most of us find it extremely difficult to boast about what we are great at!
I am here to tell you that modesty is not going to help you ace your next interview! It is your job in an interview to be able to clearly explain what your strengths are and why you are suited to the role. You can only do this once you take the time to really understand what your strengths are.
An interview is the time to stand out! So how do you go about doing that? Here are 3 tips from me about how to ace your next interview by taking the time to consider and understand your strengths and celebrate you skills and experience.
- Reflect on all your roles, think about your success & what skills helped you. Allow yourself to feel proud and boast a little. I suggest you grab a pen and some paper and write it down. Taking the time to reflect on your successes is vital step in this process.
- Make a long list of your strengths. This will help you when preparing for an interview, as you can reference this information and consider relevant examples (from the previous step) that you can explain to the hiring manager or interview panel to demonstrate your strengths.
- Practice speaking your strengths out loud. I want you to hear them, feel them & own them. This will help you when you need to say them in an interview out aloud. It will also help you feel confident about them.
Here’s a list of common strengths to get you started. I suggest you review the list and consider which strengths describe you!
|Common strength||How it presents at work|
|Communication||Written communication skill evident in reports, correspondence. Verbal communication skills evident in presentations, managing conflict, selling, dealing with customers, active listening, meeting participation and negotiation.|
|Strong work ethic/diligent||Hard working, works extra hours, completes projects before time, takes on more than others, does more than required, maintains a high quality of work, imposes own standards of excellence, works without supervision, follows up on own.|
|Organizational and planning skills||Evident in time management, prioritizing, using resources effectively, meeting deadlines, multi-tasking, dealing with competing demands, achieving objectives and goals, setting targets, maintaining schedules and calendars, optimal use of available resources, coordination of resources to complete projects.|
|Flexible and adaptable||Able to change activities and priorities to meet new demands, willing to learn new skills and knowledge, make a positive effort to accept changes, able to work and communicate effectively with diverse people, willing to work in different environments, willing to attempt new tasks.|
|Decision-making/judgment||Gather the necessary information to make a sound decision, come up with viable alternatives, consider pros and cons for each, fully commit to the best action, follow through on decision.|
|Problem solving||Able to identify and define problems, analyze problems to find causes, find possible solutions, consider the possible outcomes of each solution, decide on the best solution and implement it.|
|Gathering, analyzing and managing information||Collect required information efficiently from different sources, integrate information and put it together in a logical format, process information, identify trends and patterns, distribute and communicate information correctly, store and maintain information efficiently.|
|Coaching/mentoring||Willing and able to coach others, enable and facilitate learning, impart knowledge, help people to identify and achieve what they are capable of, assess training and learning needs, develop appropriate learning interventions, adapt teaching/coaching style to meet employee’s needs.|
|Team work||Work effectively in a team, contribute to team objectives, communicate effectively with team members, respect, listen to and encourage team members, pitch in, put success of team ahead of individual success.|
|Reliable/dependable||Consistent work performance, complete projects accurately and within deadlines, arriving on time, fulfilling obligations, following through on commitments, checks own work, corrects own work, complies with workplace policies and procedures, takes responsibility for own actions.|
|Self reliant/ self management||Uses own resources, skills and abilities fully, accountable for own activity, progress and success, manages self towards goals, completes projects and activities independently, obtains own help and assistance, internally motivated and does not seek external rewards for good performance.|
|Self discipline||Controls own behavior, self-motivated, prepared to work hard to achieve goals, sets own targets, avoids distractions, perseveres with difficult tasks and activities, does not procrastinate, continues with projects in the face of obstacles and challenges.|
|Persistent/resilient||Handle disappointment, deal effectively with rejection, stay enthusiastic after a set back, maintain work performance despite difficulties, accept criticism, bounce back quickly, overcome obstacles to achieve, keep trying until task is completed.|
|Persuasive||Evident in selling, customer management, negotiating, dealing with objections, getting agreement/commitment from co-workers/management, presenting ideas, motivating people, gaining the confidence of others.|
|Integrity||Maintain confidentiality, provide complete and accurate information, observe company policies and procedures, comply with regulations, maintain values and ethics in the face of opposition and pressure.|
|Energetic||Works long hours, maintains fast work pace, tackles challenging tasks, stays positive, takes on extra tasks, maintains high productivity levels, tenacious in achieving goals.|
|Initiative||Proactive attempts to sort out problems and issues, provide ideas for improvement, make full use of opportunities, identify needs and come up with solutions, take steps to make your job and the company better.|
Once you take the time to recognise, acknowledge and own your strengths you will also feel more confident when answering interview questions about yourself and why you should be hired for the role!
Have a go! You never know who will be listening!
I am a passionate Career Coach who works with individuals in the explore and search phase of their career journey, helping you realise your strengths through my career coaching and training programs. I enjoy showing people the path to greater career satisfaction and providing insight and tools to help you make your next career move.