Answering The Job Interview Question About Your Strengths

In a job interview there are certain questions that you are almost guaranteed to be asked.

A question about your strengths falls into that category.

In many respects this should be a real gift of a question.  Yet over the last 25+ years I’ve noticed it’s a question many accountants and professionals struggle with.

Why?

There’s actually several reasons:

  • They don’t want to come across as a know it all
  • They tend to underestimate what they have to offer
  • They assume that they are just doing their job
  • They assume they are just the same as every other accountant
  • They haven’t prepared well enough for this question
  • They feel uncomfortable talking about themselves
  • And many more….

The reality of this question is that:

  • Employers do actually want to hear your own perspective on what you have to offer
  • It is an invitation to sell yourself
  • It is your opportunity to differentiate yourself from others being interviewed
  • Employers learn a lot about you from how you respond to this question. 
  • The employer can only give you credit for what you tell them.

So how can you answer a question about your strengths confidently and authentically?

Take time to reflect on what you are really good at

Chances are there are certain things that others refer to you as a matter of routine.  These are those areas that peers recognise you as being what is the ‘go-to-person’.  Make a list of those areas.

Ask for feedback from colleagues

Simply ask them to share with you 3 things that you do well.  Create a simple survey that they can complete anonymously to increase your response rate.  You can use Google or Survey Monkey.

Ask for feedback from those you provide a service to

What do those that you provide services to really admire in you?  If you never ask you will never find out.

Review past performance reviews or 360 feedback

Chances are there are messages that are coming up consistently.  These positive messages are indicators of strength.

Practice speaking your strengths out loud

You can do all of the groundwork to get insights into your strengths.  Of course the only way to get comfortable speaking about your strengths is to practice.  Recording yourself on audio and video is a great way to do this.

The truth is answering questions about your strengths shouldn’t be that difficult.  The important thing you need to do to answer questions about your strengths is your research and practice.

About the Author Duncan Brodie

In summary since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 6,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them achieve career success and become better leaders and presenters. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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