During an interview the hiring manager will ask you an assortment of questions in order to better understand your approach to work and life. One of the most commonly asked questions is ‘What quality or attribute do you feel will most contribute to your career success?’ This question is also commonly phrased as ‘What is your greatest strength?’ Regardless of the way the interview questions are phrased- you will need to have mature and professional answers on hand already.
There are many different techniques and responses you can use to answer interview questions successfully. Before embarking on interviews- think about the traits you possess that differentiate you from others. Which of these traits give you the greatest advantage in the workplace? By preparing your answer in advance you can avoid being blindsided during the interview- which can decrease your chances of crafting an appropriate response. If you have ever wondered how to answer this timeless interview question- read the information below first.
How to Answer the Question
1. Focus on the Company:
When crafting an answer to this question be sure to focus on the company you are applying to. What skills or traits can be beneficial to the organization? Tailor your answer to fit the company you are applying to. For example- if you are applying for a job at an accounting firm- list attention to detail or mathematical prowess as one of your greatest attributes. This will put the interviewer at ease and let him or her know you possess the skills needed to perform the job adequately. Research companies beforehand to find out about the type of employees they tend to hire and the company vision. This will allow you to list attributes and qualities that are in alignment with company values.
2. Be Authentic:
When asked this question many employees are tempted to give cookie-cutter or unbelievable answers. Responding “I work very hard” or “I’m a perfectionist” will only make you seem inauthentic or conceited. Employers want to hire honest employees- and they are looking for someone confident enough in their abilities to respond truthfully. Choose a reasonable attribute such as “I’m organized” or “I work well with others.” These attributes are universally desired but also realistic. After settling on an attribute- be sure to expound upon your response so the interviewer can develop a deeper understanding of your abilities.
3. Ask Others:
Before you arrive at the interview- try speaking with former coworkers- supervisors- teachers- and other individuals about your attributes and qualities. If you are still on good terms- these individuals may be able to provide you with an honest- nonbiased perspective. This can be especially helpful if you are struggling to answer this question- and in many instances other individuals can provide you with a better understanding of your character and work ethic. If you cannot ask any of the individuals above- don’t hesitate to ask a friend- family member- or partner; just be sure that the attributes they list are relevant to the job you are applying for.
4. Internal and External Rewards:
What attribute or quality provides you with the most professional validation? Think about this from an internal and external perspective. Internally- how do you feel about possessing this particular attribute? What sort of personal growth does it prompt? Externally- what does this attribute help you to achieve in a professional setting? By providing interviewers with emotional and professional information- you will help them gain a more comprehensive view of your strengths and skills.
Sample Interview Answers
1. I believe that strong organizational and time management skills are my greatest attributes. In order to complete work on time- I prefer to create a concrete and tangible plan for doing so. This helps me stay on task- and it often enables me to finish some projects ahead of time. Even though I place a great amount of emphasis on organization and scheduling- I also find that a certain degree of flexibility is needed in the workplace. There will be times when things don’t go according to plan and I need to adapt to the current situation- so I always try to factor flexibility into my work plans as well.
2. I feel that my strongest attribute is my ability to work well under stress. Under stress or pressure- many people have difficulty being productive- but I have had to learn how to cope with the stress and remain productive. I firmly believe that stressful situations provide us with opportunities to grow- both personally and professionally. In short I view stress as an opportunity to rise to the occasion and learn more about myself. I feel that this trait can provide me with benefits regardless of the situation I find myself in.
The information above will certainly help you ace your job interview. Now you can walk into an employer’s office and answer interview questions with confidence.