job interview

Interview Questions:

What are your strengths?

This question poses a challenge to most interviewees. For obvious reasons some may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable praising themselves. Learn how to tackle this question and appreciate your qualities and virtues.

Job Interview Strengths - The Dont's

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When asked the "what are your strengths" question, some may respond by saying something along the lines of, "I prefer others to present my strong qualities". Some may try an opposing tactic by boasting and glorifying their achievements. This does not necessarily mean that such behavior implies the interviewee has high self esteem – the opposite is more likely. In any case, both responses leave a bad impression or a partial one at best.

Job Interview Strengths - The Dos

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If you are confident, you are likely to feel good about your accomplishments and are probably quite aware of your good qualities. This question actually offers you a platform and an opportunity to present your achievements, skills and qualities. This presentation can be done in a humble but confident manner; it makes it all the more authentic. There is no need to boast.

In a job interview you must be selective about the strengths you choose to present. They must be relevant to the job description you are applying for.


 For a managerial position you may want to select three to four strengths from the following that are relevant for a manager and that suit the post:

  • Responsibility
  • Social energy
  • Ambition
  • Conscientiousness
  • Dynamism
  • Leadership
  • Negotiating skills
  • Decisiveness
  • Representative
  • Orderliness
  • Authoritative
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Ability to motivate
  • Drive
  • Planner

There are other qualities that are positive and are good qualities to possess, but they are passive by nature and therefore are of less importance for a managerial position which is usually active by nature. Such qualities are:

  • Integrity
  • Ability to listen
  • Insight
  • Honesty
  • Empathy
  • Consideration
  • Sensitivity
  • Pleasantness

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 For a marketing position you may wish to add that you are also:

  • Creative
  • Have good interpersonal skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Entrepreneurial

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For a sales position you may choose to add the following strengths:

  • Creativity
  • Negotiation skills
  • Being energetic
  • Stamina 
  • Tolerance
  • Entrepreneurship

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Strong qualities that are important for a financial position:

  • Organisational skills
  • Responsibility
  • Orderliness
  • Precision

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Strengths that are important for an HR position:

  • Training skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Organisational skills
  • Insight into people

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Strong qualities that are important for an engineering position:

  • Planning skills
  • Technical abilities
  • Analytic skills
  • Being critical

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Strengths that are important for a software engineering position (in addition to the engineering qualities above):

  • Methodological
  • Orderliness 
  • Tolerance
  • Creativity

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