On this blog, it’s fair to say that our ‘Interview Advice’ section is our most popular section by a mile. Why? Because regardless of industry, level or expertise, you’re always going to have to attend an interview – and they’re easily the scariest aspect of any job search – so this section is relevant to pretty much everyone and anyone.

Now, although you can’t plan for every aspect of the interview, there are some areas you can prepare for. We’re talking of course about those common job interview questions which are probably going to crop up at some point in the process, regardless of which company you’re interviewing with or which role you’re being interviewed for.

On this blog, we’ve covered a lot of the common job interview questions (and how to answer them!) before but there’s one which we definitely haven’t covered – the “What are your biggest strengths?” question.

Now, this one’s a tricky one because it involves essentially boasting about your skills and attributes – something which doesn’t necessarily come naturally to a lot of us.

With that in mind; I’ve come up with some top tips to bear in mind when this question rears its ugly head.

Pick Three Strengths

OK, so you probably have more than three strengths but it’s important to just pick three and explain them fully. Why? Because the employer has asked you this question to see if you can identify your own strengths, in particular your greatest strengths, so if you start listing a million, not only will you show the employer that you’ve failed to identify your greatest strengths as a candidate – but you also risk coming across as overconfident and arrogant – not good!

championBe Honest

Just as with any interview question, it’s important to answer this question as honestly as you can. While you want to impress the interviewer and come as a viable candidate, you don’t want to lie and name a strength which you don’t have but which you know they’re looking for. Remember, lies always come back to bite you, particularly if you’ve said you’re strong in something like data analytics or sales but actually have no experience in them whatsoever.

Keep It Relevant

When considering your greatest strengths, it’s a good idea to try and keep them as relevant as you can to the role you’re applying for. Look at the job spec/advert, in particular the skills/experience area – and consider what strengths you have which are relevant to the role. Don’t think you have any? Think again… most jobs call for candidates with strong communication and team work skills – so these are two you could definitely considering naming, even if they’re not mentioned on the job ad.

Back Up With Stories

When you’ve named your strengths, it’s important to try and back them up with real world examples. Why? Because it helps to give these strengths more substance and it also helps to give the interviewer more of an insight into who you are as a candidate and the experiences you’ve had so far in your career. It goes without saying that you need to pick experiences which shine you in a good light – and which demonstrate how relevant you would be to the role you’re being interviewed for.

Don’t Waffle

Following on from that last point, while it’s important to back your strengths up with stories, you need to be careful not to waffle. As with any answer, the more you talk, the more likely it is that you could end up talking yourself out of the role. If in doubt, keep things short, sweet, succinct and relevant!