How to answer ‘What can you bring to this role?’

How to answer ‘What can you bring to this role?’

One of the questions you should come to interviews prepared to answer is ‘What can you bring to this role?’ Having a clear idea in your mind as to exactly what you and your unique skill set would add to the role will put you in a great position to come up with great answers to other questions too.

This question sets you up perfectly to show off your relevant skills, experience and how they will help you in the role in question. It is also your chance to explain what you can offer that other applicants can’t.

This is a common interview question that you will be expected to answer well. Failure to prepare will make it seem as though you aren’t committed to the role. If you do prepare and are able to deliver a great answer in your interview, this could be your key to your dream job.

 

How to prepare your answer to ‘What can you bring to the role?’

Research is key:

Make sure you start your preparation well in advance. The best place to start your research for this question is the job description and the company’s website. Pick out the most important skills or experience listed on the job description. Then see if you can find the company’s values on their website as this will give you some clues as to the type of person they’re looking for.

Once you have this information, cross-reference it with your own skills and experience on your CV and your own personal values. This will form the basis for your answer.

 

Give examples:

The most convincing answers will include examples. Don’t simply state that you have the required skills, demonstrate that you have by describing a time you had to put them into practice.

 

Have backup:

We recommend that you prepare at least three key attributes that will demonstrate what you’ll bring to the role. Each of these should be central to the role in question and you should be able to back it up with an example. You should only need to talk about one or two of these attributes, but it’s always good to have a couple of extras up your sleeve in case you are pushed for more detail.

The following examples should help you prepare some great answers.

 

The ability to deal with time pressure and meeting deadlines

“Due to my previous experience in a similar role at X, I know that this role will involve meeting tight deadlines. I developed the ability to do this in my last job and am comfortable working on several projects simultaneously while still meeting deadlines.

For example, I needed to ensure that I didn’t fall behind on my administrative duties even when we had a particularly busy period making repairs. Efficiently recording the work that had been completed was central to the organisation of the whole team. In order to make this process more efficient, I would make brief notes during the day which sped up the admin tasks considerably and made sure I met deadlines.”

Why we like this answer: This candidate has identified a key attribute from their own experience. This is likely to convince interviewers that they know what they’re talking about and are aware of the challenges they will face in the role. The extra detail as to how they were proactive in getting organised reinforces this.

 

Teamwork

“I can see from the job description that this role will require a lot of teamwork. I love being part of a team and I think that my communication skills add a lot of value here. During my work for X, I was working with offices in different parts of the world. This meant that communication was essential when working on projects together. I set up weekly meetings via Skype which had a set agenda so we could make sure that everybody was on the same page in an efficient way. This extra communication added to the team dynamic, despite us working in different offices in different parts of the world.”

Why we like this example: This candidate has explained exactly what it is that makes them such an effective team player. Communication skills are essential in almost any job so this is a great example to go for. The example they have chosen demonstrates that they understand the essentials of good teamwork.

 

These examples give you an idea of how long you might want your answer to be. They are detailed, giving examples, yet they’re concise.

When you practice, make sure you aren’t tempted to script your answers word-for-word. This can make your answer sound a little robotic or unnatural and might not fit with the natural flow of the conversation. Instead, prepare your answer as bullet points as this gives you a room to manoeuvre.

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Stand out by asking your interviewer these questions

Stand out by asking your interviewer these questions

Job interviews aren’t just about finding out about the candidate, they are also about working out if the company is the right fit for the interviewee. You will usually be given the opportunity to ask any questions that you may have about the company or the role and this is your final chance to demonstrate your interest in the job or to find out if it’s perhaps not the right one for you. Some well-thought-out questions will help you stand out from the crowd and your interviewer may give you some valuable insights as to how the company operates.

You should come to your interview prepared with several questions that you’d like to ask. Some of these will naturally be answered throughout the course of the interview so it’s always best to come over-prepared. If you don’t have anything to ask when given the opportunity, you run the risk of appearing disinterested or disorganised.

 

Preparing your questions

If you want to make the most of this opportunity, it really is important that you come to your interview prepared. If you do your research, you’ll be able to ask questions that will demonstrate your interest in the role and in the wider industry.

While you’re carrying out your pre-interview research, make a note of any questions that occur to you that are specific to the role or the company. You’ll then be able to prioritise the most important questions and work on how you want to ask them.

First off, you’ll want to make sure that these questions are relatively open-ended (so they can’t be answered by a simple yes or no). The best interviews flow like a natural conversation and ideally you’ll want this to continue even when it’s you asking the questions. Don’t just bombard your interviewer with lots of questions and overwhelm them. If you make them uncomfortable, they’re unlikely to hire you.

We also recommend that you avoid focusing on questions about salary or benefits at this stage. While these things are very important, make sure some of your questions are focussed on what you can do for the company, rather than how they’ll benefit you.

Once you’ve got a good list of questions that you’re happy with, you might want to note them down on a copy of the job description that you take into the interview with you. You could also highlight any parts of the job description that you’d like clarifying further.

Here are some of our top example questions to get you started.

 

Questions to ask in an interview:

How do you measure the success of your staff?

If you want to demonstrate to your interviewer that you’re proactive and already thinking about company targets and objectives, this is a great question to ask. You’ll hopefully get some top tips on how you could stand out if you do get the job.

 

What is the managerial structure of the company?

It’s important to know exactly where you’ll fit into the structure of the company and who you’ll report to and be responsible for. It will also indicate to your interviewer that you’re thinking about potential progression routes within the business too.

 

How would you expect someone in this role to progress?

You could use this as a follow up to the previous question to really reinforce that you’re thinking about a long-term and successful career at the company. Their response will also give you a clue as to how quickly you might be able to progress too.

 

Where does the company want to be in 5 years time?

Asking this question will indicate that you are forward-thinking and want to work for a company that has ambition. Their answer is also likely to reveal whether or not the company has a long-term vision and if that aligns with your own vision of where you’d like to be in five years time. This question will really help with working out whether or not this is a company for you.

 

How long is the probationary period and what would I have to demonstrate in order to pass?

Most new employees will have to pass a probationary period which is usually three to six months long. Asking what your managers will be looking out for during this period will demonstrate that you are proactive and keen to do well. It is also a great way to prepare yourself for your first few months if you get the job.

 

What training opportunities are there?

It’s good to know early on how much a company invests in training its staff. If you’re not going to be given the opportunity to progress, you might want to re-think your application. Demonstrating to your interviewer that you have an eye on the future and looking to develop your skills will always be a positive.

 

What is the company culture like?

This is a relatively common question to come up at this stage of an interview, however, it’s really important that you have a good idea as to whether you’ll be a good fit for the company and if you’ll enjoy working there. You could even ask your interviewer to expand their answer based on their personal experience working for the company.

 

Is this a new role?

It’s useful to know whether or not the role has just been created or if you’ll be taking over from someone else. If it is a new role, you might need to be prepared for a few teething problems in the beginning. A newly created role will be a great opportunity for you to really make your mark.

If it’s not a new role, you could ask what your predecessor/s did particularly well and how they hope the role will develop. This could lead to some extra information as to how you can impress your new employer if you get the job.  

 

What day-to-day tasks does this role involve?

This will give you a good idea of how your tasks will be balanced. While the job description might be quite accurate in terms of the tasks you will be responsible for, it might not tell you how much time you might be expected to spend on each. For example, the job description may mention reporting, however, you might only be expected to do this once a month or even once a quarter. This kind of detail will really help you prepare for the role.

This question might help to highlight any useful skills that you might have that will help you with these day-to-day tasks that haven’t already been mentioned. It may also highlight any gaps in your skill set that you’d be able to address before you started the role.

 

What are the next steps in the interview process and when can I expect to hear from you?

This question should be on everyone’s list. It’s really important that you leave the interview knowing what the next steps are. You will demonstrate that you’re keen to move onto the next stage and you’ll know if you have a bit of a wait ahead if there are still a few candidates to interview.

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How to answer ‘Why do you want this job?’

How to answer ‘Why do you want this job?’

The question ‘Why do you want this job?’ is at the centre of any job interview. An interviewer will be trying to ascertain whether or not you are a good fit for the role which will involve working out what your motivations are.

Recruiting can be an expensive process so your interviewer will want to get it right. Candidates who are just trying to secure any job possible will quickly become obvious and won’t be viewed as a good prospect for a long-term hire. Those candidates who demonstrate genuine enthusiasm for the role and the wider industry, and can explain how this role fits into their long-term career plan are much more likely to impress.

While preparing for interview questions, working out an answer to this question in particular is the ideal starting point. Having a clear sense of why you want the job in your own mind will lay the foundations for the rest of your answers. It will also make it much easier to articulate why you want the job to others. So, even if your interviewer doesn’t ask ‘Why do you want this job?’ directly, spending some time preparing an answer will be beneficial to your preparation.

This is also a question overlooked by many candidates, so make sure you take the opportunity to impress your interviewers.

 

What are they looking for?

Your interviewer can find out a lot about you with this simple question. Their main goal will be to gain a sense of the motivation behind your application for the role and how it fits into your long-term career plan. Are you genuinely interested in the role and likely to be in it for the long haul? Or is this just a stopgap until something better comes along?

They will be on the lookout for candidates who are knowledgeable about the company and the wider industry. If you haven’t done any research, it will seem as though you aren’t really interested.

They will also be looking for candidates whose long-term goals align with those of the company. Will a job at the company allow you to progress in the areas that you indicate you are interested in? If not, they may think twice about hiring you as it’s unlikely they’ll be able to keep you for very long.

 

How to answer ‘Why do you want this job?’

Taking the above into account, a good answer to this question will demonstrate three things:

  1. Your enthusiasm for the company and wider industry
  2. That you have the right skills and/or experience for the job
  3. How this fits into your long-term career plan

 

Step 1: Before you can talk fluently about the company, you’ll need to do the research. Start with the company website and see if you can find any information on current projects. A quick Google search will help pick out any recent news stories they’ve been involved in. Take a look at their competitors too – this should give you an idea as to where they sit within the industry.

Use this information to hone in on any news or projects that you’re particularly interested in and that relate to the role.

 

Step 2: Explain how your skills and experience make you the right person for the job and, if possible, in the context of the projects you’ve mentioned in step 1.

It’s useful to refer to the job description while carrying out this step. Try to focus on skills that are central to the role. By focusing on these, you show that you have a real grasp of what the role will entail.

Make sure you remember to frame all your answers in the context of what you can do for the company rather than what they can do for you. Focus on how your skills will add value to the company and its current and future projects – and how excited you are about the prospect.

 

Step 3: A great way to conclude your answer is to emphasize how this is the natural next step for you. This is a good time to hint that you see a long-term future at the company and avoid giving the impression that the role is just getting you ready for something bigger and better somewhere else.

 

Examples

‘This role particularly caught my eye due to the fact that I’ve seen the company cropping up increasingly in industry news. It’s clearly a company on the up and that’s a very exciting prospect. The need to recruit more management staff is therefore understandable. This particular role is the sort of progression that I’ve been looking for from my current role. The team I’d be managing is more specialist and in an area that I have a great deal of experience and interest in.’

Why we like this answer: The candidate clearly demonstrates their interest in the industry by mentioning that they keep up with industry-specific news. They also express enthusiasm for the company and the direction it is heading in. Their own desire for career progression matches up with the needs of the company.

 

‘I am particularly excited by the work that you’re doing to make your engines more efficient. I have always been passionate about the environment so this project is particularly inspiring for me. I have been looking for an opportunity where I can expand on the work I did in my previous role. Your more ambitious targets would certainly allow me to do that.’

Why we like this answer: This candidate has made sure that they have identified a company goal relevant to their experience and the role they applied for. The role itself seems to be a natural progression from their previous job and they appear to be very driven.

 

What not to say

  • Be careful not to give the impression that you’re just looking for any job you can get. If you tell them that you just need employment from somewhere and it doesn’t really matter what the job is, they will have doubts about your commitment.
  • The same applies for telling your interviewer that you need the money. Of course, money is important, however, focus on the role rather than the salary in your interview.
  • Don’t focus your answer on what the company can do for you, make sure all your answers focus on the value you add for them.

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How to answer ‘Why are you leaving your current job?’

How to answer ‘Why are you leaving your current job?’

In any interview, your interviewer is going to want to know why you want the role, which usually involves finding out why you are leaving your current job. This is a relevant question if you are currently employed or if you left your previous role some time ago. In this case, they might ask ‘why did you leave your last job?’ Be especially prepared for this question if there are large gaps in your employment history or if you were in a role for a short period (usually less than a year).

How you answer this question will obviously depend on your personal situation and in some cases, it will be more difficult to answer than in others. For example, if you had a fixed-term contract or your previous role was an internship, this question will be quite straightforward to answer. However, if you are thinking about moving jobs because you don’t get along with your current boss, for example, the question immediately becomes more complicated. This question becomes even more difficult if you were asked to leave your last job. Don’t panic – there is a way to answer this question whatever your circumstances.

There are two golden rules for answering this question. The first is that your answer should be focused on positives and how the move helps you move forward in your career. The second is that you should always avoid speaking negatively about your current (or previous) employer. This will trigger alarm bells for your interviewer about your suitability as an employee.

 

Why do interviewers ask ‘why are you leaving your current job?’

On the list of old and overused interview questions, ‘why are you leaving your current job’ is perhaps the least irritating. The answer they are looking for is straightforward and they aren’t trying to trick you in any way. Your answer to this question is highly relevant and important to any potential employer for a number of reasons.

Interviewers want to know if you are leaving your current role voluntarily or if you have been asked to leave. If you were asked to leave, they will want to work out if it was because of your performance in the role.

They will want to know if you are still on good terms with your current or previous employer as this will indicate whether or not you are good at managing relationships. It is also a good indication as to whether you are the type of worker that employers like to work with.

They will want to know if you are leaving your current role for a good reason, such as career progression, or on a whim. This will give them an insight into your personality and will make it clear if you are a hardworking and loyal employee or if they might have issues retaining you for a longer period.

 

How to answer ‘why are you leaving your current job?’

The ideal answer to this question is that you have learned everything you can from your current role and that this fantastic opportunity is the clear next step in your career. You are excited about the role, about what you would be able to offer in the role, and about the direction the company is headed. The move is clearly in line with your long-term career goals. If this is your honest answer then job done – your interviewer will be thrilled to hear it.

Unfortunately, the reality is often a bit more complicated than this. If you are looking to move jobs for a reason such as you don’t get on with your current team, you will need to be a little tactful with your answer. This is the moment to drop in a little reminder that you should never lie in a job interview. Instead, make sure that you highlight the positives rather than the negatives. Rather than saying that you don’t like the team, you could mention some of the things you’ve learned from the role in a challenging environment. You could then mention how exciting you feel the team structure is at the interviewer’s company and how well suited you are for it. This helps them see that you are focused on positive progression rather than just trying to escape a negative situation.

There are some situations in which you will not be able to avoid mentioning negative circumstances. Perhaps your department is being moved or closed. Perhaps the company is struggling financially and has no choice but to let you go. In this case, keep your explanation brief, there is no need to go into too much detail. Instead, focus again on the positive experiences you had at the company and why the open position is so attractive to you in light of this.

If you have been let go for a more delicate reason, it is important that you show the interviewer that it was an isolated situation that won’t be repeated. Remain positive and focus on the opportunities ahead.

 

How not to answer

One of the worst things you can do is to bad-mouth your current boss in front of a potential employer. This raises all sorts of issues, such as concerns about your loyalty and professionalism. Even if you do have a terrible boss, it is far better to side-step the issue and focus on matters such as career progression instead.

Don’t tell them that you hate your current job. Again, even if it’s true, show what you’ve learned from your experiences and how this new position will allow you to reach your potential.

 

Examples

‘I have been in my current role for two years now and at the company for five. I have had a great experience at X and have especially enjoyed the responsibility I’ve been given over the last year in particular. I’m looking for a new role now as I feel that X has offered me all it can in terms of career progression. This role is particularly exciting to me as it will allow me to develop the managerial skills I have been developing over the last year and really reach my potential as a manager.’

Why we like this answer: This candidate is clearly focussed on career progression and it seems that they have outgrown their current role. The answer is concise, enthusiastic, and portrays them as a proactive candidate.

 

‘As you can see, I have been in my current role for nearly a year. I have learned a lot from this experience and it has really developed my interest in X. This is something I wish to pursue in my career and as your company has such a focus on X, this role was an opportunity I could not pass up.’

Why we like this answer: Even though the candidate hasn’t been in their current role for very long, they have phrased their answer in such a way that doesn’t make this a negative point. They might have been unhappy in the role, but they have framed wanting to move as a decision that will allow them to progress their career.

 

 

More interview advice:

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How to answer ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’

How to answer ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’

‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ is one of the most common, yet one of the most frustrating, questions you can expect to be asked in a job interview. Rarely will someone be able to predict exactly where they’ll be in five years time and it can feel like your interviewer is trying to trick you. You might also find that your completely honest answer is something that you’d never want to say to a hiring manager, such as ‘at a different company’ or ‘working in a different industry’. Whatever you do, don’t tell them that in five years time you see yourself in their job, even if that’s the truth. They are unlikely to find this sort of response impressive or even amusing.

It’s important to understand that your interviewer is not asking you to accurately predict where you’ll be in five years. Instead, they are interested in finding out what your current goals for the future are. It is also useful to note that this question is more common in interviews for entry-level positions or if the candidate has a history of changing jobs frequently.

So what is the right way to go about tackling this question? The good news is that there is an easy formula to follow which will make sure that this question won’t sabotage your chances of securing the job. This article will help you understand exactly why interviewers ask this question, how to prepare your answer, and what to avoid saying. We’ve also included a few examples to get you started.

 

Why do interviewers ask ‘where do you see yourself in five years?’

While many interview candidates consider this question to be out of date or even a lazy question for interviewers to ask, there are several very good reasons it still gets asked regularly. It is important to remember that a hiring manager’s ultimate goal is to find the best fit for the role available. If their company is going to invest time and money training new employees, it is important that they get it right. It’s no good for them if they hire someone who only plans to be around for six months. As a hiring manager, their success will be measured by how good an employee you turn out to be.

To make sure that you are the right fit for the job, they need to find out if your career goals and aspirations align with those of the company. If your goal is really to start your own company or eventually pursue further education, they will know straight away that this role is not your priority and you are unlikely to hang around for long.

However, if you seem genuinely excited about the role, it fits in with your long-term career plan, and you seem proactive about following that plan, they will be much more likely to think that you will perform well in the job.

The answer you give will also give your interviewer an insight into how your mind works. Are your thoughts organised and can you provide a coherent and logical answer? Or do you blurt out the first thing that you think of even if it doesn’t relate to the role?

They will be particularly motivated to ask this question if your previous jobs have been in a different area and you are about to embark on a career change. They will want to know that you are committed to this new path. Equally, recent graduates should expect this question, as should those whose work experience or qualifications are in a different area to the job they are interviewing for.

 

How to answer

With most interview questions, you will need to make sure that your answers are specific and detailed in order to demonstrate your enthusiasm and interest in the role. This is the one question where you will want to keep your answer very general, especially when it comes to exactly which position you’d like to be in by then. It is sometimes better to focus on the skills that you’d like to have developed by then. The following tips will keep you on the right track:

  • Keep your answer broad: Make sure that you don’t trap yourself by laying out a very specific career path, especially if that might not directly align with what the hiring manager might have in mind.
  • Be realistic: While it is important to show that you are ambitious, you must be careful that you don’t appear unrealistic. Claiming that you see yourself as the CEO in five years time is unlikely to get you very far with your interviewer, even if you are just joking.
  • Align your goals: Make sure that you have done the leg-work and have researched the long-term goals of the company. Ensure that the personal goals you share with your interviewer compliment these. They need to know that you are looking to progress and grow with the company.
  • Demonstrate your enthusiasm: It is essential that you express your excitement and interest in the current roles as well as the opportunities it could offer you in the future.

If you are prepared, your answer has the potential to demonstrate your strengths, a positive attitude, personal motivation, and that you are worth investing in. We suggest that you start preparing your answer by cross-referencing your career goals with the ambitions and values of the company. You will usually be able to find this sort of information on the company website. This might even include the kind of training that they offer their staff. Think about how this could relate to the role you are applying for and your personal goals. A good way to structure your answer is to start by expressing why the current role is perfect for you right now and how it will help to develop your skills so that you can progress in the future. Make sure that this progress is in a direction that will benefit the company.

 

How not to answer

Don’t try to predict the future: Remember that they aren’t expecting you to look into a crystal ball and offer a completely accurate answer. They want to know where you would like to be in five years time from your current perspective.

Don’t say something unrelated to the role: If you tell them that you think you’ll be working in a different industry, they are unlikely to believe that you are actually interested in the current role.

Don’t give multiple options: Make sure that you don’t say you’d like to be the manager of a particular team and then contradict this by saying that you might be working for a different company or that you’d like to be self-employed by then. This makes it seem as though you haven’t really thought about the future and that you’re indecisive.

Don’t make jokes: As this is such a common question and has been around for a while, the hiring manager will have heard it all before and is unlikely to be amused. Take the question seriously.

Don’t avoid the question or say that you don’t know: You will seem unprepared or even unambitious.

 

Examples

‘I was really excited when I saw the job description for this role because I could see straight away that this will help me develop my mechanical knowledge of Boeing 767s. In five years time I want to be seen as an expert in this area and as your company has recently expanded its fleet of 767s, I will have the opportunity to do this. I was also very interested in your training opportunities for employees in areas of management. This would allow me to develop my business skills alongside my technical knowledge of the industry and help me reach my goal of managing a team in the future. I have been inspired by some of the managers I have had in the past, so I am very excited about the prospect of becoming one myself.’

Why we like this answer: This candidate has aligned their goals with the direction that the company is heading in which signals to the interviewer that they are genuinely interested in the role and are looking to stay with the company for an extended period of time. The comment about management training is also a positive sign that this candidate is looking to progress through the business without being too specific.

 

‘As I’m at the start of my career, my goal is to find a company that will allow me to develop my skills and offer me new responsibilities as I progress. In five years time, I expect that some of these responsibilities might involve managing others which is the direction in which I’d like my career to develop. That’s why I was particularly excited to see the training that you offer your staff on the company website as the business training you offer will help me achieve this.’  

Why we like this answer: This answer clearly indicates to the interviewer that the candidate is looking for a long-term role where they can develop their skills. There is also a clear indication here that they are thinking about the future and working out what steps they should be taking in order to progress. The mention of the internal training makes it clear that they would like to develop their career within this business.

 

More interview advice:

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How to answer: ‘What is your greatest strength?’

How to answer: ‘What is your greatest strength?’

‘What is your greatest strength?’ is a common interview question, often accompanied by ‘What is your greatest weakness?’ On the surface, talking about your strengths might sound easier than talking about your weaknesses, however, it is just as important and requires some careful preparation. It is very easy to get wrong and come across as too arrogant or even too modest. If you don’t come prepared you could also fall into the trap of listing the first things that come to mind which might not even be relevant to the role.

So how do you come up with the perfect answer for your interview? If you are prepared to put in a little effort, these tips will help you plan a brilliant answer for any interview. Before you get started, it is useful to know what recruiters are trying to find out when they ask ‘What is your greatest strength?’

 

Why do interviewers ask ‘What is your greatest strength?’

The aim of the interview is to find out whether or not you are the right person for the job. This involves working out if you have the necessary skills, if you are dedicated to your career, and if you’ll fit in with the rest of the team. Your answer should definitely help your interviewer decide if you have the necessary skills – if you don’t tell them you have the necessary skills, no one will. It can also tell them a little about your personality which will help them work out your levels of commitment and if you’re a fit for the team.

As with many interview questions, this question is just as much about how you answer as what you answer. Revealing what you think are your greatest strengths can reveal a lot about your personality. Are you confident in your own abilities? Or do you seem unsure that you are capable of doing the job? 

It is also worth noting that as ‘What is your greatest strength?’ is such a common interview question, your interviewer will expect you to have prepared.

 

How to answer ‘What is your greatest strength?’

The best answer to this question will be in two parts and will include your strength and some examples of how you have demonstrated this skill in the past. The strength you choose must be related to the job you’re applying for.

The easiest way to find a strength that will help show your interviewer that you have the skills for the job is to match your strengths with the job description. First, make a list of all the skills in the job description, then cross-examine this list with a list of your own strengths. Hopefully, you will find that a number of these are on both lists. Pick the three strengths that are most important for the role.

The next stage is to match these skills up with some examples. We suggest that you come up with two examples for each.

If you are struggling, it might help to ask a friend or colleague what they feel your greatest strengths are. They have a different perspective on your abilities and might come up with some ideas that you haven’t thought of. Ask them if they can think of a time when you demonstrated a particular strength. Again, their suggestions might surprise you.

You will only need to answer the question with one strength and one example. It is useful to have some spare strengths and examples up your sleeve in case the question asks for plural ‘strengths’, or in case they ask you to develop your answer.

Now you have your strengths and examples prepared, the next stage is to practice. We always recommend that candidates don’t script and learn answers word-for-word as this can sound a little unnatural. It can also throw you off if the question is phrased slightly differently. It is better to prepare bullet points and work from these. This allows for some flexibility and your answer will sound much more natural.

 

How not to answer

Many people find job interviews particularly difficult because they feel uncomfortable about the element of blowing their own trumpet. This is one of the questions that can be most difficult for such interviewees. It is very easy to be too modest in this scenario. If this sounds like you, it might be useful to simply state your strengths and examples as facts. If you have chosen your strength well and have an appropriate example, this will be more than enough for the interviewer.   

The opposite, being too arrogant, is also a common mistake. You won’t win any points for bragging about your strengths.

Not being able to back up your strengths with examples is another common pitfall. This immediately weakens your answer and your interviewer may not believe what you’ve said.

 

Example

An applicant for an airline customer service agent role:

I would say that my greatest strength is my ability to communicate with others. I’ve always enjoyed working with people as I have found that it adds a lot of diversity to my working day. While I have worked with customers over the phone and via email, I have always enjoyed speaking to customers in person the most. In my previous role, I won the customer service award last year for the way that I handled several customer complaints. I managed to resolve the issues and even secured more business from those customers.

Why we like this answer: This customer service agent role will require the candidate to spend a lot of time with customers, checking them in for flights, answering questions, and dealing with complaints. Communication skills are therefore an ideal strength for the candidate to target with their answer. The answer contains personal details which make it sound genuine and mentioning the award gives weight to it. The candidate will need to be prepared for a potential follow up question on exactly how they resolved the customer complaints.

 

More interview advice

Inside the life of a female commercial Captain

We recently caught up with Aer Lingus Captain, Elaine Egan, to talk about being in an elite club of female captains, what she loves about her job, and the topic of much discussion, what she thinks about Brexit.   Firstly, you’ve been a pilot for over 30 years now (10...

Toby Richardson: What to Expect From Your First Solo Flight

Your first solo flight. It’s a hot topic among new student pilots. I found myself being quizzed by a few of the newer students when I was doing my training and thought it might be worth writing about the experience. A first solo flight can seem...

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