What Is Your Greatest Strength - Perfect Answers for 2024

14 June
13 min read
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You’re in the middle of the job interview, and it’s going great.

The interviewer asks, “What is your greatest strength?” and you’re ready.

You answer, “It’s time management!” and wait for the interviewer to move on to the next question.

But they don’t. They just keep sitting there, as if expecting more from your answer.

You freeze. What did you do wrong? After all, you answered the question, didn’t you?

There’s a lot more to this simple interview question than it seems.

Thankfully, we’re here to help.

In this guide, we’re going to cover:

  • Why Do Interviewers Ask This Question?
  • How to Answer “What Is Your Greatest Strength?”
  • 170 Examples of Strengths for Different Professions

…and more!

Read on to find out.

Why Do Interviewers Ask This Question?

Before you can dive into answering this interview question, you need to understand why interviewers ask it in the first place.

“What is your greatest strength?” gives interviewers insight into who you are as a candidate. 

This question lets them:

  • Check your self-awareness. Your answers will show the interviewer whether you can identify your own strengths and back them up. Self-awareness is crucial for both personal and professional growth, so employers value it as a quality.
  • Assess how prepared you are. How you respond can show whether you took the opportunity seriously and took practicing for the most common interview questions seriously.
  • Evaluate if you’re right for the job. Your greatest strength tells them if you fit the requirements of the job and how good of a match you would be for the role.

As you can see, this is one of the most important job interview questions.

But it’s also a question that gives you the opportunity to highlight your skills and personality, so it’s your chance to really ace your job interview.

How to Never Answer “What Is Your Greatest Strength?”

There are certain mistakes you should avoid when answering this interview question.

Here’s what you should never do when talking about your greatest strength:

  • Say something obvious. Saying things like "I'm a hard worker" or "I'm detail-oriented" comes across as disingenuous and unimaginative. The interviewer is going to expect a better answer than that.
  • Be too humble. Don’t downplay your strengths out of modesty. That’s going to make you seem either insecure or ignorant about your own qualities.
  • Skip the examples. Simply naming a strength without backing it up with concrete data isn’t a good answer. Be ready to give specific examples or talk about achievements to convince the interviewer you’re being honest.
  • Go off-topic. Don't get sidetracked by going into excessive detail. Your answer should be clear, concise, and focused on explaining your greatest strength, not your life story.

Check out what some of the biggest interview mistakes are in our dedicated article.

5 Tips to Answer “What Is Your Greatest Strength?”

Now that we got the “why-s” out of the way, let’s talk about some practical tips you can take advantage of when discussing your strengths:

#1. Stay Relevant

You should mention strengths that are relevant to the job you’re applying to.

Before your interview, research the company. Find out what their values are and think of strengths that reflect them. If the company values independent work, your self-discipline or time management skills could be a great strength.

Be sure to also read the job description so you can tailor your answer to the specific role you’re applying for. Highlight your most relevant strengths to show the interviewer that you’re the right person for the job.

For example, if you’re applying for a job as a server, some of your strengths could be having a good memory so you can memorize orders or being friendly and welcoming to guests.

Don’t bother talking about strengths that aren’t relevant to the job. You want the interviewer to know you’re perfect for the job you applied for, not how cool you are outside of work.

#2. Back-Up Your Claims

If you want to really make an impression during your job interview, back up everything you say with examples.

Don't just say you’re a great problem solver and leave it at that. When it comes to job interviews, the rule of thumb is “show, don’t tell.”

So, instead of saying, “I’m a great leader,” back it up with an impressive achievement. For example, “I’d say my strength is being a team leader. In my previous role, I led a team of five that increased company sales by 20% in seven months.” 

Once you give a real-life example, the interviewer can actually picture you putting that strength into action and how you can do the same at their company.

#3. Show Humility

Talking about your greatest strength is your chance to market yourself during your job interview.

But you don’t want to overdo it. If you’re too confident, it might come across as arrogant and rub interviewers the wrong way.

You want to sell your key strengths but stay grounded and humble at the same time. Don’t make grandiose statements or act like you’re the best candidate they’ll ever have.

Your communication skills can help you here. Try to be objective when talking about your strengths, and stick to the facts without bragging. Acknowledge that while you’re good, you still have room for growth and the willingness to learn more.

Talking about your strengths is close to an elevator pitch. Our article on how to make an impactful elevator pitch can help you perfect your answer.

#4. Be Authentic

When you're on the spot answering "What is your greatest strength?" it can be tempting to exaggerate a bit.

But make no mistake - your answer here should always be perfectly honest.

Don’t exaggerate or embellish your strengths, and, most importantly, do not lie about them.

Embellishing or straight-up lying about your strengths is never a good idea. For one, interviewers can usually tell when a candidate isn’t being honest, and when they catch you in a lie, your whole interview goes down the drain.

More importantly, even if you do get the job by exaggerating, it's going to come back to bite you. Sooner or later, your employer will find out you’re not as good as you made yourself out to be, and that’s not a situation that you want to be in.

#5. Relate It to the Company

When discussing your greatest strength, don't just mention it and move on. Explain how that particular strength can provide value to the employer.

The interviewer doesn't just want to hear how cool you are; they need to know if you have important skills and can contribute to their company’s success.

So, make sure to tie your strengths directly to the company’s goals. For example, if your greatest strength is creativity, you could say something like: “Creativity is one of my biggest strengths, and I think it will help me create more successful and engaging advertising campaigns for your products.”

This way, you can connect the dots for the interviewer, show them that you’ve done your research, and visualize how you'd bring them the results they want.

7 Tips for Identifying Your Greatest Strength

Now that you know the basics about answering this tricky interview question, there’s only one thing left - identifying your strengths before the job interview.

Let’s go through some tips you can use to find them.

#1. Make a List of Your Skills

The first step to identifying your greatest strength is to assess your skills.

Make a list of all the skills and qualities that make you a great candidate for the job. Things like communication, problem-solving, attention to detail, and so on.

Don’t skip anything - write down every skill you can think of, both technical skills for your field and broader soft skills.

But don’t just list the obvious ones either. Think about some of your more nuanced or underrated skills. For example, skills like emotional intelligence, adaptability, or fostering inclusivity might not immediately come to mind, but they’re worth writing down.

Once you have your complete list of skills, you can use it to find the greatest strengths that truly set you apart.

#2. Think About Your Accomplishments

One of the best ways to find your greatest strengths is to reflect on your greatest accomplishments and professional achievements.

What skills and qualities led to those impressive results? What helped you achieve your greatest successes is likely among your greatest strengths.

Make a list of your proudest achievements from previous roles. Things like winning a major new client, implementing a new efficient process, leading a critical project, or solving a complex problem, are all examples of professional achievements.

Then, break down the strengths that were instrumental to reaching those goals. Maybe it was your strategic thinking, your ability to master new hard skills quickly, or your leadership skills.

But don't just consider obvious strengths - look for qualities that helped you go above and beyond.

Once you pick out your greatest achievements, you’ll be able to pinpoint your greatest strengths.

#3. Ask for Outside Perspectives

While self-reflection is important for identifying your strengths, it's also valuable to get an outside opinion.

Ask people who have seen you in action. Coworkers, managers, mentors, or friends can share what they see as your greatest strengths.

A different perspective can give you insights into what you might miss or take for granted about yourself. People who work closely with you are likely to notice strengths that you wouldn’t immediately think of.

For example, your manager might point out your organizational skills, or a teammate could be impressed with your ability to work under pressure.

Just make sure the people you ask know you want genuine feedback, not flattery. Ask them to provide specific examples to explain why they think those are your strengths.

Once you have input from others, you can get a more comprehensive understanding of yourself and what your greatest strengths are. From there, you’re well on your way to conveying them to future employers.

#4. Assess Your Personality

Looking at the results from personality tests or assessments you've taken can help you identify your greatest strengths.

Things like the Myers-Briggs or DiSC personality types are designed to reveal your core personality traits and approaches to different situations. Not to mention that your personality is directly linked to the career path you should put yourself on.

So, look at your personality and see what it says about you. For example, if you’re introverted, you might be better at working independently instead of relying on your teamwork skills.

Once you have your results, we recommend you read into them in detail. Don't just skim the surface-level descriptions.

The more you learn about your personality profile, the easier it’ll be to find your standout strengths and weaknesses that you might need to foster or work on.

#5. Think About What Motivates You

Pay attention to the types of work activities and environments that really energize you. Ask yourself: “What do you naturally gravitate towards?”

Maybe you thrive when you have to analyze data, or you prefer working as part of a close-knit team. Either way, that could give you a hint about where your strengths are.

Think about the last time you were so absorbed in what you were doing at work that you didn’t notice the time fly. That sort of flow state is a clear sign that you have tapped into your core strengths.

Naturally, people love doing things they’re good at. So, once you find what you love doing at work, you’ll be that much closer to finding your greatest strengths.

  • “My greatest strength is my passion for continuous learning. For example, whenever new software is released, I am always the first to test and get familiar with it. I enjoy exploring and learning every aspect of the software, as I believe it's essential to stay ahead in this ever-evolving industry. I believe this position would provide me with the opportunity to apply my eagerness to learn and use it as an asset to help Company X adapt to new tech.” 

#6. Match Your Strengths to the Job

Once you’ve got your strengths figured out, it’s time to narrow them down.

You don’t want to go to your job interview and talk about strengths that won’t actually help you do that job.

For example, if you’re great at working under pressure, that might be perfect for a busy restaurant, but when you’re applying for a sales position at an art gallery, your stress management isn’t going to be that impressive.

Start by reading the job ad carefully. Find the keywords and requirements for the role, then think about what strengths you have that match them.

For example, if the job involves leading cross-functional project teams, your strengths might be in areas like communication, organization, and conflict resolution.

#7. Find What Makes You Stand Out

When you want to identify your greatest strength, you don't want to go with something obvious that anyone can have.

Think about the specific skills, talents, and qualities that really make you different and set you apart from the crowd.

Maybe you’re fluent in several languages, or you’re great at simplifying complicated information.

You have to find that distinctive blend of strengths that shows who you are and how you work. Look back on your work experience and think about the qualities that set you apart from others you worked with.

For example, maybe you always kept your workspace more organized, or you were always ahead of your deadlines.

Whatever your specific strengths are, be ready to talk about them and the results they’ve helped you achieve throughout your career.

what are your strengths

“What Is Your Greatest Strength?” Sample Answers

Looking for more inspiration on how to talk about your strengths? Check out these 6 sample answers for different professions and levels of experience.

#1. High School Student

“I’m very communicative, and I get along well with people.

I’ve developed strong communication skills through school projects and different extracurricular activities. I’m good at building rapport and engaging with others, whether it's classmates or teachers.

I’m also good at performing under pressure. During exam periods, I often have to manage multiple assignments and activities at the same time. It can get pretty hectic, but I enjoy the challenge and always manage to stay on top of things.”

Read a full high school resume example here.

#2. College Applicant

“I would say that it’s my time-management skill by far. 

During my senior year, I managed to maintain a 3.7 GPA while at the same time doing a ton of different extracurricular activities. Specifically, I’ve volunteered, been part of the student council, and am part of the managing team of the business club.

I’m a huge fan of scheduling pretty much everything I do. I need to know what I’m doing, when, and how long it’s going to take me. This way, I’ve never missed a deadline, an assignment, or any other responsibility.

On the other hand, you could also say that that’s my weakness, haha. If the organization or team is unorganized, I’m not going to be too happy working with them.”

Read a full college applicant resume example here.

#3. College Student

“My greatest strength is problem-solving. In college, I’ve tackled a lot of challenges through my courses and projects.

For instance, in my engineering class, I led a team to design a water filtration system. We ran into several technical problems, but by breaking them down and brainstorming solutions together, we finished the project ahead of schedule.

Also, balancing my studies with a part-time job has really improved my time management. I’ve learned how to prioritize tasks and meet deadlines efficiently. I think these problem-solving and organizational skills would be really useful in this role.”

Read a full college freshman resume example here.

#4. Recent Graduate

“I work pretty well under pressure. When I was studying at University X, I had several situations where I had to come up with a solution to some problem or another within a very limited time frame.

During a class on Databases, we had to come up with a relational database for a fake business. Our team leader turned out to be extremely unorganized - he organized a single meeting, gave us some vague tasks, and we never heard from him again. 

I already had some experience working with databases, so I did my part in advance and started waiting for the rest of the team. I was in charge of doing the design, and the team was supposed to translate the schema into an actual database. 

Around a week before the deadline, I saw that no one was doing anything, so I organized a sync meeting. 

It turned out the rest of the team didn’t do anything, and the team lead was out of town. So, I had to take charge of the team and make sure we had the project ready by the deadline. I personally helped each of my teammates do their part and also organized two more sync meetings to make sure we did everything right.

Eventually, we ended up submitting the project on time and getting an A.”

Read a full recent graduate resume example here.

#5. Mid-Level Professional

“One of my greatest strengths is probably my attention to detail. Even small mistakes can lead to big problems down the line when you work in construction, so I take everything seriously.

For example, on a recent project, we were building a residential complex. I noticed that the measurements on the blueprints didn't align correctly with the foundation layout. If we had continued, it would have caused significant structural issues before the project was even finished. I brought this up with the project manager, and we double-checked everything. It turned out that there were several other small errors that needed to be fixed.

Thankfully, we caught the mistakes early, so we avoided expensive reworking and kept the project on schedule.”

Read a full construction project manager resume example here.

#6. Experienced Professional

“I’m a very good writer.

My last two jobs were 99% copywriting. So far, I’ve done pretty much everything writing-related: email marketing, website copy, blog posts, and I’ve even ghost-written an e-book for a client.

I’ve also guest-posted on several popular blogs, such as Blog X and Blog Y.”

Read a full writer resume here.

170 Examples of Strengths for Every Field

Looking for examples of strengths you can mention during your job interview? We’ve got you covered.

Check out these great strengths for every field out there:

#1. Retail and Sales

  1. Customer Service Skills
  2. Communication
  3. Adaptability
  4. Product Knowledge
  5. Attention to Detail
  6. Teamwork
  7. Problem-Solving
  8. Sales Skills
  9. Time Management
  10. Relationship Building

Read a full sales associate resume example here.

#2. Customer Service

  1. Empathy
  2. Patience
  3. Communication
  4. Positive Attitude
  5. Problem-Solving
  6. Adaptability
  7. Active Listening
  8. Persuasiveness
  9. Charisma
  10. Stress Management

Read a full customer service resume example here.

#3. Hospitality

  1. Customer Service Skills
  2. Flexibility
  3. Multitasking
  4. Cultural Awareness
  5. Attention to Detail
  6. Communication
  7. Positive Attitude
  8. Teamwork
  9. Problem-Solving
  10. Stress Management

Read a full receptionist resume example here.

#4. Food and Beverage

  1. Customer Service Skills
  2. Teamwork
  3. Hygiene and Safety Awareness
  4. Efficiency
  5. Attention to Detail
  6. Physical Stamina
  7. Communication
  8. Creativity
  9. Problem-Solving
  10. Time Management

Read a full waiter resume example here.

#5. Marketing and Advertising

  1. Creativity
  2. Communication
  3. Analytical Skills
  4. Adaptability
  5. Strategic Thinking
  6. Teamwork
  7. Digital Literacy
  8. Persuasiveness
  9. Attention to Detail
  10. Initiative

Read a full digital marketing resume here.

#6. Administrative and HR

  1. Organizational Skills
  2. Communication
  3. Discretion
  4. Multitasking
  5. Problem-Solving
  6. Teamwork
  7. Time Management
  8. Adaptability
  9. Technological Proficiency
  10. Interpersonal Skills

Read a full administrative assistant resume example here.

#7. Business

  1. Strategic Thinking
  2. Leadership
  3. Communication
  4. Financial Acumen
  5. Negotiation Skills
  6. Analytical Skills
  7. Problem-Solving
  8. Decision-Making
  9. Adaptability
  10. Initiative

Read a full business analyst resume example here.

#8. Finance

  1. Analytical Skills
  2. Attention to Detail
  3. Problem-Solving
  4. Communication
  5. Mathematics
  6. Ethical Judgment
  7. Technological Proficiency
  8. Strategic Thinking
  9. Risk Management
  10. Decision-Making

Read a full accountant resume example here.

#9. IT and Software Development

  1. Critical Thinking
  2. Analytical Thinking
  3. Problem-Solving
  4. Attention to Detail
  5. Logical
  6. Technical Proficiency
  7. Creativity
  8. Teamwork
  9. Adaptability
  10. Time Management

Read a full software engineer resume example here.

#10. Nursing and Healthcare

  1. Empathy
  2. Communication
  3. Attention to Detail
  4. Stress Management
  5. Physical Stamina
  6. Problem-Solving
  7. Teamwork
  8. Adaptability
  9. Compassion
  10. Technical Proficiency

Read a full nurse resume example here.

#11. Art and Design

  1. Creativity
  2. Originality
  3. Open-mindedness
  4. Attention to Detail
  5. Curiosity
  6. Flexibility
  7. Versatility
  8. Color Theory
  9. Project Management
  10. Conceptual Thinking

Read a full graphic designer resume example here.

#12. Writing and Editing

  1. Creativity
  2. Attention to Detail
  3. Grammar
  4. Adaptability
  5. Research Skills
  6. Time Management
  7. Persuasiveness
  8. Technical Proficiency
  9. Critical Thinking
  10. Communication

Read a full editor resume example here.

#13. Journalism

  1. Research Skills
  2. Objectivity
  3. Communication
  4. Adaptability
  5. Critical Thinking
  6. Attention to Detail
  7. Persistence
  8. Digital Literacy
  9. Creativity
  10. Stress Management

#14. Education

  1. Communication
  2. Patience
  3. Creativity
  4. Adaptability
  5. Empathy
  6. Organizational Skills
  7. Passion
  8. Leadership
  9. Problem-Solving
  10. Teamwork

Read a full teacher resume example here.

#15. Science

  1. Analytical Skills
  2. Critical Thinking
  3. Technical Proficiency
  4. Creativity
  5. Attention to Detail
  6. Communication
  7. Problem-Solving
  8. Persistence
  9. Teamwork
  10. Innovation

Read a full research assistant resume example here.

#16. Social Work

  1. Empathy
  2. Communication
  3. Conflict Resolution
  4. Problem-Solving
  5. Resilience
  6. Cultural Awareness
  7. Adaptability
  8. Advocacy Skills
  9. Organizational Skills
  10. Listening Skills

Read a full social worker resume example here.

#17. Management

  1. Leadership
  2. Organization
  3. Communication skills
  4. Persuasion
  5. Teamwork
  6. Detail-oriented
  7. Diplomatic
  8. Responsible
  9. Motivation
  10. Strategic Planning

Read a full project manager resume example here.

To recap, here are the list of strengths based on the type of job you’re applying for:

top strengths

Key Takeaways

And that’s a wrap!

Before we say “bye!” let’s quickly go through everything we’ve learned in this article:

  • Talking about your strengths is your opportunity to sell yourself to the interviewer, so make sure you prepare in advance.
  • Identify your greatest strengths before your interview. For each position you’re applying for, think of your top two to three strengths that are going to help you excel.
  • When answering, mention what your top strengths are, provide examples of how you’ve used them in the past, and describe the results you’ve gotten.
  • Be super specific with your answers. Don’t just say you’re good at something - really dive deep and give the interviewer a comprehensive answer.