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What are your strengths?

"What are your strengths?"

This is a popular interview question.  They want to know what you think of yourself.  Although this is a general question, there is a wrong and right answer.  The wrong answer is a generic answer saying you are organized and friendly.  Although it will not hurt you during the interview, it will certainly not help you either.  Answer this question based on the type of job you are applying for.

Short Answers

"I believe my strongest trait is my attention to detail.  This trait has helped me tremendously in this field of work."

"I've always been a great team player.  I'm good at keeping a team together and producing quality work in a team environment."

"After having worked for a couple of years, I realized my strength is accomplishing a large amount of work within a short period of time.  I get things done on time and my manager always appreciated it."

"My strongest trait is in customer service.  I listen and pay close attention to my customer's needs and I make sure they are more than satisfied."

Long Answers

Let's say I am interviewing for a management position.  You should mention traits that are important for managers.

"A couple strengths I have are planning and execution, and working with people.  I've always been very good at planning and detailing all the steps.  Even in college, I would spend time organizing my week and planning a strategy to tackle each class or assignment.  Executing a plan has always come easy for me as well.  I believe it's due to proper planning.  I also work with people very well in a way where I use the strengths of each individual in a team to produce the best results.  Because of my easy going personality, I've been told by my directs that it's easy to approach me."

If you are applying for an accounting position, you should mention strong traits an accountant should have and claim them to be yours.

"I'm very detail oriented, good at managing time, and very honest.  I always incorporate managing time and being detailed together.  By nature I've been detail oriented, and that resulted in taking too much time on a particular task.  After incorporating time management into the mix, I found that my work and efficiency increased dramatically.  I plan better and produce higher quality work in a time constraint environment.  Finally, I'm a very honest person.  When I was working as a valet attendant during college, a lady gave me a twenty dollar bill to pay for the three dollar fee.  She almost drove off the lot, but I stopped her and said here is your change.  My co-workers said I should have considered the change as tip, but I know what I did was honest and right.  You can fool other people, but you can't fool yourself.  That's what I believe."

The second example can seem a little wordy.  But the power of an example is greater than any great words you can string together.  Everyone can claim they are honest, but with an example, it is much more believable.

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