During interview preparation, you may think the question that will stump you is, “What are some of your weaknesses?” However, while you’re focusing on that, you could be leaving yourself unprepared for another classic interview query. “What are your strengths?” a potential employer may inquire. You probably can list a few of your best qualities on the fly, but are they the ones needed to land a design job? Sure, the answer you initially go with is probably fine. However, knowing the right things to say and proper interview preparation could very separate the applicants from the hires in the mind of the interviewer.
Prepare for creative job interviews
If you aren’t sure what your strengths are, that’s the first place to begin your research. Ask your friends and coworkers what they think you have to offer a work environment. Even better, contact former bosses or managers about the strengths they saw in you and review feedback you’ve received in other jobs. Biginterview.com recommended looking at your resume as if it belonged to someone else to determine what stands out as a common strength throughout your education and employment history.
When you’re researching the company and position you’re interviewing for, you may find there is a strength that fits well with the culture or role. Don’t lie or embellish to make the connection between your skills and their desires, though. Consider if the job involves customer service, long hours, multitasking or the like and work from there. Make a list of at least 10 qualities with a few phrases that explain why you think that is true. Don’t use a mental filter, just let the ideas hit the page.
Some common strengths described by Work Coach Cafe are:
- Taking initiative
- Hitting deadlines
- Conflict resolution
- The ability to see the big picture
- Detail oriented
- A team player
- Follow-through or commitment
- Problem solving
- Client communication
Give more than buzz words
An answer that lacks substance isn’t going to impress an interviewer. It’s easy to spew out a list of positive employee attributes, so you can assume that’s how many people respond. As described on Mashable, backing up the qualities with anecdotes and evidence are what draws a distinction. Prepare to say no more than three traits with a strong story to prove that it’s a strength of yours. Make sure the anecdote is concise so you aren’t rambling on about a previous responsibility, drawing the interviewer’s attention away from your actual quality.
A question regarding your strengths is also an opportunity for you to add any information that you haven’t been asked about. This can be something you’re particularly proud of or a unique skill that gives you a leg up on the competition. It’s an open-ended question all about yourself so you can swing the conversation in the direction you wish.
Have the right attitude
It’s important to find the balance between confidence and humility when you’re approaching this question. Employers want to see that you believe in yourself and are confident enough to play an integral role in the company. However, coming off as if you’re bragging or into yourself isn’t going to wow them. In the same vein, a humble response gives insight into your personality but you don’t want to appear weak or insecure in your abilities. Work Coach Cafe suggested starting the statement with “I’ve been told” or “I think.” This allows you to bring the confidence level down a bit without sounding like you aren’t sure what you can bring to the table in a creative career.