How to answer interview questions


© The University of Sheffield

Strength-based questions

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A number of employers have introduced ‘strength-based questions’ into interviews. They focus on what you enjoy doing and what you are particularly good at rather than what you can do, so be prepared to be open and honest.

Consider your achievements not just in your studies and at work but also in activities such as sports, interest groups or volunteering. Think about what aspects you enjoy and why you are good at them. This should help you to understand your strengths and prepare you for strength-based questions.

Types of questions that are looking for strengths include:

  • How do you know if you’ve had a good day?
  • Describe something that you learnt recently.
  • What activities come naturally to you?
  • Would you prefer to be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond?
  • Describe your favourite interest outside of your work or studies.
  • What have you done that you are most proud of? Why was it significant?
  • What are your greatest strengths? When do you use them?

In describing your strengths, you may be able to provide evidence of the skills and experience asked for in the job description, such as team work, project work, communication skills or customer service.

For example:

  • You enjoy playing the violin as part of an amateur orchestra.
  • You may feel that you’ve had a good day after completing a difficult project on time.
  • You would describe yourself as a good listener, who is able to communicate with people from different backgrounds and cultures.
  • You are particularly proud of your customer service skills and have gone out of your way to help people recently.

Use the comments below if you can think of other strength-based questions, and how you might answer them.

© The University of Sheffield

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