In fact, most skilled HR managers and interviewers can recognize your strengths and weaknesses without any help from your side. But they may still ask the question, to see whether you are humble, confident, or over-confident, and whether you can actually tell your strengths.
Having said that, some beginners, or interviewers who do not really know what they are doing (we can still find many of them, even in the most prestigious companies) will actually ask you this question to see what your strengths are.
Simple 3-steps process of finding a great answer
- Look at the job description. Try to identify three or four key abilities for the job. For customer service (example) it would be communication skills, sales skills, and understanding for the customer. For process engineer it would be attention to details, responsibility, creativity, and knowledge of their field of engineering.
- Compare the strengths with your own personality. And if you can not say, ask a friend, or someone else who is honest to you, to help you identify your strengths.
- Talk about your strengths that match the one you identified as essential for the job of your choice.
Your interview presence matters
Even if you recognize the right strengths and present them in your answer, you will still have to back it up–with your demeanor. Think about the following sentences for a while:
- If you mention punctuality, you should come on time.
- If your strength is attention to detail, you should present it in all your answers – speaking about details of your personality, experience, etc, details that matter for the employer.
- If you mention communication skills, you should demonstrate them in an interview, talking always to the point.
Talking about a strength and convincing us that you really have it are two very different things. If you are not sure how to convince us, I suggest you to stay humble, say that you still have to work on many things in your career, and simply let us recognize your strengths in the course of an interview (humility can be one of them, and honesty definitely is a strength).