Strengths questions are a fantastic opportunity for you to tell the employer what you really want them to know about you. You should have at least three key strengths identified before you go to the interview, and plan to have a story or example to tell them about each one. You should select strengths that are the most relevant to the job description. Be strategic and think about what you have that overlaps with what the job needs. Have a look at the Venn diagram shown in Figure G.1, below. Do you see where the two circles overlap? When preparing for an interview, and for traditional questions specifically, you should focus your answers on that overlap between yourself and the job.
Venn Diagram of Skills and Experience Overlap with Requirements of the Job and Company Culture
Definitely mention things that are directly asked for in the job if you have them, but also remember that you might have a strength that was not asked for in the job that might really impress them. Think of the job description as a wish list. If your mom asks you for a list of ideas for your birthday gift, you will write her a list of a few things. If you are smart, you will put your most-wanted item at the top. If your mom, however, ignores your list and buys you something really amazing that you did not know you wanted, like a diamond bracelet, a new video game console, or an autographed photo of Leonard Nimoy, you are going to be pretty happy with her choice! If you have a skill or ability that you think is the “diamond bracelet” for that particular employer’s wish list, then you should definitely mention it during your interview and strength questions are a great place to do that.