Check out our article where we go through how to answer “What is your greatest strength?”
The job search can get repetitive. After you apply to a good number of companies, you will hopefully start to see results. Most organizations follow the same hiring process:
- Phone screen. This is typically done by a recruiter or HR team member. These are generally brief conversations. But, you should still prepare for your phone interview by researching the company and coming up with questions to ask.
- Technical or take-home challenge. This is generally done via a service like HackerRank for software engineers and data scientists. Here, the hiring manager can assess your technical skills and make sure you are a fit to move forward.
- Onsite interview. For tech companies, this can be as long as a full day. It usually includes many technical and behavioral interviews with various team members, both on the team you are applying for and elsewhere. Many of these cross-disciplinary interviews are behavioral. The best way to ace your behavioral interviews is to prepare properly and practice the types of questions you will see.
Our best advice for behavioral interview preparation is to research the company. This helps you add information about their mission, values, and products into your responses. When you get a good understanding of the company, start writing down some answers to behavioral interview questions from top tech companies. When you prepare, you ensure that you won’t freeze up in an interview.
You probably know some of the questions that will come up. We compiled a list of 3 of the most popular interview questions. Review our outlines of the best ways to answer each one. But, we wanted to draw your attention to 2 very common behavioral interview questions that you will likely see: “What is your greatest weakness?” (answers outlined in the article that is linked) and “What is your greatest strength?”
These questions come up a lot because interviewers are looking to gauge your emotional intelligence. You might think that it is easy to talk about your strengths because your goal is to impress the interviewer. But, that is often the candidate’s downfall. You don’t want to come across as braggy or insincere.
Interviewers want to make sure that your strengths align with what the role (and company) requires. The company will have certain characteristics that they look for in each employee. You can find these by looking at what they value on their about page and often on their careers/jobs pages. This information is vital to properly answering this question.
For example, if you are interviewing for a role at Stripe, review their Jobs page. They have information about what makes a successful employee right there! When talking about your strengths, highlight what they want to see (as long as it is true about you).
But that is not all: you also need to showcase that your strengths match what is required for the role. Luckily for you, these requirements are listed in the job description itself. Before you go into the interview, prepare to answer this question by writing down the responsibilities or characteristics they describe and determining how best to highlight these strengths.
For example, the job posting for a product manager position will likely include the following:
- Ability to lead a cross-disciplinary team
- Experience working on tight deadlines
- Extremely process-oriented and organized
- Knowledge of metrics, analytics, and user testing
With these already given to you, you can see what they want for this role. Then, plan responses that highlight your strengths surrounding these skills. You should be succinct in your answers, but hit the main points. Here is an example of how a good response for this role:
- “I am most proud of my organization and analytical skills. I love creating and adapting processes to increase our efficiency and ensure that we always hit our deadlines, no matter how tight they are. One of my proudest moments was when I was leading a team of developers and designers to completely overhaul our app. We had a lot of moving pieces, but with a cool head and a constantly evolving Asana board, we were able to launch ahead of schedule.”
Using the above tips and frameworks, we have seen fellows in our program double their interview performance scores. Hopefully they will help you the next time you are asked, “What is your greatest strength?”
Pathrise is a career accelerator that works with students and professionals 1-on-1 so they can land their dream job in tech. If you want to work with any of our mentors on your behavioral interviews or any other aspect of the job search, join Pathrise.