Even if you consider yourself exceptionally outgoing, personable, and very qualified, job interviews can feel a little uncomfortable. It’s natural to want to make the best impression possible – and that can make it tempting to answer interview questions based on what you think your interviewer wants to hear.
What if at your next interview, you leveraged your Clifton Strengths to express what makes you strong and powerful in the workplace?
First, let’s start with some amazing news: just by being yourself, you are unique and special – it’s even backed by research! There is a 1 in 33 million chance you’ll meet someone else with your same top five strengths in the same order.
What exactly might an interview look like if you based your answers around your Clifton Strengths? Let’s follow along as a professional whose current role isn’t matching up with his strengths (we’ll call him John) practices the art of answering interview questions to showcase all he has to offer.
John’s Top Five Strengths are:
How might John communicate his Strengths to answer interview questions? Read the responses to the questions below – can you determine which specific Clifton Strength John is highlighting along the way?
What do you need from a team environment to be successful?
I highly engaged when I’m learning and exploring new information. I like to have space in my calendar to think about multiple ways to complete a project. Coming up with different ways to execute a project gives me the confidence to jump in and begin. (Do you see how John is incorporating his Learner and Intellection Strengths into his answer?)
What about your style of leadership sets you apart from others?
I take the time to get to know each person on my team. High-quality, trusting relationships are very important to me. Once I get to know someone, I can think of multiple ways to use their experience to drive the team’s overall success. I have no problem making quick, aligned decisions to place the right people on the right project at the right time. (John is drawing attention to high strength as an Activator.)
Why are you looking to leave your current role?
I really enjoy my current role but I don’t feel the environment is a match. I’m my best when I’m able to learn new things. I like to try multiple solutions to problems. I’m also held back from starting projects in a timely manner, which can be frustrating. I know I could drive higher ROI’s if I was allowed to get my team working together quickly. (John is putting his strength of Learner and Activator front and center.)
What are your leadership opportunities?
I do need time to process my thoughts. At times, people don’t understand how important this part of the process is for me. It gives me the space to think of multiple strategies before I start a new project. I also need to have a trusting relationship with my colleagues. I’m at my best when there is a consistent team and I know what I can expect from them. (John is drawing attention to his high Intellection and Strategic.)
Describe the ideal working relationship with your supervisor.
I need a supervisor who takes the time to really get to know me as a person. I would enjoy a supervisor who acts as a thought partner, who gives me the opportunity to drive projects as I see fit without holding me back or slowing me down. (John is highlighting his strength as a Relator.)
It’s tough going into an interview not knowing what your interviewer will ask. When you’re well-versed in your own Clifton Strengths, however, the specific questions themselves become less important. Instead, you’ll forget about guessing what your interviewer wants to hear, and focus on finding opportunities to showcase your strengths.
Learn your unique strengths inside and out, and you’ll already have a memorable answer for any interview question that comes along.