Sun | Feb 18, 2018

Glenford Smith | It’s okay to toot your own horn

Published:Wednesday | February 1, 2017 | 12:00 AM

When you go to a job interview, you are expecting to get particular questions, among them, 'Tell us what in your opinion constitute your greatest strength'. Or just 'Tell me what are your greatest strengths'.

To be forewarned, this sounds like an invitation to toot your own horn. If you've been reading this column for any time, you know we have no problem with self-tooting of horn, but in the right proportion. The case is that no one will toot your horn for you, so if you stay quiet hoping that your manager will see the quality work you're putting in, he may not.

This question sounds like an easy one. It is not, if you're not ready for it. It calls for you to carefully walk the narrow road between arrogance and self-deprecation. This is not a time for humility, neither is for being egotistical, but for sober self-description, with evidence-based characterisation.

The first thing is to uncover the greatest needs and wants of the employer before you answer the question.

You should have done some work by yourself, practising your list of strengths, which you can call readily call upon. Vocalise a mentally prepared list of your particular strengths, making it seem natural. You should also have, a specific example or two, which illustrates each strength, an example chosen from your most recent and most impressive achievements.




You should keep the employer's greatest wants and needs at the top of your of your mind. This is so that you can mentally choose those achievements from your list that best match up with his.

You should bear in mind that the employer does not really care about you, he cares about what you can do for his corporation. The more you can train yourself to focus on his wants, needs and benefits, the closer you'll get to the ideal.

As a general guide to help you, the following are some of the most desirable traits employers prefer to see in their employees:

1. Excellent written and oral communication.

2. Strong leadership and management skills.

3. Excellent analytical, problem-solving, and decision-making skills.

4. Ability to consistently demonstrate intelligent and sound business ethics in the execution duties,

5. A proved track record as an achiever, especially if your achievements match up with the employer's greatest wants and needs.

6. Ability to exercise vision, innovation, creativity and strategic thinking.

7. Likability, which means you should have a positive attitude and a sense of humour.

8. Good fit with corporate culture, someone to feel comfortable with, a team player who meshes well with interviewer's team.

9. Dedication, which means willingness to walk the extra mile to achieve excellence.

10. Definiteness of purpose and clear goals and highly motivated.

This question allows you to shine, so don't hold back on your strengths. You should rehearse your strengths until they naturally roll off your tongue.

Don't worry about coming off too canned and well-practiced. The cure for that is more practice, which should see you gaining awesome confidence.

- Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of From Problems to Power and co-author of Profile of Excellence.