What do you think are our organisation's greatest strengths...

  | James Innes

     

What do you think are our organisation's greatest strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?

Alternative and related questions:

What do you think is the greatest advantage we have over the competition?

The meaning behind the question:

This is a complex question. The interviewer wants to really put your knowledge of their organisation – and of the market in general – to the test. Their secondary objective will be to see how you handle a question in four parts – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Questions which are really three or four questions in one are often considered to be good basic indicators of intelligence – showing how well your brain can absorb, hold and process multiple concepts simultaneously. Trust me; this is not an easy question – especially when you are already under pressure.

Your answer:

Fear not. Tricky as this question is, if you’ve prepared for it (which, if you’re reading this, you hopefully will have done) then it all boils down to keeping your cool, breaking the question down into its component parts and addressing each of them in turn, one by one. You should also aim to go heavy on the strengths and opportunities and a little more gently with the weaknesses and threats. It’s a big question but try to keep your answer reasonably concise. As with other questions about potentially negative issues, try to put a positive spin on matters. If the role you are being interviewed for could play a part in tackling these weaknesses and threats then make sure you say so.

Example:

I think your greatest strengths are your market-leading position and the customer service philosophy which has resulted in this. Every business has its weakness and I think we’d agree that your greatest weakness is the lack of a comprehensive marketing strategy. As we’ve already discussed, you focus on a few key marketing avenues and are leaving a lot of money on the table in certain other areas. I firmly believe this is something I can help you with and that the development of a broad and consistent marketing strategy is consequently also your greatest opportunity. I also reckon that expanding internationally represents another major opportunity. As for threats, the greatest threat is quite simply the competition. It’s vitally important for you to continue to stay one step ahead of them.

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