What Skills Or Personal Characteristics Do You Feel Contribute Most To Success In This Industry?

This question is designed not only to gauge your feel for the industry and the skills required for success, but also to determine your self-awareness. Interviewers will typically present this type of inquiry in order to better understand how you view your own skills, how they apply to your career field, and why you believe you’re a good fit for the position.

Points to Emphasize

When asked to analyze your industry—and yourself, by extension—always make sure to present a thoughtful response to show your career focus.

  • Note the question wording; it’s only necessary to touch on the qualities which most contribute to success.

  • Remember to identify both work skills (usually learned or developed) and personal characteristics (usually inherent).

  • Try to relate the ideas in your response to real-world examples or situations when possible.

  • It’s recommended to focus on qualities which you yourself possess.

    It’s expected that there will be some correlation between the qualities you describe about yourself and those you believe are necessary for career success—just keep your response balanced.

    Mistakes You Should Avoid

    Even though this particular question is centered on positive ideas, there are still a few common mistakes you should make sure to steer clear of:

  • Don’t go overboard drawing parallels between your own personal skills and those required for success on a general level.

  • By the same token, avoid discussing too many skills or characteristics that you yourself do not possess.

  • Avoid leaning on too many general ideas, such as good communication skills, being prompt and reliable, etc.

  • Don’t forget to address both portions of the question for best results.

    It can be easy to default to simply discussing your own skills and traits, but keep in mind that this question is more general in nature.

    Sample Answer

    Finding balance can be tricky with interview questions like this. Review the following example for help getting started on your own response:

    In my opinion, you definitely need to have the ability to anticipate and effectively plan for the long-term in this field. In that regard, I think that a natural ability to focus on the big picture is important, as is a steady approach. Early in my own career, I was probably more focused on trying to achieve results all at once, but experience has taught me that it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

    This response gives you an idea of how to address both portions of the question (natural traits versus developed skills) while tying things back to one’s own career and experience.

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