What Is Your Greatest Strength: Interview Guidance for Data Science Folk (Part 1)

career advice data job interviews Aug 07, 2023
Data science robot answering interview questions

Welcome to the first installment of a twelve-part monthly series designed to help you navigate one of the most common interview questions: "What is your greatest strength?" This series will provide examples and tips on how to answer this question in various professional contexts, with a particular focus on candidates in the fields of data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and advanced analytics.

I understand that interviews can be daunting, especially when you're an established professional looking to make a significant career move. My aim is to equip you with the right tools to approach such questions with confidence. I hope this series will be valuable in your journey, and I invite you to return to this blog for more articles on similar topics.

A Model Response

In this first installment, let's reimagine a sample response with a data science candidate in mind.

"My greatest strength lies in my ability to build strong relationships with multidisciplinary teams and stakeholders, a skill crucial in the field of data science. I thrive when I'm collaborating and strategizing with others, exploring how we can leverage data to drive actionable insights and create value for the organization.

In data science, a transactional approach often falls short. My aptitude lies in establishing meaningful connections and fostering a shared understanding of the power of data. I have consistently received positive feedback for my ability to communicate complex data-driven findings in a manner that is understandable and relevant to various stakeholders.

One significant example of this was in my previous role, where I was responsible for a major data-driven project. Despite starting with no established relationships in the team, I was able to cultivate strong connections and foster a shared vision. The result was a doubling of the projects we delivered that year, outperforming similar teams by 40%. Today, there isn't a department in our organization that isn't aware of the impactful insights delivered by the data science team I was part of."

This response works well because it remains specific and relevant to the role. It highlights specific accomplishments, quantifies success, and connects the candidate's strengths to the requirements of a data science role.

Why This Answer Works Well

This model response is a good example for multiple reasons:

  1. Relevance: The candidate tailored their answer to emphasize skills and experiences directly relevant to the field of data science. They highlighted their ability to foster relationships and communicate complex data insights effectively, both critical skills for data scientists.
  2. Specificity: Instead of providing a vague or general statement about their strengths, the candidate offered specific examples of their achievements. They quantified their success by mentioning how they doubled project delivery and outperformed similar teams by 40%.
  3. Problem-Solving: By discussing a specific challenge they faced (starting with no established relationships in the team) and how they overcame it (by cultivating strong connections and fostering a shared vision), the candidate demonstrated their problem-solving abilities and resilience.
  4. Impact: The candidate's strength was not just claimed, but demonstrated. They explained how their skills resulted in significant impacts on their previous organization. Notably, they mentioned that there isn't a department that isn't aware of the insights delivered by their team, highlighting their influence.
  5. Connection to Future Performance: The candidate also subtly hinted at their potential future performance by explaining that their strength led to quantifiable results in the past.
  6. Emotional Intelligence: The candidate showed a keen understanding of the interpersonal aspect of data science roles, indicating their ability to navigate and succeed in a multidisciplinary environment.

Remember, the most compelling responses are those that highlight your abilities, provide concrete examples from your past experiences, and directly relate to the job you're applying for. As an established professional, you're more ready than you may think. With preparation and self-awareness, you can effectively showcase your strengths in your next interview.

Stay tuned for the next installment in this series, where we'll provide more insights and tips to help you answer this common interview question effectively. Remember, as an established professional, you are more ready than you may think. Everyone has to start someplace, and with the right preparation, your next interview could be the start of an exciting new chapter in your career.

Learn Data Science For Free. Now Offering Live Free Online Data Science Lessons.


Get You're Free Lesson Here