The theory behind strengths interviewing is based on positive psychology: everyone has strengths they are born with but few people know what these are. By identifying your strengths and matching yourself to the role, you will enjoy it more and perform better that those who have to try hard to fill the role.
How to prepare for a strengths interview
One of the beauties of strengths based interviews is that you can’t do so much preparation and are less likely to come up with the hackneyed answers candidates think interviewers want. Think about what you love doing both inside and outside work and be prepared to be open: don’t try to be something you’re not. Be honest about what tasks you don’t enjoy doing and think about how your preferences might fit with the organisation’s culture and the job requirements
Questions you might be asked at strengths interviews
You can also identify your strengths by asking yourself these questions.
- What are you good at?
- What comes easily to you?
- What do you learn quickly?
- What did you find easiest to learn at school or university?
- What subjects do you most enjoy studying?
- What things give you energy?
- Describe a successful day you have had.
- When did you achieve something you were really proud of?
- Do you prefer to start tasks or to finish them?
- Do you find you have enough hours in the day to complete all the things you want to do?
- What things are always left on your to-do list and not finished? These are probably weaknesses: things you dislike doing!
- What do you enjoy doing the least? These are likely to be areas where you lack natural aptitude or skills.
Benefits to organisations
They are especially useful for recruiting staff who don’t have much experience such as graduates where you are looking for potential and passion for the job.
- Strength spotting is easier at application and first interviews so need less assessment days.
- Cost and time saving as job offers made earlier
- You get fewer plastic pre-prepared answers from candidates
- You get a genuine insight into candidates
- Increases engagement and interest from interviewers
- Candidates enjoy the interview more, so are attracted to the organisation.
- Rejected candidates understand why and may realise they wouldn’t be happy in the role and so don’t feel they’ve failed.
- Identifies successful candidates who have better performance as they are built for the role rather than adapting to fit the role.
- Those employed are more likely to stay in the job and will perform at their best and learn new information faster.
“The feedback from applicants who have had a strengths-based interview has been great – they feel they have been better able to demonstrate who they are as a person not just trot out the same answers to the competency based questions which says little about them & does not engage them in the process as everyone else does the same thing!”
Simon Reichwald (Graduate Success and Bright Futures)
More time is initially needed to identify the strengths via focus groups and to train managers