Strengths-based interviews


Strengths-based interviewing allows interviewers to see the real person and so cuts through pre-conceived ideas and bias.

Strengths-based interviews are integral to our approach to recruitment and selection

The goal of a strengths-based interview is to ascertain whether a candidate is the type of person who will be a good fit for a given role. It asks whether they have the motivations, values and natural strengths that mean they will be energised by, and successful, in the work.

Employers that adopt a strengths approach to selection value the fairness of the strengths interview, its rigour, and the diversity of candidates that it allows them to select. It allows interviewers to see the real person and so cuts through pre-conceived ideas and bias.

To be effective, strengths-based interviewing relies on accurate insight into what it takes to be a great performer in the role. This insight is gained by profiling high performers.

Some roles need certain technical expertise and know-how too. For example a nurse needs clinical knowledge and skills as well as being the right type of person. In such situations, CV checking and an interview to ascertain a person’s technical skills and experience is also done either before or after the strengths interview.

Other roles that don’t require any previous specialist knowledge or experience lend themselves well to strengths-based interviewing too. It works well for people at all ages and stages of their career. It also works well for senior managers. Organisations are increasingly drawn to it as an effective method of interviewing young people[1] who have little or no experience to draw upon in an interview.

Interviewers gather so much more insight into candidates than they do in traditional behavioural competency-based interviews. 97% of interviewers surveyed in a study of the impact of strengths-based recruitment in five companies[2] said that they were confident in their selection decisions when using strengths-based interviewing.

Candidates usually enjoy strengths-based interviews[3] because they feel the interviewers allow them to be themselves and they really get to know them. In strengths-based interviews, if a candidate is not successful they can usually understand why. They don’t feel deficient as can happen with traditional interviewing. They realise that they are just not suited to it, so wouldn’t be happy in it. And they learn more about themselves and their strengths. So, strengths-based interviewing is very positive for the employer brand and reputation.

Organisations that adopt strengths-based interviewing, in conjunction with strengths profiling, do so because of the evidence of its effectiveness. There is a growing body of data that shows the efficacy of strengths-based interviews that has never existed in the case of the traditional competency interviews.

[1] Interviewing young people: solving the challenge, read our blog post, which includes an interview with Paul Dilley who introduced strengths-based selection for apprentices at Lloyd’s Register.
[2] Reference: Welcome to the Strengths Revolution: the benefits of strengths-based recruitment experienced by five top companies. 2013
[3] The power of the strengths interview, read our blog post that looks at the strengths-based interview from a candidate’s point of view.

3 minute #strengths video

People from organisations that have already implemented strengths-based recruitment explain how strengths-based interviews differ from competency-based interviews.

Or watch the video on YouTube.

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Connect with us.
+44 (0) 7721 000095
twitter: Engaging__Minds