Strengths-Based Interviews

Strengths-based interviews are increasingly used in the recruitment process.

About strengths-based interviews

Strengths-based interviews are becoming ever more common in the recruitment process. They help employers to gain a better understanding of a candidate’s strengths and what they enjoy to find the candidate most suitable for the job. Strengths-based interviews are often replaced the competency-based interview which would look at previous experience and test your competency in that role. It is important that a workplace is content in order to keep productivity high. If an employee enjoys what they do, or at least values what they do, the propensity of increasing productivity per employee is higher. Therefore, finding employees who have a natural proclivity to the role, rather than someone who is uncomfortable and unwilling, is a desirable measurement for the organisation and as such an intrinsic part of the recruitment process.

We have provided an information document below, which you can download if you so wish. With them, you can then conduct a mock interview with some friends or colleagues. Or perhaps practice them on your own.

Note: please respect our copyright. This document is for personal use. If you intend to use this for anything other than personal use, you will require permission for use from us.

Download Free Strengths-Based Questions (PDF)

Use the instructions document for taking part in the exercise. Use the candidate guidance document to get an insight into what assessors typically look for and for help with reflecting on your own performance.

A strengths-based interview may include questions like:

  • Tell me about an achievement you were particularly proud of
  • What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
  • What do you feel you are good at?
  • What kinds of tasks boost your energy?
  • What subjects did you enjoy most whilst at University/School?
  • What would your closest friend say are your greatest strengths?
If an employee enjoys what they do, or at least values what they do, the propensity of increasing productivity per employee is higher

Advantages of strengths-based interviews

A problem that can plague the interview scenario, is that responses can become formulaic and prescribed. This means that candidates can be difficult to compare as their personality does not show through that strongly. For strengths-based interview however, the focus is on that individual and their strengths. Therefore, the interview can provide insight into the candidate and how they might function within the organisation. This adds some depth to the interview. Another challenge with the formulaic interview responses, is that candidates can across a little fake and simulated. This often does not bode well for the candidate, nor for the interviewer. On the other hand, there is more honestly when the interview is focused on how the individual feels and what works for them. While it can be difficult to practice for a strengths-based interview, it is good practice to think of some of the more basic questions beforehand. Questions such as: what tasks do you enjoy doing the most? What do feel your strengths are? It is important to be honest with a strengths-based interview. Honesty is a good rule of thumb for this interview and will more often than not work strongly in your favor, rather than giving answers you think the interviewer wants to hear.

Strengths-based interview are often more suitable for graduates fresh for employment. Interestingly, previous experience has been found to be a low predictor of an individual's later work performance. Therefore, an interview that is not considering the resume but rather the strengths of the candidate are better for graduates and the employer. On the other hand, some suggest that strengths-based interview may lead to gaps in ability if only strengths are focused on. As such, time and money may have to be spent in order to train people to deal with those strengths and weaknesses. However, these negative views are outweighed by the potential benefits that are on offer from the strengths-based interview process.