Preparing for Strength Based Interviews

What are they?

A strength-based interview is similar to a competency based interview in the way that it aims to assess your workplace skills and suitability. However, they are quite different in what they actually ask of you. A competency based question asks you to describe an example of you using certain skills, such as teamwork or leadership, and therefore is a test of your experiences. A strength-based interview question asks what particular skills or tasks you prefer doing, in order to assess your suitability for the role. They may ask you to rate tasks and aspects in order of what you prefer most to least in order to ascertain what you are weakest at as well as where you perform the strongest.

A strength based interview question goes on the assumption that the tasks you enjoy will be the ones you perform best in. It’s a popular thought in the recruitment world that finding a candidate that will enjoy the work is the key to finding one that will perform well. This is why enthusiasm and passion are such buzz words in job adverts and subsequently CVs. The interviewer will often ask why you want the position, so strength based questions go a bit further to ascertain exactly which parts of the role you really want and which aspects you can take or leave.

How to Prepare

Ascertain what they are looking for.

Each vacancy has a certain criteria, with some of it being essential and some of it being desirable. If you’re through to interview stage it’s safe to assume you’ve met the essential criteria, so now it’s time to focus on the extra factors which will give you the edge over the other candidates. Take into account what personal qualities are needed for the role, and also what personal qualities are needed to work for the company in general. For example, if you’re going for a role in a charitable organisation, it’s pretty vital to present yourself as someone enjoys helping others and being caring.

Demonstrate during the interview.

Strength-based questions are there to assess your ability for a range of aspects, so try and demonstrate during the interview that you possess the necessary skills. For example, if you need to be a good communicator, ensure you engage in eye contact with the interviewer, give clear answers without going off topic and avoid nervous behaviours such as fidgeting.

Present yourself with potential.

As a strength-based interview is about your abilities rather than your experiences, it gives you the opportunity to present yourself as being suitable for the role if you do lack experience. Transferable skills rule over all in these types on interviews, making them ideal for graduates. Come prepared by understanding the exact skills you will need for the role, and how you can present yourself as having these.

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