In the most basic terms, a strength-based interview focuses on what you enjoy doing, rather than what you are capable of doing, like in a competency-based interview.
Your potential future employer is looking to elicit your motivation and values - the focus of the interview will be more around what you are passionate about. In these type of interviews, the interviewers are seeking to understand your motivations for taking the role and identify what you enjoy through your enthusiasm and energy.
Throughout this interview, the employer will note your body language and tone of voice for clues about what you enjoy. A technique for doing this is asking quick-fire questions in order to generate urgency and a more genuine response. Do note that the content of what you say is of less significance than how you say it.
Strength based questions don’t necessarily have a right or wrong answer, what is most important is to be honest so the interviewer gets a clear insight into what truly motivates you. For this reason, it’s perhaps best not to over-prepare; this ensures the most authentic version of you is presented to your potential future employer.
How you prepare, should be centred on how you want your strengths to be portrayed. Think about:
It’s important before the interview to consider whether your profile fits within the organisation’s culture and values. Unlike a competency based line of questioning, a strength based interview will make this apparent quite quickly. For example, a company that relies very heavily on teamwork will be looking for candidates who enjoy activities involving others. If your answers show that working in a siloed environment is the most efficient way you get tasks done, then this role may not suit your natural approach to work.
To reiterate an earlier point, it is paramount that you are honest during the interview. Conflicting answers will only put doubts in the minds of the interviewers and will rarely lead to you progressing in the process.
How you deliver your answers is key. This is important to consider if you are naturally a quieter person, you may want to push yourself to be a little more animated than usual when discussing the areas you are enthusiastic about in order to best convey your strengths in that area.
As with all interviews, being specific is always recommended; generic statements and sentiments aren’t going to win the favour of an employer. Use examples of when you have been faced with a certain situation which elicited that response.
This, of course, is only one part of the interview process and one that people tend to struggle more with than others. Hopefully this article provides clear and concise guidance on how best to deal with the tricky questions that no one typically likes answering. Questions about ourselves can be difficult, the only sure fire way to feel at ease is to be honest and if it doesn’t work out...the company is probably not right for you anyway!