What is a strength-based interview?
A strength-based interview aims to look at the passion and potential of a candidate rather than assessing their performance with pre-prepared answers. The focus is to identify suitable candidates for the role with the ability to learn new information and approaches.
This type of interview consists of three types of questions: warm up questions, forced response questions and scenario-based questions. Let’s look at some strength-based interview questions and answers in more detail below.
Warm up questions
Warm up questions ask the candidate about a non-work related scenario to gauge engagement from which every other question is assessed against. These questions are typically focused around a subject that the candidate feels comfortable and positive about. Some example questions include:
- What are your hobbies?
- How would you describe a successful day?
- Can you name something you have done that you are proud of?
- What was your favourite subject at school or university?
Forced response questions
Forced response questions are designed to encourage a candidate to make a decision from options incorporated in the question. This type of question gives the candidate an opportunity to justify their decision and give their opinion while avoiding neutral answers. Some examples of forced response questions, include:
- Do you prefer working in a team or working individually?
- Do you prefer starting or completing a task?
- Do you work best under pressure or in a relaxed environment?
Scenario-based questions encourage the candidate to think about how they would act in role-specific situations. Not only does this give the assessor an indication about how the candidate would deal with specific scenarios, but it also gives the candidate an insight into the type of situations that they will find themselves in if they are successful in the recruitment process. Applicants are scored against both their capability as well as their engagement and the use of evidence and supporting statements to back up their answers. Some examples of scenario-based questions include:
- Describe a time when you had to complete a task with a co-worker/ fellow student who was difficult to work with.
- Tell me about a time when you tackled a problem using initiative and how you found a solution.
- What would you do if your manager asked you to complete a task you have never done before?
- What would you do if you made a mistake at work?
How to answer strength-based questions?
The most important thing to remember about strength-based interview questions is that there is no right or wrong answer. Candidates are expected to answer questions honestly to give the interviewer an authentic impression of themselves.
When answering the interview questions, we recommend talking about various different aspects of your life, be that your academic background, work experience, hobbies or volunteer activities. This helps to give the interviewer a better idea of who you are and what you enjoy doing. Remember to be confident in your answers and avoid cliches you’ve seen online, as interviewers will often take note of your body language and enthusiasm. Show recruiters what you're truly passionate about!
How to prepare for a strength-based interview?
The strength-based interviewing technique is designed to be unpredictable so you never know what they’re going to ask. This makes it almost impossible to prepare your answers but ensures that you don’t simply recite pre-written responses during the interview and that you come across naturally. The key is to be yourself, however, there are a few ways you can prepare so you go into your interview feeling more confident:
- Do your research and find out everything you need to know about the role you’re applying for. You can also do some wider reading about the industry.
- Make a list of all your strengths and decide which skills would be valuable for the role.
- Consider your weaknesses and how you can improve them.
- Think about all your hobbies, personal achievements and what motivates you most in life
- Jot down any notes or prompts that you may find useful - but do not attempt to guess what questions will come up and write out answers word for word.
Be prepared to talk about all these different aspects during your interview.
How do we assess candidates during the FDM strength-based interview?
Strength-based interviewing is central to FDM’s Graduate Programme and is introduced during the initial video interview stage. We have identified eight strengths on which we assess individuals and all candidates are made aware of these before each stage of the recruitment process:
- Social Adaptability
- Strategic Awareness
- Logical Mindset
Applicants that reach the stage of assessment centre are required to complete three individual interviews which last approximately 15 minutes, with two of these interviews being strength-based. Conducting two strength-based interviews gives us the ability to assess each strength twice and gives the candidates two opportunities to prove that they are both capable and engaged with each of the eight strengths we assess.
Find out more about FDM’s unique approach to recruitment and the initiatives we have adopted to ensure equal opportunities here.