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Andrew Arkley|June 25, 2021

Strength Based Interview Questions: A Complete Guide

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‘What are your strengths?’ has always been a common interview question, but more and more employers now dedicate whole interviews to strength based questions.

In 2019, 50% of graduate employers used strength based interviews as part of their recruitment process.

But what exactly are strength based interview questions? What will they ask and how can you prepare for one?

We’ve created this handy guide to explain everything you need to know about how to approach strength based interview questions.

What is a strength based interview?

In the past, most employers used competency based interviews, aiming simply to find out if your skills and qualifications match the role you are applying for.

In contrast, the aim of strength based interviewing is to discover what you enjoy doing, what motivates you, and whether you would be a good fit for the position and company.

This means the employer can understand how successful you might be in the role, rather than whether you have the basic ability to carry out the required tasks.

The basic philosophy behind strength based interviews is that if you enjoy what you do, you are likely to perform more effectively and stay in the job longer.

Strength based interviews also give you the chance to talk about things you enjoy and show off your personality, even if you have no experience in the field.

How to prepare for a strength based interview

Strength based interviews can be more difficult to prepare for, and it is important not to prepare too much as you want to come across as authentic and honest.

As with other interviews, you will still be expected to know about the role requirements and the company.

Another effective way to prepare is to familiarise yourself with the types of question you could be asked and think about what you might say.

Strength based interviews: example questions

Strength based interview questions are often open-ended and often seem more personal than professional.

Many of the questions are designed to get to know who you really are and how you could fit into the position.

Others focus on how you would behave in different hypothetical situations related to the job and workplace.

Examples:

  • What do you enjoy doing?
  • What motivates you?
  • What demotivates you?
  • Who/what inspires you?
  • How do you judge success?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • How decisive are you?
  • What comes naturally to you?
  • Do you prefer to work front-of-house or behind the scenes?
  • What would you say to an unhappy customer to get them to stay?
  • What is an achievement you’re proud of?
  • How would your friends/family describe you?
  • What do you like most about yourself?
  • How would you manage working with someone you don’t like?
  • What do you enjoy doing least?
  • What is always the last thing left on your to-do list?
  • How do you deal with stress?
  • What do you think your biggest obstacle would be in this role?
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How to answer strength based questions

As the name suggests, you need to know your own strengths and be able to explain how they suit the role and the company.

Honesty is key, even when discussing weaknesses and dislikes – just remember to mention how you plan to manage these in the future.

Try to avoid generic responses and instead make sure your answers are specific to you by using personal examples.

Although strength based questions focus more on personal qualities, you can still use professional or academic experience to support your answers.

Remember to express your enthusiasm with your face, tone of voice and body language, not just your words.

Strength based questions are an opportunity for you to sell yourself, so let your personality shine through!

In summary

Job interviews can be daunting, but these tips should help you feel more confident answering strength based questions.

Remember the most important thing is to give honest answers and show off who you are personally and professionally.

Many employers use a combination of interview styles, so our guide to competency based interviews offers some more useful tips.

If you’re not quite at the interview stage yet, make sure you check out our CV writing services to strengthen your application.

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