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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.

Think you’re already prepared for a strength-based interview? Take our quiz below and see if you can choose the answers that are most likely to impress an interviewer!

Take our quiz below…

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.

Now, strengths based interview questions often take centre stage. In contrast to competency based interviews, strength based interview questions aim 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 in responding to the interview questions.

As with other interviews, you will still be expected to know about the role requirements and the company in a strength based interview.

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 in a strength based interview are designed to get to know who you really are and how you could fit into the position.

Other strength based interview questions focus on how you would behave in different hypothetical situations related to the job and workplace.

Examples of strength based interview questions:

  • 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. 

Use open and confident body language when responding to strength based interview questions.

Try to avoid generic responses and instead make sure your answers are specific to you by using personal examples. Strength based interview questions are seeking to learn about your personal strengths! Give detailed answers.

Although strength-based questions focus more on personal qualities, you can still use professional or academic experience to support your answers in strength based interviews by, for example, referring to a previous job role.

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 the job interview and answer the interview questions with pride!

Brought to you by PurpleCV

Strength based interview advice: 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 to interview questions and show off who you are personally and professionally when answering strength based interview questions.

Many employers use a combination of interview styles, so our guide to competency-based interviews offers some more useful tips and possible interview questions. Some interviewers will look to determine competencies too in their strength based interview questions.

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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