2.2 Strengths-based questions
Employers are increasingly interested in exploring the strengths of job candidates. Strengths are skills that you are good at, feel energised by and use regularly.
Watch this video from EY explaining why employers use strengths-based questions.
You’ll now have a go at identifying your own strengths.
Activity 3 Identifying my strengths
Look back at theyou did in Week 3. In that case, you were trying to identify gaps that you could develop or fill through work experience. But you can also use your results to identify strengths.
Which were the skills that you labelled yourself as competent or proficient in (a score of 2 or 3)? List them in the box below.
- Of those you listed in the box above, consider which you most enjoy using – the ones where you don’t notice the time passing as you are so immersed in your task, or the ones that you use all the time, almost without realising. List them in the box below. The skills you list here are the most likely to be your natural strengths.
When you look at the list you generated in that last box, does it feel like an accurate description of your strengths? Remember, you can be really good at something without it being a strength. A strength is something you feel energised by when you are using it.
As EY explained in the video, if employers can find staff who are able to use their strengths in their work, they are more likely to have a happy workforce.
Strengths-based interviews can sometimes feel more relaxed and comfortable, but don’t forget they are still assessing you for a role in their organisation – so keep it professional.
The following video from the University of Glasgow explains strengths-based interviews in more detail. It is a little longer than most of the videos included in this course, but it does cover a lot of relevant material, including what you should expect and how to prepare.
Transcript: Video 6
Mason (2019) has compiled the following list of strengths-based interview questions:
- How would your close friends describe you?
- Do you prefer the big picture or the small details?
- What are you good at?
- When did you achieve something you're really proud of?
- What do you enjoy doing the least?
- What tasks are always left on your to-do list?
- How do you feel about deadlines?
- Do you think this role will play to your strengths?
If you want to practise one of these questions, there will be an opportunity in the next section where you will look at the video interview – something that is becoming increasingly common.