Interview questions. Even the most confident among us often spend hours before an interview worrying about what questions they might get asked.
And while there is never a way to know exactly what questions you will get asked in an interview, that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare thoroughly, and this article will help you do just that.
Here at Cartisian, we are passionate about giving everyone the best opportunity to achieve interview success, and one way to do that is to prepare for strength-based interview questions.
In this article, we will discuss what you can expect from strength-based interviews, what topics they will focus on, and how you can answer them in a manner that will impress your potential employers.
Strength-based interviews have become extremely popular in recent years and focus more on what you like doing and using that information to assess your innate aptitudes and personal attributes.
The premise behind strength-based interview questions is that they can help predict your potential as an employee, identify your strong skills, and what the best way to inspire you is.
Conversely, competency-based interviews focus more on whether you possess the basic ability to do the job, looking more at your past achievements.
However, many employers are moving away from this form of questioning and shifting to the strength-based interview approach.
Without further ado, let’s jump straight in.
What gets assessed in a strength-based interview?
Any strength-based interview questions will determine whether you are likely to do the job well rather than whether you will be competent at the role.
They also look to establish whether the job would energise or motivate you or whether you would become bored or demotivated over time.
Finally, strength-based interviews also establish your natural behaviours, which is how you tend to respond to situations you might face.
Why are recruiters using strength-based assessment methods?
Over recent years, recruiters have started to understand the value of hiring someone that will enjoy the role, feel comfortable being themselves at work, and use their strengths to make positive change. Studies have shown that companies are likely to gain more long-term benefits from this approach rather than just hiring someone who has the right credentials on paper.
Another argument in favour of strength-based interviews is that it offers everyone an opportunity to get the role, regardless of their socio-economic background. With this form of interviewing, everyone has an equal opportunity, as the questions asked do not require applicants to have a range of internships under their belt or a list of top-quality schools.
Example of strength-based interview questions
One of the interesting things about strength-based job interviews is that they could ask closed yes-no questions, open questions, or hypothetical questions. The type of interview question will depend on the company you come across.
Here are some of the most common strength-based interview questions:
- What makes you feel inspired
- Describe your perfect day
- What do you define as success?
- What motivates you?
- Explain your biggest failure
- Explain your biggest success
- Would you rather work in a team or on your own?
- Why do you think you are right for this role?
How do recruiters assess you?
Typically, recruiters will come to each interview with a list of strengths they are keen to quiz each candidate on, and every question asked will relate to one of those strengths.
Some of those strength-based questions will be related to skills, values, attributes, and behaviours required to select a successful candidate.
Common questions will often include:
- Would you say you are a resilient person?
- How do you define persistence?
- Would you say you are a quick learner?
- What value do relationship management and relationship building have in a business?
- How important is trust between clients and colleagues?
When answering these questions, recruiters will judge your answers on whether they feel you will be capable in the role, how passionate you are about the subject in question, and whether you are the right personality fit for the business.
Over recent years, we have noticed a significant move towards more strength-based questions for technical roles that highly-qualified candidates apply for, as tech companies strive to hire the best of the best for their advanced roles.
Understanding strength-based questions better will help you stand out compared to other highly qualified applicants, and give you the competitive edge.
What occurs in strength-based video interviews?
In modern times, strength-based interviews do not just occur in person. They can also occur over Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Interviewers prefer video calls over phone calls or online aptitude tests, allowing them to gauge your reactions in real-time.
Often, recruiters tend to implement two different stages of video interviews, both of which offer insight into how you would handle the job on offer and tackle potential challenges and obstacles.
In a strength-based video interview, expect to see videos about the role and be asked questions about what you saw throughout.
It can be difficult to prepare for a video interview on your own, but here at Cartisian, we can help you practise your skills and land your dream job.
At Cartisian, we have an excellent understanding of the type of strength-based questions you can expect to receive in a job interview for an advanced technical role. Even if you are a highly qualified candidate, that alone is no longer enough to guarantee your interview success. You must also prepare and practice for strength-based questions.
What is the best way to answer strength-based interview questions?
In truth, it is much more difficult to prepare for strength-based interview questions than competency-based interviews, as strength-based questions often require you to offer an automatic, natural response.
That doesn’t mean you can’t do some preparation to help improve your responses and show the best side of you.
Firstly, be sure to listen to each question in great detail. In a strength-based interview, you will often find that the questions come thick and fast, especially compared to a competency-based interview.
It is common in job interviews to rush answers because you are so nervous, so try to take a deep breath before each answer, and make sure you truly understand what the company is asking you, to make sure you answer it in the best way possible.
For a face-to-face interview, do not be scared to ask a question to be repeated. You would do this if you wanted clarity in normal life, so why not in an interview setting? Candidates that take a little bit longer to answer questions often tend to answer them better and tend to get the job.
If you require longer to consider your answer, ensure you inform the interviewer, or they could believe you are just leaving a long pause because you don’t have an answer.
While strength-based interview questions do not tend to get based on competency, it is still worth bringing in examples of scenarios that relate to the question where possible. If for nothing else, it gives you more to talk about and shows evidence that your actions follow your words.
Who uses strength-based interviews and assessments?
Historically, it has always been banks and other service firms that have used strength-based interview questions, but that is changing. Many other large companies are choosing this approach, with more research showing the benefits.
Recently, there has been a significant shift towards strength-based interview questions for technology companies. For the best technical recruitment support, be sure to contact us.
Advanced roles within the tech industry have seen the most dramatic increase in these types of questions, so be sure not to get caught out only relying on your qualifications to secure your dream job.
While some tech companies have chosen to dive all in and commit to a full strength-based approach, others are dipping their tor in the water with a mixture of competency-based interviews and strength-based interview questions.
Sample strength-based questions and answers
How do you deal with a challenge you need to overcome?
We are seeing this question appear more and more in a recruiter’s arsenal of questions. Employers might ask this question to try and understand how you deal with challenges and what you value as a difficult situation.
When you answer this question, you must answer truthfully and try to highlight any support you might have received in your journey to overcoming that challenge.
Here’s an example of a strong answer to this question:
I have experienced many challenges that I needed to overcome, as have many other people. When it comes to tackling major challenges, I like to discuss problems with my work colleagues, to get their insight and knowledge on the subject. Working collaboratively helps gain a wider perspective on the problem, and sometimes seeing it through someone else’s eyes can help solve the issue.
Would you rather work on your own or as part of a team?
This question can be a tricky one. If you are unprepared, it can easily put you on the back foot and leave you answering it poorly and not putting your best foot forward.
The right answer to this will also depend on what role you are trying to get as well. Some tech positions require someone that works well within a team, whereas others will require employees to often work on their own initiative.
It is important to consider the role before answering this question, to give yourself the best chance of offering your interviewers the right answer.
This question is a perfect example of a question recruiters ask as they try to establish whether your character and personality would be a good fit for the culture of the business.
Despite what many believe, recruiters often search for a direct answer, so don’t be afraid to state your preference rather than sitting on the fence.
Here’s an example:
I love working as part of a team. Working in groups allows me to meet new people and learn new task perspectives. I like bouncing ideas off others and seeing others pitch ideas and suggestions motivates me to work even harder. That’s not to say I can’t work on my own effectively, but I prefer to be part of a team.
How would you react if you discovered you had made a significant error at work?
Sometimes, interviewers may choose to ask more scenario-based questions like this one. This is because it lets you judge how you tackle challenges and whether you prefer to put yourself or the team first.
If you have experienced a situation like this in a previous role, we recommend referencing it to show real-world examples that you don’t just talk the talk; you walk the walk.
Here’s an example:
I have experienced something similar to this at a previous employer. I accidentally sent a promotion email with a discount code that didn’t work. After taking a few moments to assess the situation, I informed my manager of the situation and asked for approval on my plan to rectify the situation.
My manager was very supportive, and I quickly sent a follow-up email to the customers before informing the customer service team of my mistake and then helping the team deal with calls from confused customers.
This scenario taught me that honesty is always the best policy and that even though it was a difficult conversation with my manager, it was the best option for the business and my integrity as an employee.
Frequently asked questions about how to prepare for a strength-based interview question.
What is the difference between situation interviewing and strength-based interviewing?
Situation interview questions focus on applicants offering examples of their experiences rather than strength-based interview questions focusing on preferences, strengths, and work styles.
Can you prepare for a strengths-based interview?
Absolutely. You must prepare beforehand to ensure you have the best chance of having a successful interview that uses strength-based questions. Be sure to use the advice highlighted above, or talk to us, and we can help you prepare for the types of questions you can expect to face.
What is the best “greatest strength” interview answer?
The main reason you get asked this question in an interview is to establish whether your strengths align with the requirements of the organisation. The aim is to make a match between your skills and credentials to be sure you will be a success.
Therefore, this answer will vary depending on the job, but for technical roles, make sure you choose qualities that will suit those roles rather than ones that would not be beneficial to the job.
What are your three biggest strengths?
Some options you might want to consider include:
What is the best way to answer strength-based questions?
When you answer this question, it is important to stay genuine you’re your feelings while also trying to include specific details that will suit the role or company culture that you are applying for.
For technical roles, highlighting that you love learning about new technology or problem-solving, for example, would be excellent options.
How do I overcome weaknesses for an interview?
Everyone has areas of their CV that are weaker than others. The important thing is to craft a response that places your weaknesses in the most positive light possible.
To do this, emphasise the positive, and avoid using negative wording. Talk about how you are working on turning those weaknesses into positive ones and highlight that you recognise where you need to improve to take your work to the next level.
This will show potential employers your willingness to learn and your awareness of what is required from you.
Summary and Key Takeaways
In summary, learning how to answer strength-based questions has never been more important in the technology industry than today. To make sure that you never get caught out and miss out on your dream promotion or role change, be sure to get in touch. We will use our expertise to help you achieve success in your upcoming interviews, or help you find new and exciting opportunities that suit your career desires.