Strengths based interviews – how to prepare

Strengths based recruitment has been rising in popularity amongst graduate recruiters in recent years. A recent Institute for Student Recruitment survey identified that 43% of graduate recruiters now measure candidates’ strength at some point in their selection process.

he word strength is silhouetted against a bright sunset sky. To the left of the word is a single human figure running towards the left of the image. The sky is orange at the bottom changing to blue at the top, there are some clouds in the sky.

What are Strengths?

A strength is an activity that somebody performs well in and which energises them. When a person is engaged with this activity, it seems effortless and they may not notice time passing. Recruiters believe that candidates whose strengths align with a role are more likely to be motivated and happy at work and therefore perform better. Examples of strengths include:

  • Creativity: coming up with new ideas
  • Drive: being self-motivated and striving to achieve goals
  • Order: being well organised

How might strengths be tested?

Many organisations will measure strengths early in the selection process, often using a strengths based ‘situational judgement test’. In this online test, a candidate will be presented with an imaginary scenario and be asked to choose how they would behave from a list of pre-defined responses. The organisation will have decided which response most closely matches the strengths needed for the role. You can practise Situational Judgement tests in our Online Practice Tests resource here.

Some organisations will ask strengths based questions during phone, video or face to face interviews. Examples of strengths based questions include:

  • Tell me about something you are particularly proud of
  • What are your top 3 strengths?
  • What always gets done first on your to-do list?
  • What are your weaknesses?

How can you prepare for a strengths based assessment?

The best way to prepare for any strengths based assessment is to be aware of your strengths and be able to articulate them. There are free resources you can use to check and assess your strengths here:

You can bring these strengths to a guidance interview with a Careers Adviser  (book on Surrey Pathfinder) to practise how you would use them to answer strengths based questions.

Other types of job interview