Competency-based interviews, also referred to as behavioural interviews, have become very popular over the past few years, but they’re not the only type of interview you may come across.
Competencies are essentially the things that you can do, whereas, strength-based interviews assess what you enjoy doing. In some companies and particularly for graduate intake programs, strength-based interviews are taking preference over competency interviews. These types of interviews take their lead from positive psychology, that says people tend to be more motivated and successful when they are playing to their strengths. The interview aims to assess not so much the abilities that you may have demonstrated in the past, as it does the potential you may have in the future. It tends to be more of a relaxed discussion- however it can be somewhat faster paced.
When a candidate is using their strengths, it’s more likely they:
demonstrate a real sense of energy and engagement,
often lose a sense of time because they are engrossed in and enjoying the task,
quickly learn new information and approaches,
perform well and
are drawn to do things that play to their strengths – even though they may feel temporarily tired, stressed or frustrated
How to prepare for a strength-based interview
Although they don’t need as much preparation as competency-based interviews, these types of questions still need some preparation and careful thought. While you can't change the fundamentals of what you enjoy, for a recruiter, thinking about how your preferences fit with the organisation and the job requirements is still important. Try to relax and be yourself!
The type of questions you might be asked in a strength-based interview
What are you good at?
What do you learn quickly?
What things do you like doing that give you energy and motivate you?
When did you achieve something you were really proud of?
What are the tasks you most like doing at work - and which ones do you least like?
How would your friends describe you?
What does a successful day at work look like?
Do you prefer to start tasks or to finish them?
Do you find you have enough hours in the day to complete all the things you want to do?
What things are always left on your to-do list and not finished?
What have been some of your achievements and how have you made them happen?
In what ways do you think this role will play to your strengths?
Use the interview as an opportunity to understand more about the company and the role. In other words, as they assess you, make sure you take the opportunity to assess them, and whether their workplace culture is going to be one where you can thrive.