Preparing for your interview
What are strengths based interviews?
Strengths based interviews are where we'll ask you to talk about your strengths rather than focus on your previous work experience alone. This type of interview is sometimes slightly easier for people just starting their careers, as understandably they may not have as much 'on the job' experience to talk about.
What to expect during your strengths based interview
Our strengths based interviews usually take around 30 minutes, and you'll be asked up to 9 questions which will help us find out what type of tasks you really enjoy doing. Unlike a competency interview, you won't need to go into as much detail describing what you actually did.
It's more about explaining what you enjoy doing and why certain tasks motivate you. We may also look at how you stay focused on tasks that you don't enjoy as much.
As we're looking for you to describe things that you enjoy, don't be surprised if we don’t prompt you to elaborate; we want to see your genuine enthusiasm.
Spend some time looking at the things you've done at school, college, university, work experience or in your personal life. What type of tasks energise and motivate you, and what type of tasks do you find yourself drawn to? Once you've thought of a few examples, think about what it is about these type of tasks that you particularly enjoy.
If there are some areas that you feel you'd like to be better at, you may want to get involved in projects that will help you build strengths in these areas. Challenging yourself to improve certain skills may even help you have more examples to talk through.
Ask people who know you well what they think your best qualities and strengths are, and whether they can think of any times when you've displayed these qualities. You may also want to ask them what areas they think you can improve on.
During the selection process for a role here you'll be talking to lots of different people about how you like to approach tasks and projects. You’ll find yourself in both small group settings and one on one situations, so take some time to practice. When you talk and explain things, are you clear and easy to understand? Do you come across as confident? Do you speak at a good pace, and stay on topic? These are all things that are good to check beforehand as it will help you present yourself in the best way at an assessment.
We asked members of our Resourcing team for some top tips:
- “Take time to think about what you’re good at and what you enjoy doing. These should be the types of activities that will demonstrate your strengths and therefore, you may want to talk about these in your phone interview.”
- “Try and note down specifics on what you’ve learnt and taken from your experiences. Think about how these have helped you going forward and what you could do more of in the future.”
- “We want to find out what you know about us, so make sure you do your research; find out some key facts and let us know why you’d like to work here.”
So you've taken time to reflect, ask why, build and practice; but is there anything else you need to do?It's easy to get distracted on the day, so you may want to take some time an hour before your interview to get everything ready.
The below may seem obvious, but we speak to lots of candidates who recommend the following:
Make sure you're in a quiet place where you won't be distracted. If you're living with other people, you may want to let them know beforehand that you'll be doing a telephone interview!
Phone charged with good signal
Make sure your phone is charged and ready to take incoming calls, and make sure you can be somewhere with good signal.
CV and job description
Having your CV and job description nearby may help if we ask you what attracted you to the role.
Glass of water
A telephone interview can take up to 30 minutes, after all that talking you may need a drink!
Questions for interviewer
If you make it through your telephone interview we'll invite you to a face to face interview where you may get to meet your future manager. It's important you ask any 'basic' questions you may have sooner rather than later, remember we're here to help.
List of your strengths
Some people prefer to have a few basic notes or a list of their strengths to hand. If you decide to jot down your strengths, try not to rely on them too heavily; the best interviews should feel more like a natural conversation than a scripted presentation.
Pen and paper
Having a pen and paper to hand can be useful to jot down any questions or reminders during the call.