Strengths-based approaches to recruitment and selection continue to grow and develop. We’ve talked about strengths in previous posts and see no sign of this interest waning for readers or recruiters. A recent Guardian article assessed employers’ motivations for using strengths-based questions in order to elicit authentic responses from candidates at interview. So, if you are applying for jobs it would be a good idea to know what your strengths are so you can respond effectively as well as authentically to strengths-based questions during an interview.
Finding the right path
In all honesty, most of us spend more time planning holidays than planning our career. We are generally better at focusing on our skills and demonstrating these through competency-based questions using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) framework to describe how we can transfer our current skills into new situations. Many of us would just rather get on with the business of completing applications and trying to secure a job than taking time to reflect on what we really want. It’s a bit like driving. You may be able to drive perfectly well. However, when you get into a car it’s not enough to simply drive. You need to have a clear sense of where you are heading in order to reach your destination.
Finding what makes you tick
In order to answer those questions which seek to test our motivation and authenticity effectively, we need to do more soul-searching. ‘Why do you want the job?’ ‘What are your personal values?’ ‘How would friends describe you?’ ‘What are your three best qualities?’ ‘What do you love to learn?’ These can be tricky questions to answer well unless you know yourself and have taken time to consider these important questions. Flaky answers here can undermine any diligent preparation you may have done in order to answer competency-based questions.
Try these for size:
- CAPP (the Centre for Applied Positive Psychology) have just launched a new website called Jobmi. Jobmi provides you with the opportunity to complete a series of free self- assessments including a strengths questionnaire which can help you to identify your top strengths and to understand what precisely you have to offer recruiters. Jobmi is an innovative employability and recruitment platform aimed at students, graduates and school leavers. Read more about Jobmi on CAPP’s recent blog post.
- Another fun and free resource to try is the Buzz Test, which you can find on icould’s website. Based on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, it explores your personality in terms of your preferences and describes individuals in terms of their similarity to an animal type. It might seem a bit flippant,
- If you’re a Warwick student then you can develop your self-awareness and self-knowledge through completing the Profiling For Success questionnaires. The Values-Based Indicator of Motivation is useful when exploring job sectors and work environments.
By taking the results of your completed questionnaires and assessments and looking at all of these together, you can start to build a comprehensive picture not only of your skills and experiences but also, more importantly of your strengths, personal qualities, values and motivations.
Finding the fit
By developing an understanding of who you are and what matters to you, it becomes far easier to approach the whole business of career decision making. Once you are clear what’s important to you, your applications will become more compelling to recruiters. You will be able to answer the ‘why’ questions (strengths and motivations) as well as the ‘what’ and ‘how’ (competency) questions with genuine conviction. You may even find that you start to enjoy job interviews as you feel more able to be yourself. The decisions we make, however we may try to convince ourselves otherwise, are invariably emotional rather than rational. Personal factors contribute to career decision making. These may include factors such as where you want to live, whether you want to live with or near a partner, family or friends? How important is work/life balance? By making authentic choices based on the things that matter to us personally, we are more likely to succeed at interview as well as to find opportunities that are a better fit.