Strength Based Interviews: how to succeed in them?

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May 18, 2017 by kristamtam

A lot more companies are now opting in for Strength Based Interviews (SBI), such as FDM Group, Barclays, Nestle, Ernst & Young, and Standard Chartered and more.

The advantage of these types of interviews for employers is the ability to see their candidates less rehearsed and more genuine, speaking about what they like to do. The purpose of these interviews is to find someone’s natural ability and find out about what they enjoy doing. It’s to seek out someone’s motivations and get to know their personality a bit more to ensure a good cultural fit.

The employer is looking to find the flow which is the enjoyment of carrying out a task  which is believed to lead to this state of consciousness. This happens when someone gets immersed in what they do entirely because they really enjoy what they do. For employers, this type of work leads onto better results and more productive employees.

During SBI, an employer would look at the content of your answers as well as the energy and body language of your answering. This is an opportunity for you to show your personality, passion and genuineness – so keep that in mind as candidates!

Example Questions 

  1. What do you like to do in your free time?
  2. Is change within an organisation always good?
  3. Would you compromise quality to deliver something quickly?
  4. What does success look like for you in the first 2 years at The Company?
  5. What challenges do you seek out to stretch yourself?
  6. Describe a situation in which you feel most like ‘yourself’.
  7. What would you say is your biggest weakness?
  8. What motivates you?
  9. Give an example of a time when you had to go out of your way to help someone.
  10. Do you need to be an expert at something in order to lead a team?
  11. Give an example of when you changed the way you did something in order to solve a problem.
  12. Do you believe in talent or hard work?
  13. Do people listen to your advice?
  14. What do you do when something at work bores you?
  15. Do you plan your week?
  16. How do you handle working with someone you don’t like?
  17. Is there a company/brand you admire and if you could ask them some questions what would they be?
  18. How do you make sure you understand a concept/idea?
  19. When was the last time you learned something new?
  20. Should there be more hours in the day?
  21. Do you talk to different groups of friends differently?
  22. Have you ever put the needs of a team before your own?
  23. Do you prefer starting or finishing?
  24. When have you persuaded someone?
  25. Do you prefer quick action or careful planning?
  26. How do you know your strengths and weaknesses?
  27. Why would you be better than other people?
  28. What do you think about networking?
  29. What would you like to be known for?
  30. Tell me about an activity or task that comes easily to you.
  31. What things give you energy?
  32. Describe a successful day you have had.
  33. When did you achieve something you were really proud of?
  34. What things are always left on your to-do list and not finished? These are probably weaknesses: things you dislike doing!
  35. What do you enjoy doing the least? These are likely to be areas where you lack natural aptitude or skills.

As an experienced professional, I put together  a mock scoring sheet an employer may utilise. It will not necessarily look like this but could be a similar setup to help candidates see what an employer may be using to score you.

0 Weak, generic response provided. No energy or enthusiasm demonstrated in response.






1 Functional and effective example provided, lacking energy.






3 Motivation and energy demonstrated, but the answer is slightly generic lacking in detail.






5 Specific detailed examples provided, demonstrating high motivation and energy in the answer.






Score:  Out of 5: 

Hopefully this gives you an overview of what a Strength Based Interview may entail.

It’s worth mentioning that a lot of employers would ask you competency based questions as well as strength based questions, so an interview mash-up. If you face a competency based question (something like ‘Give us an example of when…’) then do remember to utilise the STAR technique:





Good luck in your interviewing processes all and please do share comments below!



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