Look for employees with natural strengths
A colleague and I have been piloting our version of strengths-based interviewing. We believe that CBI has a place, but on its own is not robust enough to ensure that the company is hiring someone who is built for the role, rather than someone who is adapting to fit into it. This is the critical factor; we look for natural strengths:
“A strength is a pre-existing capacity for a particular way of behaving, thinking, or feeling that is authentic and energising to the user, and enables optimal functioning, development and performance” (Linley, 2007)
In our pilot we interviewed a range of higher performers in the organisation using a set of questions which started with ‘’what activities energise you?” followed by appropriate probes and further strengths based questions. At no point did we directly ask about skills, but the answers we got were incredibly revealing. By discussing the way people work, what comes naturally to them and uncovering their motivating talents, we soon learned which employees had an instinct for their role and were the highest performers. We are now using this as an integral part of one of their recruitment campaigns.
The benefits to the company of introducing strengths-based interviewing into the process are many: firstly the candidate cannot predict the questions, so we have a far greater chance of exploring the authentic aspects of the candidate; the questioning reveals what the candidate’s true strengths are and if they use these in the role the research suggests that they will be higher performers; Hiring for strengths has all the benefits of performance, engagement and retention that hiring for skills alone does not necessarily generate. Add the questioning around strengths to that of skills and knowledge and you can be confident that you are hiring great candidates for the right reasons.