The job interview is changing. Recently employers have moved away from the traditional competency based interview format, where employers would ask the candidate around 10 “what can you do?” interview questions. Instead, many have now implemented a strength based interview approach.
A strength based interview discusses your strengths, what task you enjoy and where you get your energy from. This change in approach has come about due to the ease of predicting competency based interview questions, before Googling the answers. Many interviewees influenced the interview by using other peoples prepared interview answers.
Interviewers wrongly believe that a strength based interview cannot be influenced. They understand that by asking the applicant “what engages you”,“when are you in the flow”, “what energises you” can only create honest answers. If your personal criteria (i’m at my best when I’m organised and using list) meets that of the job specification (required: a well organised individual with excellent time management skills) and company criteria, then you will be offered the position.
These 3 steps will help you to influence your next strength based job interview
Step 1 Who is the Employer Looking For?
Break the job criteria into duties, and next to each skill, duty and criteria record what strength is required for this task. Once completed circle all the common strengths and tally the popular strengths giving you a table.
Follow this up by researching the culture and values of the company. You may need to be a little sneaky here and set up a fake Linkedin profile. Once live use your new persona to follow the company, befriend potential colleagues and to join industry “groups.” Once established question colleagues and industry workers, to gain an inside look on how the company operates, the team ethics, company values and the type of employees the company hires.
The key to this strategy is understanding who the perfect employee is; so ask questions on how the operations of the day to day duties. Are staff allowed a creative approach or do they strictly follow procedures? Is the company reactive or proactive? Is the business target driven? Does the business value self development? The more you find out prior to the interview the better prepared you will be.
Step 2 Match The Strengths to Types
Strength based interviews pull out the applicant’s personality type, values and natural strengths. Our personalities fall into several sections; you will have a natural preference in each section.
Decision Making through Feelings or Thinking (Logic)
We decide or come to conclusions through our emotions (how we feel about a certain choice) or through logical reasoning and intellectual processing.
A feeling person is highly in contact with their emotions, they are highly sensitive which leads them to not want to give out criticism or receive it. Feelers will decide by literally thinking about how they feel about the situation – does it feel good or bad?
A person with a thinker personality is driven mainly by reason and logic; all decisions are made in their “head” rather than with emotions. A thinker is detached from their feelings, they tell you “how it is” and can be seen as blunt and rude.
Making Sense of the World through Sensing (Facts and Figures) or Intuitiveness
We pay attention, take in information, notice the outside world and remember facts in two distinct different ways.
A sensor will notice all the facts and details of a situation, while an intuitive person will focus more on the bigger picture and possibilities. Sensing people are practical and literal, they tend to stick to that they know will work. A sensing person is interested in detail, they like to know the facts and admire practical solutions.
Intuitive people like to focus and what it could be – they like to look at the possibilities of an idea. They will often trust their gut instinct and admire creative ideas. An intuitive person will skim through documents, rather than read the whole document in full to make an overall impression of you. Intuitive people like to figure things out for themselves, relying on their imagination and can work on many jobs at any one time.
On your table, match the required skill, duty or criteria to the types. Picking either Feeling (F) or Thinking (T) and Sensing (S) or Intuitive (N), you can create 4 possible personality types:
•ST – Sensing and Thinker
•SF – Sensing and Feeler
•NF – Intuition and Feeler
•NT – Intuition and Thinker
Which one does this job seem to call for?
Step 3 - Create The Required Persona
To be offered the position you have to create the persona the interviewer is looking to recruit. Be sure you are happy to take this role once offered, as you may have to play this part for a period of time until you learn to influence the workplace.
Present your answers to the strength based interview questions by talking as the type the job description seems to be asking for.
ST – Sensing and Thinker
Be objective, realistic and logical,
•Focus on specifics and facts
•Show how your ideas will work, indicating how it will save money and time
•Give specifics – dates, percentages, data, applications and benefits
•Discuss how you can benefit the company in the present time
•Explain suggestion using logic
SF – Sensing and Feeler
Be practical, careful and helpful.
•Use personal language and look for shared interest and values
•Show respect and listen carefully while using positive body language
•Give detail – dates, numbers and figures
•Show how your answer benefits the interviewer and the company
•State your benefits, don’t just imply them
NF – Intuition and Feeler
Be enthusiastic, creative and loyal.
•Highlight the overall idea for their organisation
•Point out how you will help people grow and develop
•Ask questions and listen intently
•Go with the flow
•Explain what new things you can bring to the role
NT – Intuition and Thinker
Be creative, strategic and rational.
•Search by asking probing questions for the interviewer’s ideas at the onset of the interview - show you recognise their vision
•Address any difficult questions
•Highlight your ideas, broad and far reaching possibilities, emphasising uniqueness
•Give options but be logical in your proposals
•Discuss the theory behind your ideas
The employer will have a vision for the company (“a creative environment that increases innovation, ideas and creativity…” or “Consistency, precision and accuracy.”) By aligning your strengths to the desired vision, the team and the employer’s personality type, you will be seen as the perfect fit for the position.
In addition, interviewers often want to recruit someone with a similar personality type to themselves. By answering the interview questions as a particular “type” you will increase likeability, commonality and rapport which will lead to an increase in job offers.
Chris Delaney is an Interview Coach at www.employmentking.co.uk and the author of The 73 Rules for Influencing the Interview using Pyschology, NLP and Hypnotic Persuasion Techniques
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