How to keep your staff motivated
May 15th, 2019
There has been a big trend in recruitment over the last 10-15 years towards competency based interviewing – a skills interview which tests how candidates have approached particular situations in the past. This is especially prevalent in IT where experience of specific software, project methodologies or data warehouses is often required.
Preparing is relatively simple for the candidate. They work out which competencies or skills are required for the role from the job description and then create mini-storyboards for each one. For example your competency interview question may be something like: “can you describe a time when you have had to use your skills of persuasion?” The prepared candidate would answer by setting out an example situation, the specific task involved, the action the candidate personally took and the result (see STAR technique for preparing for competency based interviews).
The advantage of using this style of interview over CV or experience based interviews is that the interviewer gets a good insight into real life examples and can probe the candidate’s approach and decision-making processes. What it assumes though is that the way a candidate approached a situation in the past will inform their future performance in your organisation. This style of interviewing is great if you want to work out whether the candidate CAN do the job but where it falls down is that it doesn’t show whether the candidate will ENJOY doing the job.
If an employee enjoys doing the job, they are almost certainly working to their strengths. And when they are using their strengths they demonstrate:
Strengths are all about what you engage in, where you get your energy from and what you enjoy. So if you adopt some strengths-based questions in your interviewing, you can establish whether the candidate in front of you not only displays the skills for the job but is also going to perform well.
In the age of employee engagement and the realisation that engagement means real success and profit, (see Engage for Success) it is definitely worth testing candidates on their strengths during the recruitment process. Obviously you still need to test whether a candidate can do the job and whether they fit into the organisation culturally, but introducing a second stage of strengths based interviews could significantly impact your retention rate and the performance of the individual in the role. Strengths interviewing ultimately gives better results.
What sort of questions could you use in a strengths based interview?
How your recruitment process could improve
Adopting a strengths based technique is very useful when you are recruiting employees who don’t have much direct work experience such as graduates or apprentices where you are looking for potential and passion for the job rather than experience of the job. Many established companies such as Standard Chartered, Barclays, Aviva, Royal Mail and EY have adopted strengths based interviews particularly for their graduate recruitment.
I’d love to hear your experiences and whether you’ve found switching to strengths based interviewing successful or not. Please leave a comment below.
By Emily Dean of MacMaster Dean HR.
Emily is a commercially focussed HR generalist, having spent eight years in the professional services sector, most recently with Montpeller Group and another five years in consultancy. Her strengths lie in HR strategy, people development & performance and employee engagement. Visit her website here.