Capp’s five-step approach to strengths-based recruitment

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Monthly Archives: January 2013

How to Prepare for a Strengths-based Interview

Posted by: Celine Jacques, Managing Psychologist, Capp

 

Many job candidates ask, ‘How can I prepare for a strengths-based interview?’ They want to know:

  • What is a strengths-based interview?
  • What will I be asked?
  • How can I make sure I do well?

 

The answer is simple, albeit something of a cliché: Just be yourself.

 

A strengths-based interview is all about understanding what energises and motivates you, as well as what you do well.

 

Organisations use strengths-based interviews to find out what candidates love to do and do well. They are focused on making sure that the people they select are the right people for the right role, who will enjoy their jobs, perform well and stay with the organisation.

 

Another reason that organisations use strengths-based interviews is because it is difficult for candidates to over-prepare for them. As a result, the strengths-based interview is a lot more difficult to fake, and the organisation gets to see the ‘real’ candidate coming through.

 

To help prepare for a strengths-based interview, be prepared for:

  • More questions that are delivered more quickly
  • Little or no probing
  • Some closed questions
  • The chance to express how you feel in relation to a task or activity
  • A request to provide several short examples.

 

Before having a strengths-based interview, there are a few simple things you can think about that will help you show the best of yourself on the day. As you prepare for your strengths-based interview, think about:

 

  • What your friends and family know you for - how would they describe you to a stranger?
  • What you enjoy doing, and what you are like at your best
  • The achievements you have made and how you made them
  • What a ‘great’ day looks like for you - when did you last go home energised, and why was that?
  • Activities that you do not particularly enjoy, and why.

 

When the day comes for your strengths-based interview, stay calm and be yourself. Let your individuality shine though. Use the interview as an opportunity to understand more about the company and the role – as they assess you, make sure you assess them.

 

Do you think this organisation is right for you? Do you think the role will play to your strengths? How will you fit in with the culture here?

 

And last but not least, enjoy it! A strengths-based interview is a genuine two-way process. The interviewer is interested in getting to know you, but you can also take the opportunity to show yourself at your best, demonstrating if you’re the type of person they’re looking for.

 

Strengths-based interviewing is part of Strengths Selector, Capp’s five steps to strengths-based recruitment.

 

Read more about the strengths-based interview here.

 

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Strengths Selector – Capp’s Five Steps to Strengths-based Recruitment

Posted by: Alex Linley & Nicky Garcea

 

We’re delighted to announce the launch today of the new Strengths Selector website, bringing together Capp’s long heritage and expertise in strengths-based recruitment.

 

Strengths Selector is Capp’s five steps to strengths-based recruitment. It’s all about getting the right people into the right roles, doing work they love to do.

 

Strengths Selector provides an end-to-end solution for strengths-based recruitment. It can be implemented in full, or using different elements of its modular format:

 

  • Strengths Attraction
  • Situational Strengths Test
  • Strengths-based Interview
  • Strengths Assessment Centres
  • Strengths On-boarding

 

To celebrate the launch of the Strengths Selector website, over the course of the next month, we will be showcasing a series of blogs about strengths-based recruitment. These blogs will cover the journey from competencies to strengths, graduate attraction through strengths, and a practical guide to strengths-based interviewing.

 

If there’s a topic you would like us to cover, please let us know by using the Comment function below.

 

We look forward to being in touch and sharing more of our developments in strengths-based recruitment and Strengths Selector with you.

 

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Mission: Good Management

Posted by: Alex Linley

 

Do you know what it takes to be an ideal manager? Thanks to our Ideal Manager Survey, at Capp we do. Edge magazine, from the Institute of Leadership and Management, has just published coverage of Capp’s Ideal Manager Survey, showing that:

 

“Managers need humility, a clear sense of mission and personal responsibility to succeed, according to research from Capp entitled ‘the Ideal Manager Survey’. Emma Trenier, Consulting Psychologist at Capp, explores why having a clear vision is so important…”

 

Find out more about the strengths that it takes to be an ideal manager from the full article, available at Edge Online.

 

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The Strengths Project, Kolkata, India – December 2012 Update – Part 2

Posted by: Alex Linley & Avirupa Bhaduri

 

In part 1 of this blog, Avirupa told us about her journey to Baghmundi and some context of the area and the workshops that were being delivered. In this part 2, she shares with us her experiences of strengthspotting and strengths building with the villagers, doing so through the famous Indian folk tale of Panta Buri. Read on to see how she did it…

 

“The next day, the session begins early. The delegates have by now got to know each other and there is a sense of camaraderie. Mine was the 2nd session of the day. I began by introducing me and my strengths. I then asked the other speakers, who are now familiar with strength ideas, having been present in the past two sessions, to introduce themselves and their strengths.

 

Thereafter, I started talking about the benefits of realising strengths in us and others. Silent blank faces stared back at me as usual, but this time I was not disheartened, braced by the achievement of past experience.

 

I decided to try another approach. I talked about our bias with weakness, how that has become the only yard stick for judging improvement. I said “What if we turn the table and start thinking differently? We ordinary people can do wonders by acknowledging the extraordinary in us, our strengths!” I proposed to illustrate my point with the simple folk tale of Panta Buri.

 

In this story an old woman is helped by a motly crew of ordinary sub-humans- viz. a knife, a crocodile, a blob of cowdung, and a “bael” (an indegenous fruit). They come together to outwit and capture a thief who was habituallly stealing the “buri”s (old woman’s) “panta”.

 

I told this age-old tale from the strength perspective, to demonstrate how ordinary beings can become powerful if they utilize their strengths judiciously to the fullest potential, and better still, as a team of complementary partners. This story telling session worked wonders and the group became responsive for the first time, adding anecdotes and versions of the story, all of which had the common theme of realising and managing strengths.

 

Once the ball started rolling, then like all previous sessions, the participants came up with their own strengths stories. A young boy told the story how he had once taken an injured friend to the hospital by cycling fast through the hills. A girl stood up and talked about her ambition to become an athlete, and proudly narrated the story of her persual of dreams and the various medals that she had won.

 

We repeated the workshop from the last sessions of making teams and talking about each other’s strengths. This time, we introduced an element of theatre and gave a practical problem, and asked the delegates to act out a solution based on using the strengths of fellow team members.

 

This worked wonderfully and most of the teams had a fair amount of participation. After each team’s performance, we were asked to rate them. Each performace was followed by fervent and spontaneous discussions. We had a difficult time to conclude the session, and after much deliberation, tea break was announced.

 

While watching lively chats and conversations among the men and women, even during the break, I realized that we have probably made yet another community converts to the strengths mantra!”

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The Strengths Project, Kolkata, India – December 2012 Update – Part 1

Posted by: Alex Linley & Avirupa Bhaduri

 

In the December report from Shiriti slum in Kolkata, India (which we will post in two parts – this is Part 1), Avirupa describes Christmas in Kolkata, and sets the scene for another strengths-based community development workshop that she developed in Baghmundi, a town in Purulia, one of the poorest districts of West Bengal. As Avirupa reports:

 

“December, the last month of the year, and a month of festivities. Although Christmas is essentially a Christian religious ceremony, we in India have somehow internalized it, in true spirit of our fabled “synthetic culture”. To most Indians, especially for Bengalis, it is a holiday which has curiuosly become associated with cake eating. Winter in the subcontinent is fairly warm, the average temperature lies between 13 to 15 degrees.

 

When I went to Shiriti on 6th December I met only Sharmila, the mothers were busy preparing their children for terminal exam. We spoke for a while and I told Sharmila that I’ll take the last week off for annual holiday. She was happy for me and asked me to call her before coming next week, so that she will inform the others about the time.

 

It so happened that I got invited for taking another leadership workshop by the same NGO, apparently propelled by the success of the previous ones. I was very happy to be part of yet another enriching experience, so readily agreed. But this time the workshop was to be held at Baghmundi, a remote village at the heart of Purulia district in West Bengal. The workshop schedule is for two days and we have to travel by train for a night. I had to therefore cancel the next week’s meeting at Shiriti.

 

So, on 12th December I boarded the train from Howrah station along with representatives of the NGO. Next day early morning we reached Borabhum, the nearest railway station to Baghmundi. A jeep was waiting for us at the station, and we started our onward journey. The road from the station was suprisingly great, largely devoid of potholes and bumpy ride, which is common in almost all roads including the highways of West Bengal.

 

On hearing me complement, the local representative proudly announced that this road was in fact built by a Japanese construction company, thus the quality assurance. So after about half an hour, we reached the main market area of Baghmundi, from there we took a left turn and as expected the road became non-existent. We continued with our journey through what seemed like village courtyards, the jeep manouvering with supernatural dextrousness amidst mud, washclothes, children playing, and mounds of paddy kept for drying in the sun.

 

After this adventure we arrived at a big iron gate. A perfectly urban looking three storied pucca (made of brick) with a lovely garden front. This was such an exceptional sight that the city girl in me almost gasped in wonder. I eventually learned that this building was built and manintained by the Lions Club and acts as a social community centre and a place for convention of various social service activities, both government and non-government organizations. We weare served a cup of steaming hot tea while we waited for the delegates to arrive from nearby villages across the hills, as well as from the adjoining district of Bankura.

 

A little backstory of the area would be helpful here. Purulia and Bankura are two of the poorest districts of West Bengal. The soil in these regions is not as fertile as the rest of the state, the rivers are seasonal, i.e., they flood in monsoon and dry up in summer and winter. The majority of the population is composed of tribal peoples, one of the most marginalized communities in our country. Their language is Santhali and even when they speak Bengali, their dialect is quite unique.

 

In recent times these areas have been riddled by Maoist insurgencies, which allegedly is a fallout of the lack of development initiative taken by the government. As a result, there is a heavy police and military presence in the area, and the common people are the worst sufferers.

 

In this context, we were poised to hold the workshop to empower the villagers with positive life skills. The first day’s workshop started late as the delegates, many of whom cycled miles crossing the hills to the venue, arrived close to noon. On humanitarian grounds, after a brief introductory session, the lunch break was announced. Post-lunch, one of the key speakers takes an exhaustive session on “awareness of laws and  rights”. It’s winter, so it gets dark early and there’s not enough provision of electricity, thus we concluded the day.”

 

On day two, we’ll learn more about Avirupa’s strengths session with the delegates. This follows in Part 2 of this blog…

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Why Competency-based Recruitment Misses Talented Graduates

Posted by: Nicky Garcea

 

“This latest research confirms that taking part in work placements or internships whilst at university is now just as important as getting a 2:1 or a first-class degree,” says Martin Birchall, managing director of High Fliers Research, quoting their latest research.

 

High Fliers latest research report, The Graduate Market in 2013, reflects responses from recruiters from UK’s top 100 degree-level employers.  Half of the recruiters surveyed warned that graduates who had no previous work experience at all are unlikely to be successful in their selection processes.

 

This is hardly a surprise when competency-based recruitment depends so critically on candidates being able to provide “an example of where you have done this before.”

 

If ever there was a case of needing experience to get the job, and needing the job to get the experience, it’s competency-based interviews. Competency-based interviews rest heavily on past experience.

 

As a result, it is easy to see how graduates who do not have a wealth of past work experience or job-specific examples, will often be sifted out of a large recruiter’s application process as early as the application stage.

 

These experiences, confirmed by the High Fliers research, clearly point to a need for both graduates and recruiters to take a fresh look at graduate recruitment.

 

After all, if every graduate candidate is simply regurgitating the same competency response that they picked up as a model answer from Wikijobs, that isn’t going to help any recruiter sift the talent from the rest. Equally as important, it isn’t going to help graduates get into a job they will love.

 

Thankfully, there is another way.

 

For many years now, we have been helping graduate recruiters (and other recruiters) use strengths-based recruitment to assess the candidate more holistically, by taking account of their energy and motivation, as well as their past performance.

 

Yes, there is still a role for what people have done before, but this isn’t the only criterion, or even the main criterion, by which they are judged.

 

Our experience of helping major organisations to recruit thousands of graduates for their strengths, rather than being constrained by looking only in the rearview mirror of what they have done in the past, is changing the face of graduate recruitment.

 

Companies like Barclays, Ernst & Young, Nestlé and Aviva are leading the way, with many others now starting to follow.

 

Strengths-based recruitment delivers the right talent for the right roles. In doing so, it depends not just on what people have done, or even what they can do, but more on what they love to do.

 

By getting graduates into the work they love, graduate recruiters will be building their future talent pipelines at the same time as making a significant social contribution, opening their doors to a wider talent pool than just the fortunate few who have “done it before”.

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New Capp Consulting Psychologist / Consultant Opportunities

Posted by: Alex Linley

 

With our assessment team expanding again, we are making additional appointments for Consulting Psychologists / Consultants.

 

The successful candidates will join our industry-leading assessment team, working on strengths-based recruitment and the further development of Strengths Selector, our five steps to strengths-based recruitment.

 

See here for further information about the roles, and what you need to do to apply.

 

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Recruitment Trends in 2013: The Storm Has Yet to Pass

Posted by: Jamie Betts

 

Recruitment is a great indicator of the wider health of the economy. And economists, as in other disciplines, often attempt to predict the future by learning from the mistakes of the past.

 

So, what do they have to say about the state of the UK economy? In the US, economic activity has recovered to pre-Great Recession levels and unemployment is falling robustly, while sadly the same cannot be said for the UK. Why is this?

 

The Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman notes that the US has not (as yet) bothered with austerity at all – and yet, somehow, its deficit has fallen by 25%, and businesses are hiring again. How did this happen? Largely, Krugman notes, it happened thanks to a growing economy and the increased tax revenue this generated.

 

In the UK, we are repeating the mistakes of the 1930′s by cutting back during an economic slump, at a time when the economy actually needs a kick-start. Our deficit grew larger last year in spite of (or perhaps because of) austerity. If the current indicators are correct, then our economy is poised to enter an unprecedented Triple Dip recession. Welcome to 2013.

 

It is against this rather dark background that we must frame our thinking with regard to the trends we’re likely to see in recruitment in 2013.

 

Many organisations are sitting on large cash piles, and credit is becoming cheaper, but a chronic lack of demand is preventing investment (and hiring). Millions of people are unemployed, or under-employed and seeking full-time employment.

 

At least, that’s one half of the story. The other is that, at the highly skilled end, the labour market has become far less ‘liquid’ as people sit tight on the job they have, motivated by fear of loss. What are the implications of this?

 

On the one hand, a business may be inundated with thousands of responses for jobs in retail, customer services, and administration. The paradox is that as businesses have hired less, so the time they must invest in recruitment has often increased – handling very high response levels professionally and appropriately can be a daunting and time-consuming prospect.

 

The other side of the same coin is that at the highly-skilled end, while volumes are lower, it is critically important to make the right hires – and there may be a tangible impact on business performance as a result. In a challenging economy, having the right people on board could mean the difference between profit and loss.

 

With this in mind, there is likely to be a continued and heightened focus in 2013 on the following key recruitment themes:

 

1. Response handling and screening – particularly at the graduate and junior operational end, what is the best way to handle thousands of responses?

 

2. Robust assessment of key hires – those hires that are made, need to be the right ones

 

3. The link between recruitment and development – acquisition of talent is one side of the coin, retention and development the other, and the synergy of both is critical.

 

As 2013 develops, the hope is that the current economic indicators are wrong. But if they’re not, and we enter yet another recession, then we are at least able to learn from our experiences of hiring in 2009-2012.

 

The storm has yet to pass, but our ability to predict and handle its consequences are much improved.

 

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Nestlé HRD Matt Stripe in HR Magazine on Using Strengths to Recruit Graduate Talent

Posted by: Alex Linley

 

I’m delighted to share with you this link to HR Magazine, featuring an article by Nestlé HR Director Matt Stripe. In the article, Matt describes how Nestlé are working with Capp in using strengths-based graduate recruitment to select and recruit the best young graduate talent.

 

He also makes a series of great points about how strengths-based recruitment critically improves upon competency-based recruitment for graduates, who often might not have the work experience to provide the “When did you do this…” past examples that competency-based recruitment so often depends upon.

 

Enjoy reading!

 

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A New Way for New Year’s Resolutions in 2013

Posted by: Nicky Garcea & Alex Linley

 

One in four New Year’s resolutions are broken in the first week, that is 7 days – at most – since they were made. A New Year’s resolution is a new ‘intent’. It’s been shown that people who commit explicitly to a goal - particularly if it’s written down – are more likely to achieve those goals.

 

But for whatever reason, that doesn’t appear to hold as well when it comes to New Year’s resolutions.

 

One of the issues that crops up with New Year’s resolutions is that, by their very nature, they tend to focus on things that we are not yet doing. Or things that we are doing and want to stop doing. This is likely to mean that we are either trying to change a habit, or we’re trying to build on a weakness, neither of which is easy.

 

And further, as strengths psychologists, we know that when people try to build on weaknesses, they rarely succeed. True progress and performance only comes through strengths.

 

Similarly, the issue with changing a habit is that habits exist for very good reasons. They have come about because they are shortcuts, the natural ways in which we have come to do things. They are effortless, they feel natural, they don’t require us to think, to plan, to change.

 

As a result, staying with our existing habits is pretty much the opposite of what we’re trying to do when we introduce a New Year’s resolution.

 

This New Year, there is an opportunity to make your resolutions differently. With over 55,000 now having completed Realise2, our online strengths identification and development tool, we know that no two people have an identical profile.

 

Our individual strengths, and their myriad possible combinations and dynamics when combined with each other, provide rich ground for us to explore in making our New Year’s resolutions for 2013.

 

As you do so, ask yourself these three simple questions to create strong resolutions that will make the most of your unique strengths:

 

1. Which of my realised strengths most readily relate to my New Year’s resolutions? (E.g., Curiosity will help with taking a professional course, Persistence will be more use in helping you to quit smoking, and Adventure will be powerful in inspiring you to strike out with a new career direction).

 

2. Which of my unrealised strengths can I use more to help me achieve my New Year’s resolutions? (The opportunity you have here is to create new habits by using strengths you haven’t used so much before).

 

3. What are the strengths dynamics that might help or hinder me in what I want to achieve? (What are the links between strengths that will turbo-charge these strengths in combination? Are there dynamics that might get in the way of you delivering your best performance? This is where a deeper dive into the unique potential of your Realise2 profile comes into its own).

 

Work on using your strengths more to achieve your goals (in this case, your 2013 New Year’s resolutions). You’ll find that you are happier, more confident, more resilient, less stressed and more likely to be effective in getting what you want.

 

As remarkable as it is, these are all benefits that follow from using your strengths more, as documented across a series of studies from ourselves and others.

 

So, to make 2013 your year, the best advice is to work on achieving your New Year’s resolutions through harnessing the performance power of your strengths.

 

And, for the technophiles amongst you, a bonus: Consider if you can use one of the best apps for the most common things we try to do around this time every year…

 

Happy New Year!

 

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