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

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June 2013
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Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Candidate’s Experience of a Strengths-based Interview (SBI)

Posted by: Gurpal Minhas, Consulting Psychologist, Capp

 

I’m travelling back on the train from an interview that I’ve had today and I thought I’d let you know how it went. Initially, I was quite surprised that I was asked to return for a face-to-face interview, considering I haven’t got any experience in this field!

 

When I received the invitation from the company, they informed me that I’d be having a SBI. I hadn’t had one of those before, but I really enjoyed it….something that you don’t normally say after an interview!

 

So, what was it like?

 

I was pleasantly surprised that the interview opened up with some ‘gentler’ questions about me. I knew that I couldn’t get these wrong! The interviewers asked me about what I enjoyed doing on an ideal day and what significant accomplishments I was proud of.

 

The questions got me thinking. It was nice to see that the company were interested in getting to know more about me.

 

The interview was different compared to others that I’ve done. The questions varied in style and were mainly short and rapid fire. I’m not sure how the 45 minutes managed to disappear so quickly!

 

I found that the interview allowed me to explore my experiences both in and outside of employment. It didn’t matter so much that I hadn’t worked in their industry before.

 

The interview enabled me to show my passion and genuine enthusiasm for their organisation and industry. I didn’t feel constrained to talking about my past work-related achievements. The interviewers let me talk about my interests and how I felt about things. I was able to give genuine responses that were true to me.

 

I answered a lot more questions today in comparison to a competency-based interview. This was good - it enabled me to share more of myself. As with all good interviews, I got to understand more about the role and the company.

 

I found that the questions were structured in such a way that I was able to understand and get a real insight into the sorts of activities that I’d be involved in. They got me really excited about the role!

 

By the end of the interview, I felt that the assessors had seen the best of me and I knew a lot more about the role. As I walked out of reception, I had a real ‘buzz’. I felt that I could gauge my performance, whereas normally I’d be left feeling rather anxious after an interview.

 

So, what will I take away from this experience?

 

The SBI enabled me to share what I was good at alongside those things that I get energy from. I was able to share more about my motivations, energy and interests than I have ever shown before in an interview.

 

I look forward to completing many more – but hopefully sat on the side of the assessor, rather than as a candidate!

 

This blog showcases the candidate experience of a strengths-based interview. If you are a large employer and would like to see a SBI virtually or face-to-face (and you can even play the role of a candidate!), please contact us at capp@cappeu.com to benefit from a free demonstration.

 

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Nicky Garcea (Capp) and Fiona Miller (Nestle) co-present Strengths-based Recruitment at CIPD Recruitment Conference

Posted by: Celine Floyd, Managing Psychologist, Capp

 

This week, we attended and presented at the CIPD Recruitment Conference 2013, in London. On the hottest day of the year so far, it was a pleasure to see so many of our industry peers networking, debating and sharing experience and ideas.

 

Nicky Garcea, Capp Director, presented with Fiona Miller, Talent and Resourcing Specialist at Nestlé. We have worked with Fiona, and the Nestlé team for over a year now, implementing end-to-end strengths based assessment for their graduate and intern intakes. It was a pleasure to co-present on the transformational journey Nestlé have made, and continue to make, in pursuit of more effective and impactful attraction, selection and on-boarding.

 

Nicky and Fiona talked through the drivers behind the move to strengths-based recruitment, the strengths-based assessments used, the evaluation data from Year 1, the challenges and learning, and plans for 2013.

 

The session was well attended, and we had some insightful questions from the audience around the hot topics of diversity and social mobility, as captured in this Recruiter article.

 

We will be commenting further on these hot topics over the next few weeks.

 

We thank attendees for throwing their energy behind our interactive exercise and hope that everyone enjoyed it, and maybe learnt something about their own strengths!

 

If you have any questions about our presentation, the Nestlé partnership or strengths-based recruitment please do contact us at Nicky.Garcea@cappeu.com or Celine.Floyd@cappeu.com

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The Strengths-based Interview: An Interviewer’s Experience

Posted by: Gurpal Minhas, Consulting Psychologist, Capp

 

Wow. What a day. I’m just travelling home after conducting 8 SBIs for an experienced-hire vacancy within our recruitment function.

 

My team and I were really looking forward to running the interviews. Capp delivered  a ½ day training event  last week, but ultimately I really wanted to test the interviews on some live candidates!

 

Before we started the interviews, as I always do, I revisited the candidate’s CVs. I was a little anxious considering that on paper, some of the candidates didn’t look that strong – some only had minimal experience in our field so it was going to be interesting seeing how they would cope!

 

Instantly, all of the interviews got off on a really positive footing. As assessors, we built rapport with the candidates straight away by asking some warm-up questions like ‘What makes an ideal day for you?’

 

It was good to see the candidates become calmer, get into a more positive mindset and concentrate on what they enjoy doing and do well.

 

We moved into the interview questions – compared to our previous competency-based interviews, there were more questions. They were shorter and of a more rapid pace.

 

It was great. We had fewer typical responses of where people had led a sports team. Instead, we had more authentic and realistic examples. It really enabled us to differentiate what great looked like relative to just good.

 

I did find it difficult to restrain myself from probing to candidates on their answers. I had to trust in the methodology and it worked – Capp informed us that the questions were created and validated to ensure that the strongest candidates would provide the answers that we were looking for.

 

It was great to be able to start letting the candidate do all of the talking!

 

As we asked the questions, we noticed that the script contained more than just the typical ‘past experience’ type of questions. We had open, closed and hypothetical questions too. I didn’t miss at all the ‘tell me a time when you have….’ repetition!

 

From my years of interviewing, I’ve always found that people’s responses to past experience situations can give you a good insight into what they can do or have done.

 

But some examples I’ve heard have been really dated – last week, I heard a candidate sharing something that they did three years ago. Does it mean that they can deliver these behaviours for our organisation tomorrow?

 

What was really new to me (and the team) was being allowed to assess for body language. Capp had trained us to not only look at the candidate’s response but how the candidate delivered the response.

 

I noticed that the way that a candidate delivers their response to a question really is unique – we assessed tone, the type of language that someone uses, their authenticity and how engaged they are.

 

These factors really brought the questions to life. In many cases, we were really able to tell if someone simply could spot mistakes, or indeed whether they loved to spot mistakes!

 

So what remains of my earlier fear – that today’s candidates won’t have much experience in our industry? Well it wasn’t a problem!

 

One candidate in particular was so energised. She talked about her passion for what we do and how she can make an impact. This raw energy and motivation was something that I’ve seen and was able to objectively assess.

 

It’s such a great feeling to have total confidence in who you are selecting, with great evidence to support your decisions as well!

 

The best way to really understand what an SBI is all about, is to see it in action – and if you like; you can play the role of the assessor! If you’re a major employer, please contact us at capp@cappeu.com to benefit from a free demonstration.

 

In the meantime, look out for our next blog exploring the experience of the SBI from a candidate’s perspective…

 

 

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What is a Strengths-based Interview (SBI)?

Posted by: Celine Floyd, Managing Psychologist, Capp

 

So you’re an interviewer and it’s your 8th interview of the day. Your 8th ‘probe’ into generic ‘communication’ and ‘team work’. Your 8th ‘Duke of Edinburgh’ example. The candidates’ answers have been ‘reeled off’, and you just can’t tell if you really ‘believe it’. They looked good on paper, and they sound good.

 

But ARE they good? You still can’t tell if they are the right fit for your organisation. You would love to know what they are really passionate about, and what is really special about them. You look at your interview script and feel that sense of despair – you know that with these questions you are never going to really get to know the candidate in front of you.

 

A sad story, for you, and for them.

 

We feel your pain. In fact many of Capp’s consultants started life in the design, training and delivery of competency-based interviews. Until we saw the opportunities of the strengths-based interview (SBI)!

 

Used by major employers including Nestle, Ernst & Young, Barclays, Standard Chartered Bank, Harris + Hoole, Birmingham City Council and Thomson Reuters, strengths-based interviews are changing the face of interviewing for the better. But what actually is an SBI?

 

An SBI is an interview that is all about understanding what someone LOVES to do, as well as CAN do. It’s not just the assessment of what a candidate is competent at, but ALSO, looks to understand what they are passionate about, which activities and working environments give them energy, and what they are motivated by.

 

Essentially it is the rigorous assessment of  the candidate’s strengths and thereby their fit with the role. Capp are the developers of the SBI, and it can take many forms: 20 mins to 2 hours;  face-to-face, telephone or video; delivered and managed by us, or we can train you directly.

 

Whatever the format though, the following is always true:

 

  • The SBI involves more questions than a competency-based interview. In a 20 minute interview you might easily cover 8-10 questions, and in a typical hour long interview, you might ask up to 30 questions.
  • The questions are more ‘rapid fire’; asked in quick succession one after the other around a variety of different areas.
  • There is no probing into the candidate’s answers – how much they tell you is up to the candidate, and this in itself is one of the strongest signals of whether something is a strength for someone.
  • The questions will be a mixture of open, closed, hypothetical, and past.
  • You assess for ‘how’ someone answers a question (the body language, and tone of voice), as well as the ‘what’ someone is telling you.

 

So yes, you can throw out that competency interview rule book! It may sound ‘left field’ but when our SBI delivers results like a 50% drop in attrition, a 39% reduction in cost per hire, a 15% increase in de-selection, a customer satisfaction increase by 14.5% and a sickness absence reduction by 4.1% it is difficult to argue.

 

You can see why so many organisations are making the move to using the SBI. Join them and make pre-prepared answers and frustrating interviews a thing of the past.

 

The best way to really understand what an SBI is all about, is to see it in action – if you are a major employer, please contact us at capp@cappeu.com to experience a free demonstration.

 

In the meantime, though, look out for our next two blogs which will share what an SBI feels like from the perspective of both the interviewer and the candidate.

 

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‘Graduate Success: The HEAR and Now’ – A Capp Reflection

Posted by: Celine Floyd, Managing Psychologist, Capp

 

The AGR, in collaboration with the AGCAS, and BIS, published last week a summary of their recent research on the Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR) and supporting social mobility in graduate recruitment. In today’s blog, we reflect on the findings of this report and share Capp’s insights and thinking on some of the key points raised.

 

Social mobility has been on our clients’ agenda for some time, and we have seen for ourselves that whilst ‘social mobility [is] on everyone’s radar, many [do] not know how to tackle it’.

 

At Capp, we empathise with our clients’ challenge of sifting high volume applications, and understand the attraction and efficiency of selecting on the basis of University degree classification, and even university itself. However, our mission is to encourage alternative methodologies.

 

As pioneers in strengths-based assessment, our vision is to help organisations assess and identify those graduates that are the right fit – on both a competence level, but also in relation to their energy and motivation level.

 

To do this effectively, but in a quick and resource-friendly way, is a challenge – and one Ernst & Young, and Nestle, use our Situational Strengths Test, to solve.

 

In line with our drive for data here at Capp, we are collecting social mobility data  for our graduate recruitment clients as we speak. Our data gathering is in line with government recommendations, and our hope is to explicitly use this data to inform attraction campaigns in the future. The AGR report was a fascinating lens on our attraction work, and indeed our work with University Careers Services.

 

To read that ‘Many graduates leave higher education with few clear career ideas, [and] lack awareness of the wider job market and how to access it’ really resonated with us.

 

We have supported our clients to have a presence on campus, and for this presence to be of a generous, and giving nature. By this, we don’t mean free pens and paperweights – we mean real, meaningful, and life lasting giveaways.

 

Helping students to understand their strengths, and then what this means for their career choice, we see as a powerful win-win situation. Candidates learn more about which industries and organisations suit them, and organisations encourage applications that are genuine and thought-through.

 

It was a pleasure to read the summary report, and we thank the AGR, AGCAS, and BIS for their research and dissemination of findings. Economic climate, university fees, unemployment, Generation Z and the digital age all conspire to make the industry of graduate recruitment the most challenging we have ever seen, but also the most exciting.

 

We feel privileged to be able to support our clients, including Nestle, Ernst & Young, Barclays Wealth and Morrisons, to help all students, including the disadvantaged, reach their full potential through deploying their strengths to deliver results for their organisations. We look forward to what we can all achieve together.

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Strength Spotting with Tribal People in West Bengal

Posted by: Alex Linley & Avirupa Bhaduri

 

In this latest despatch to cover her work on realising strengths with the people of West Bengal, Avirupa shares with us the experience of Sunita, who participated in a strengths workshop in Ayodhya hills, in West Bengal, and was able to transform her perception of her life and the good things that she had in it.

 

However, the month did not start so well for Avirupa, as we read below…

 

“While March ended is a happy note for me, April turned out to be ‘the cruelest month’, without a trace of poetry! It started with me going down with viral fever right after returning from Bankura, followed by a series of such cases in my family. It is quite a common phenomenon during season change, but a pain nonetheless. So most of the month was spent on visits to the doctor and pharmacy.

 

By the time everyone was fit to join school/office/college etc., I had my workshop scheduled in Purulia. I welcomed the opportunity to get out of the city to the hills. The weather is usually unbearably hot in summer, so I was prepared to face the heat!! But a mild breezy night greeted me as our train reached Purulia station at 11 p.m. We reached the guest house, our halt for the night and venue for the next day post midnight.

 

This time the workshops were arranged in the lap of the hills. The hills have special names for the local tribals, for whom they are considered deities. We were in Ayodhya hills, which is one of the many small hills that are part of Chhotanagpur plateau of West Bengal.

 

The soil here is arid, red in colour. Hardly any food crops grow here, but the region is rich in minerals. Most of the rain-fed rivers dry out during summer and winter. The majority of the population are tribals.

 

The delegates start coming from early morning. Our first session started at 10 a.m. Like Bankura, here also the focus was awareness of rights. My session was post lunch. This time I repeated the Bankura formula, and identified the pilot group in the beginning. Unfortunately there were few past delegates.

 

So, I presented them with the idea of strength and got our colleagues to talk about their own strength. The project leader is an avid climber. He talked wonderfully about his passion for climbing and how that is linked to his strength of not only as adventure and competitive but also resilience and creativity.

 

We had many meaningful conversations on strengths earlier and I was glad to see another instance of a person warming up to the idea of strengths. On that note I threw the session open for audience participation on a strength spotting excercise. I had some surprising answers.

 

A man said “I like to grow flowers. God knows how difficult it is in this soil, but I love watching the first bud and my heart swells with emotion when I see the bloom. I have always been fascinated by the riots of colours of palash shimul in spring.”

 

I didn’t know where to categorize this genuine appreciation and love for beauty of nature, but I thanked him for sharing such a lovely original strength.Then like before I asked them to form teams. Then I introduced them the “strengths bank” game.

 

The delegates participation was great. All the teams could talk about the strengths of their members with varying degree of success. However, I found one woman Sunita Mandi very interesting, I remembered her from our last workshop. She was the one who had come despite having a minor accident while on the way to the workshop. She seemed much less shy this time and was leading her team for strengths bank.

 

After the session I had a one to one conversation with her. She was unexpectedly reticent in the begining. I had to put in a lot of effort before she started to open up. At first she was only talking about the troubles of her life. She is 23, been married for 8 years but childless. So she is tortured at home by her in-laws who call her infertile, and have even hit her occasionally. She cooks for all 10 members of her family and also does most of the household chores.

 

Then I probe about the good things of her life. At first she was hesitant to find any. Then with positive persuasion she started to talk about how her husband loves her, and he has been a pillar of support to her. He has even suggested to live separately away from his family (which is a huge issue among families).

 

She then said that she has finally found her strength and worth in helping others, being associated with the Action Aid project. She became visibly happy, smiled and her pace of speaking increased, she became excited to talk about how she never realised that helping others was her calling, and how she forgets her depression of childlessness through the good work.

 

I am once again convinced about the display of the power of strength talk and how it enlivens postive spirit. At the end of the conversation Sunita invited me to her home in the hamlet of “Bandhughuti” which was about 3 kilometers from the venue, near the water dam.

 

On the way back to the station, I visited her home, met her husband and was treated with yummy juicy tangy sweet piyal fruit, which grows wild locally. I tasted it for the first time and loved it. I promised her to be back again soon.”

 

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