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June 2013
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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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