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

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October 2019
« Aug    

customer satisfaction

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 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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