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

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October 2019
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Celebrating Capp’s Situational Strengths Test

Posted by: Caroline Mackinnon



Launched in 2012, we are celebrating the Situational Strengths Test (SST) one year on.


The SST is as an objective and reliable, high volume strengths-based sifting tool that has been taken tens of thousands of times by candidates for organisations in sectors such as the Emergency Services, FMCG, Retail and Professional Services.



We are proud of the SST for a number of reasons


First, the way it reliably and objectively assesses the strengths required for the role. Second, delivered through our secure and reliable technology platform, it never lets you down. Third, its unique and robust scoring mechanism ensures that you only select the best candidates.


But we are even more proud of the positive effect the SST has had on recruiters and candidates, helping organisations find the right people, and helping people find the right jobs.


We love data at Capp, and when it comes to the SST we are no different. We have been analysing our results consistently and some exciting findings have emerged.



Let’s start with recruiters

Why do they use the SST? Normally for one or both of two key reasons: they want to save time and money in an early screen and/or they want to better identify the talent in their high volume applications.


The SST consistently shows that the scenario for each strength differentiates between successful, unsuccessful and ‘to consider’ candidates – showing that it reliably and accurately sifts for talent, separating the best fit candidates for the role from the rest.


Using this super efficient tool, EY screened over 19,000 graduate applicants in 2012-13, taking only the very best-fit candidates through to the next stage.


“Being an online tool and providing applicants with an insight into the available role makes Capp’s Situation Strengths Test incredibly attractive and when combined with a strengths-based interview will help us identify the best graduates for the available opportunities.”


Stephen Isherwood, former Head of Graduate Recruitment UK and Ireland, Ernst & Young



Now for the candidates

Well we know that nearly 90% of candidates feel that the scenarios in the SST give a realistic insight into working life at an organisation.


Nearly two thirds feel it is more challenging than other SJTs and over 99% perceive the test as user friendly. We are pretty happy with those statistics, as are our clients!


We constantly make improvements and adjustments to the SST to stay ahead of the curve as thought leaders in the field of strengths assessment. We’re excited to see what next year holds and expect you are too.



To see a sample SST assessment click here


To find out more about how the Situational Strengths Test (SST) can help you find the right talent:


Call +44 (0) 2476 323 363




Or visit the Situational Strengths Test website






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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 to benefit from a free demonstration.


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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 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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