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What are strength based interviews? Why do employers use strength based interviews? How to pass strength based interviews? Read on to get answers to critical questions such as these.

On this page, we give an in-depth overview of strengths based interviews, including why employers are increasingly using these interviews and provide practical tips on how to ace them.

Prepare for a real strength-based job interview with employers and practice strength based interview questions with our Video Interview Tool and boost your confidence in your interview technique today.

Not sure if you should practise to prepare for your strength interviews? In a nationwide recruiter survey, Yello (2020) found that 51% of recruiters use interview scheduling software. A further 28% are considering the move.

Researchers at the University of Sussex Business School, in association with the Institute for Employment Studies, have warned that young jobseekers feel confused, dehumanised and exhausted by automated recruitment systems.

Before we get started, here’s what we will cover in this guide!


  1. What are Strength-Based Interviews?
  2. Why do Employers Use Strength-Based Interviews?
  3. How do Strength-Based Interviews work?
  4. What is the Difference Between Competency and Strength-Based Interviews?
  5. How Do I Prepare For a Strength-Based Interview?
  6. Common Strength Based Interview Questions and Answers
  7. How are Strength-Based Interview Questions Scored?
  8. 8 Top Tips to Ace Your Strength-Based Interview
  9. Strength-Based Interviews FAQs

You have just received an email from your recruiter inviting you to a strengths based interview, and you are not entirely sure what to expect or how to prepare. You are not alone. Strength based interviews can be tricky, and many people struggle to successfully navigate them. 

So let’s dive in to find out what these are and how we can ace this interview!

What are Strength-Based Interviews?

A strength-based interview is centred on a candidate’s natural strengths and the circumstances in which the candidate performs best. This kind of interview seeks to identify suitable applicants for the position based primarily on their strengths instead of their key competencies and experiences.

Check out the short video below for a common example of a strength based interview question and how you can give the best answer: 

How to answer “How do you Handle Stress and Pressure?” | Job Interview Question #shorts

What is the difference between strength-based and traditional interviews?

Strength based interviews are not the same as typical traditional interviews. The key difference between a strengths based interview and a traditional one is the aim. Put simply, traditional interviews are geared towards identifying what you can do, while strength interviews, on the other hand, are centred on what you enjoy doing or activities that energise you.

Some example strength based interview questions include:

  • What motivates you?
  • How would your friends describe you?
  • What activities did you really enjoy doing when you were younger?
  • Do you prefer to work independently or as a team?
  • How do you define success?
  • If you had a spare hour from work, how would you spend it?
  • Do you prefer completing tasks or starting new ones?
  • What do you find is always left until last/un-done on your to-do-list?

So why do employers conduct strength based interviews? Keep reading as we cover why employers find strengths based interviews so useful. 

Why do Employers Use Strength-Based Interviews?

Recruiters use strength-based questions to look at your level of self-awareness. A strengths-based assessment also gives insight into your personality, identify your natural abilities, and see if you would be a good fit for the job.

Did you know? The concept of strength based interviews is based on positive psychology, it suggests that if your strengths align with the role, you will perform better at work, learn new skills faster, and remain with your employer for longer.

Which employers use strength based interviews?

Here are some of the top companies that currently use strengths based interviews:

EY GSKDeloitte
Civil ServiceUnileverHMRC 
NestleBAE SystemsAviva
FDMSmith.aiRoyal Mail

What should I expect in these employer strength-based interviews? How do they work? Let’s find out below!

How do Strength-Based Interviews work?

Strengths-based interviews can either follow the conventional in-person format in an office, or the virtual video format. Depending on the recruiter and the job, strength-based interviews can last up to an hour, and you could be asked as many as 20 questions within the interview.

For an in-person strength assessment, you can expect the session to follow the standard process of in-person traditional interviews. However, you will be asked questions around strengths and values instead of your experiences.

Strength based Video Interviews

What are strength based video interviews?

Strength based video interviews are more common than you probably think, and your recruiter may decide to opt for this option for your strength interview. Video interviews can either be done live in real-time with the use of a video conferencing app like Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet, or they can follow a pre-recorded interview format.

Did you know? Strength based video interviews can be done using a laptop, desktop computer, tablet, or mobile phone. Ensure you use the recommended device before you take your interview.

Uncover the key facts you’ll need to know about video interviews ahead of your strength based interview with this quick video below:

What is a Video Interview? #shorts

What do Employers look for in Strength Based Interviews?

Employers mostly look for candidates that have strengths or skills that are specific to the role. However, our team has found that the following strengths are most commonly considered crucial and candidates who possess these are likely to have a better chance of landing the job.

Good to know: Read the job description before you apply to understand the responsibilities and tasks you will take on in the role. Consider what key strengths will be required for these activities.


Being detail-oriented means being able or inclined to pay close attention and notice the finer details. As someone who is detail-oriented, you are very comfortable giving a task your full attention and spotting flaws, changes, or mistakes before they become a larger problem.

To demonstrate this ability in your strength response, you could say, “I place a lot of importance on consistently producing high-quality work because I want to be dependable to my team. I take care to never rush through a task and pay full attention to each of my responsibilities.”


Many jobs value flexibility, especially those that require problem-solving skills, the ability to collaborate with others, and a willingness to take on new challenges. Employers generally seek candidates who are more flexible and that can quickly adjust to changes in the work environment. 

To show this in your response, you could say, “In my previous job, whenever I and my teammates experienced setbacks that threatened to delay a project, I would work closely with my team to come up with creative solutions to address the challenges we faced. I re-prioritized tasks, adjusted timelines, and put in extra time to ensure that we met our deadline.”


Leadership is an important quality in many industries and job roles. Being a leader is often measured as a strength in strength assessments because it demonstrates that the candidate can guide, motivate, and influence others towards achieving a common goal.

To demonstrate this strength in your response, you could discuss a time when you assumed leadership or took charge of a team project and successfully handled team dynamics, assigned tasks, and maintained the project’s timeline.


Recruiters consider honesty a strength because it suggests integrity, trustworthiness, and a willingness to accept responsibility for one’s actions. Many employers encourage honesty and integrity as one of their core values to display in their decisions. 

To demonstrate this, you should share true and honest examples from your experiences in each of your interview answers. These examples should focus around how you aim to improve areas and avoid exaggeration or critical weaknesses.


Patience demonstrates the ability to remain calm, composed, and focused in challenging situations. This quality is valued by employers in several industries and jobs, especially those requiring problem-solving skills, customer service, or teamwork.

To show this, describe a time when you had to work with a difficult team member or client who was uncooperative. Discuss how you remained composed and paid attention to the other person’s concerns, working with them to find a solution that suited both parties.


Collaboration is a highly valued attribute in many industries and job roles because it fosters creativity, productivity, and innovation. This can take the form of team working and interpersonal skills such as communication, conflict resolution and listening.

As an example, you could discuss a time when you were required to work with a cross-functional team to develop a new product or service. You could tell your employer how you collaborated with others to share your expertise and ideas, reached an agreement on important decisions, and leveraged the strengths of each team member to achieve success.

Time Management

Effective time management skills can help employees prioritise tasks, meet deadlines, and boost overall productivity, and this is a vital strength highly sought after by many employers. 

To show that you possess this strength, you could provide examples of instances in which you effectively managed your time in the past, including how you prioritised tasks, set practical deadlines, and efficiently managed your workload to meet specific deadlines. You can also provide examples of tools or techniques you adopt to stay organised, such as calendars, time-tracking apps, or to-do lists. 

Did you know? Similar to typical interviews, the interviewer will still pay attention to some indicators such as your body language, tone of voice, and how well you structure your responses.

Check out this short video where we cover 5 top body language tips you can use to ace a strengths-based interview:

Top 5 Job Interview Body Language Tips #shorts

What is the Difference Between Competency and Strength-Based Interviews?

In a competency-based interview, the candidate is assessed with questions aimed at assessing measurable skills, knowledge and experiences concerning the job. In strength-based assessments, the candidate is asked questions that are geared towards identifying their positive attributes and how they fit into the role.

There is a significant difference between how you respond to competency-based questions and strength-based questions. For example, competency or CBI answers are more structured. Let’s take a look at structuring your responses:

STAR+R approach for Competency-Based Interview Questions

  • Situation: Begin by describing the situation or context behind the behaviour. Be precise and provide the interviewer with enough detail to grasp the situation.
  • Task: Describe the task or goal that needed to be accomplished in the given situation. Be sure to include what was required of you or what you were trying to accomplish.
  • Action: Explain the steps you took to accomplish the goal. Here, you should emphasise the specific skills or competencies that you used in the situation.
  • Result: Discuss the outcome of your actions. Tell the interviewer what you accomplished, and how it impacted the situation. Keep your response specific.
  • Reflection: Lastly, reflect on the experience and what you learned from it. Is there something you could have done differently, and how do you feel about the experience?

Click here for a dedicated guide on how to structure your CBI answers using STAR.

On the other hand, there is no specific structure you can use to respond to all strength-based questions. However, a key method to answering the strength question “Tell me about yourself?”, is to use the SEAT method to structure your response. 

What is the SEAT Format?

  • S – Mention the valuable skills and qualifications that you bring to the job.
  • E – Talk about your current experience in the field
  • A – Highlight any remarkable achievements you have made so far
  • T – Discuss the type of person you are and how you can positively impact the job

Practice for strength-based questions and boost your confidence ahead of your strength based interview questions commonly used by employers with our Practice Video Interviewing Platform.

Don’t forget that answering questions is only part of what makes a successful interview. Learn more about what employers look for in an interview with our quick video:

What Do Employers Look for in an Interview? #shorts

Are competency and strength-based questions the same?

Not exactly. While they may be indicative of strengths, competency or behaviour-based questions do not directly seek to identify your strengths like strength questions. Rather, they are based around the assumption that your past actions can predict your future performance. Meanwhile, strength questions focus on what you enjoy.

The questions review how you acted in certain situations in the past, and usually begin with phrases like “Tell me about a time when…” or “Give me an example of…”. You can answer these in a similar method to CAR/STAR.

Examples of behaviour-based questions recruiters ask:

  1. Describe a situation in which you had to provide constructive feedback to a colleague or team member. What steps did you take, and what was the outcome?
  2. Tell me about a time when you had to adapt to a change in the workplace. How did you handle the change, and what was the result?

How to Answer:

  1. Outline the context: Begin by providing a succinct description of the circumstance in question. What was the challenge? How did it make you feel?
  1. Explain the steps you took: After describing the situation, discuss the steps you took to handle the challenge.
  1. Describe the outcome: Finally, explain the end result. Were you successful? How did you feel about the outcome?

Pro tip: When answering behaviour-based questions, it is important to provide convincing, well-detailed, and relevant answers that demonstrate the actions you had taken based on your skills and experiences.

Now that we have covered the difference between competency and strength based interview questions, lets move on to how to prepare for a strengths-based interview.

How Do I Prepare For a Strength-Based Interview?

Preparing for strength-based interviews requires planning. Most employers believe that it is impossible to prepare for strength-based interviews because you can never really anticipate their questions in the same way as CBI questions.

However, our team uncovered the following 5 tips that will give you an edge in strengths based interviews:

  1. Avoid memorising your responses: It is better to practise responses that come to you naturally and instinctively. This will help you have a good understanding of your strengths before going for the interview.
  1. Do some research: Confidence is important during interviews, and one way to boost this is to understand more about the company and the role you are applying for. Consider how your strengths fit into the role and the company.
  1. Align your strengths to the job requirements: Job advertisements generally include specific qualities that employers are keen on. You can do well to list out your strengths and find ways they could be beneficial to the company.
  1. Research strength-based questions used: Research the types of questions that are typically asked during a strength-based interview by the company . Consider how you can best answer these using your strengths.
  1. Work on your body language: Most recruiters will try to observe your body language and how you react to the questions they ask. Practice working on your body language at home before the interview.

So what do strength based interview questions look like? Keep reading for some common strength questions you will likely encounter.

Common Strength Based Interview Questions and Answers

Although strength based interview questions may vary depending on the job and industry type, here are some of the most commonly-asked strength based interview questions in recruitment interviews and how you can answer them.

  1. What are you most passionate about in your work?
    • How to answer: Here, you should provide a specific response that highlights what you value most and what motivates you as a professional. Provide a specific example from your previous/current job to help to illustrate your passion.

Good Answer: One thing I am most passionate about in my career is helping others develop and grow in the organisation and in their careers. In my previous job as a Team Leader at a restaurant, I always made it a priority to provide regular constructive feedback at the end of every week to support my team members on their skills through various activities.

  1. What do you think are your greatest strengths or skills?
    • How to answer: For your response to this question, it is key to provide a thoughtful and sincere response that highlights your best traits and your suitability for the position, and provide an example to back up your response. These should be relevant to the strengths required for the job.

Good answer: One of my greatest strengths is my ability to communicate with people effectively. In my previous position as a project manager, I oversaw a team of designers and developers on busy schedules. To ensure we were all on the same page, I scheduled regular quick check-ins short and concise to cover the key areas.

  1. What are some examples of work you have done and are proud of, and why?
    • How to answer: It is important to provide an authentic and detailed response that highlights your key accomplishments so far with to-the-point examples and statistics. Ensure to use work that is relevant to the role you are applying for.

Good answer: At my former position as a Marketing Coordinator, I created a fresh email marketing plan which increased customer engagement by 28% and sales by 20% within 6 months. Further to this, I led the team on a new social media campaign which gained over 1,000 impressions on Twitter and LinkedIn alone within 2 weeks. 

  1. What is your greatest weakness?
    • How to answer: This is a strength-based question that employers commonly use in interviews. Check out the video below to discover our top tips on how you can best answer this interview question:
How to answer “What is Your Greatest Weakness?” | Job Interview Question #shorts

Having covered some common strength-based interview questions, we will now move on to how these questions are scored.

How are Strength Based Interview Questions Scored?

Strength-based questions are designed to identify your strengths and positive traits, and there are no specific scoring criteria for such questions. Strength-based questions are usually scored subjectively based on the assessment’s context and goal.

Good to know: Answers may be assigned a numerical rating or score depending on how much they demonstrate a certain strength or quality. For example, your responses may be rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with higher scores indicating a greater indication of strength.

In other cases, the scoring process may be qualitative and geared toward spotting important themes and patterns in your responses. This approach compares responses to a specified set of strengths to find common themes or traits that emerge across multiple questions.

Overall, the scoring process for strengths based interviews will depend on the specific strength assessment and the desired outcome.

8 Top Tips to Ace Your Strength-Based Interview

So we’ve prepared for the interview and practiced some examples. Now it’s time for the real strength interview. Here are 8 simple yet practical tips that you can use during the interview to ace any strength-based interview. 

  1. Recognize your strengths: Before going for the interview, take some time to reflect on your strengths, talents, and attributes. Choose your areas of expertise and make sure you are prepared to provide examples of your work.
  1. Be yourself: Strength interviews are aimed at assessing your natural abilities, so be yourself and avoid pretending to be someone you are not. Remember that it is your natural talents that are being assessed, not your capacity to fit into a particular personality type.
  1. Listen closely: Before giving any response in a strength based interview, make sure you understand the question asked. Take your time to consider your answers before giving a sincere response that highlights your strengths.
  1. Use real-life examples: Feel free to sight real-life experiences to demonstrate your strengths. Provide concrete instances where you have utilised your natural abilities to overcome obstacles and achieve success.
  1. Display enthusiasm: During the interview, show enthusiasm for the position and the company. Let your interviewer see that you are passionate about using your natural strengths to contribute significantly to the growth of the organisation.
  1. Remain positive: Try to maintain a positive outlook even if you are asked difficult questions during the interview. Maintain your confidence and optimism, and remember that the interviewer is interested in your natural strengths.
  1. Pick a small area for improvement: If your recruiter asks you to share any development areas, mention an area for improvement that is not critical to the job and can easily be improved upon. This will show that you are self-aware and willing to improve without raising red flags for your employer.
  1. Describe your efforts to improve: After sharing an area for improvement, talk about the steps you are taking to address it. This could be through training, requesting feedback, or taking advantage of development opportunities. Doing this demonstrates that you are working on self-improvement.

Ready to take your interviewing skills to the next level? Practise your strength interviews using our Video Interview Tool to enhance your interview technique and increase your confidence in landing that dream job.

Strength based interview questions

Still got other questions about strength-based assessments? Here are some frequently-asked strength based interview questions and answers.

Strength-Based Interviews FAQs

How do you pass a strengths based interview?

Here are some key tips to ace your strength interview:

  1. Indicate your strengths in your answers
  2. Understand the ideal employee
  3. Be honest
  4. Prepare for technical questions
  5. Consider how you can contribute to the job
  6. Read recent news about the company
  7. Show your motivations
  8. Interview the interviewer

Why do companies use strength-based questions?

Companies use strength-based questions to identify candidates whose strengths and preferred working styles align with the requirements of the job role, therefore ensuring higher motivation, greater employee retention, development of skills faster and performance in the selected candidates. 

Can you fail a strength-based interview?

While the scoring process for strength-based interviews is subjective to the employer and the goal of the assessment, you may not impress the interviewer if you do not provide some real-life examples to help demonstrate your strengths.

What should I do if I get stuck on a strength-based interview question?

Don’t panic if you’re not sure how to answer a strength-based question. Take a moment to think about the question and ask for clarification if necessary. It’s always acceptable to ask for a moment to think. Try to provide an honest response that highlights your strengths.

How are strength-based questions marked?

Strength-based interviews usually aim to assess the candidate on the content of their answers and the body language shown. While the methods may vary depending on the employer, recruiters may score answers per question on a scale of 1-5.

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