Going From Strength to Strength – Skills based interviews

We caught up with The Skills Company about the reasons and motivations they had for adapting a skills based interview process.

As an Apprenticeship provider, The Skills Company is always keen to be at the forefront of recruitment processes. Over the last six months, we have conducted a large scale review of our recruitment process and any unnecessary barriers that we were creating for the young people who apply to us.

Part of this review has involved the development of strength-based interviews. Many of the young people who apply to us are straight out of school and have relatively little work experience and, when they do, it is usually not in the sector they’re applying for. We found that conducting formal interviews in which we asked a lot of questions about prior experience and existing skills was having a negative effect on the interviewees, who were walking away from the experience feeling that they weren’t good enough.

We have therefore adopted the strength-based approach, also used by Barclays, Microsoft, Morrisons, Nestle and Standard Chartered Bank (CIPD, 2014).

The theory behind strength-based interviewing is Positive Psychology: everyone has strengths that they are born with, but few people know what these are. By identifying what an individual’s strengths are we can much more accurately and effectively match a school leaver candidate to suitable roles and employers. And the interviewee walks away feeling confident that they could answer the questions and have something to offer.

Staff conducting the interviews have commented that the young people tend to talk more with the new questions and leave the interview in a more positive manner. We expect to see a positive increase in our applicant’s perceptions of their interview when we do some more formal market research again in a few months’ time.

For more information, please email info@youthemployment.org.uk or call 01536 513388.

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