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Taking a strength based approach to recruitment

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

Recruiting high performers into role is much more difficult than it appears at first. The true cost of the wrong hire is not just measured in time and cost spent on recruitment but in the intangibles. Factors such as the time spent on getting "up to speed" in role, building team relationships and inner networks, but also in having disengaged employees in the roles that they are not suited to.

"The overall financial impact of staff turnover amounts to a staggering £4.13bn per year" HR Review

"The average cost of recruiting the wrong person is £8,200, rising to £12,000 for senior managers or directors." CIPD

This has a huge impact internally but also externally in the front facing customer service an organisation provides. Research consistently links highly engaged employees to increased productivity, performance and innovation and this directly impacts the bottom line.

Gallup interviewed 1 million employees and 20,000 leaders across the world and variety of sectors. More engaged = stronger productivity, bottom line results and lower staff turnover.

Recent work we have done at GFB has highlighted the huge benefit of taking a strengths based approach to developing leadership particularly in engaging leaders in taking ownership of their development pathways. Research has shown that taking a strengths based approach is far more effective, it doubles improvement rates.

* Rath, T and Conchie, B (2008) Strength Based Leadership. Great leaders, teams and why people follow. Gallup Press.

The right experience and the right person

Traditionally organisations have recruited those who have a depth of experience and the skills needed to do the job. This process involves creating a role description, attracting applications and then candidates apply via a CV or application form. Selection then begins and this may constitute some form of sift of the applications to assess for relevant experience followed by a technical/relevant experience/competency based interview prior to hiring an individual. Sadly much of this process is flawed as fit to role is not taken into consideration; an important element of the process. An individual's motivation and inner preference for the role is not considered

More Effective Approach

Taking a strength based approach to recruitment takes not only individuals technical skills into account but also considers an individual's innate strengths and motivators for the job. It is about finding people who really have a passion for the role and who will thrive rather than just those who can "just do the job". By expanding the focus from experience and current skill base to take into consideration the strengths required for a role and then exploring an individual's personality preference, finding out how they are motivated in role and in how they work; proves to be far more effective.

Mind-set Shift - Attraction versus Elimination

Taking this mind-set shift starts in creating job adverts or role descriptions that accurately describe the kind of person who will excel in the role. Attracting the right people is key at the start of this process rather than eliminating all the wrong ones. A description of the kind of person that would succeed in the role alongside the harder technical skills required to perform the role. This can be in the form of real job previews and openness and honesty about the organisation culture, direction and individual role preferences that will have a direct impact on an individual's success in role.

Strength Based Interview

Assessment then takes into consideration applicants personality and motivational preferences through on line tests supported by two interviews, one that checks for the right technical skills (or competencies) and experience to do the job and one that checks whether they are the right fit for the role, a Strengths Based Interview. In this interview a skilled interviewer looks at an individual’s strengths and behaviours along with understanding an individual's underlying motivators through asking a series of open questions some of which are generated from the on line tests and the match to the role. Activities such as a presentation or group exercise may also add an additional dimension to observing behavioural strengths and skilled observers can also identify these strengths to support the findings from the strength based interview.

GFB actively supports organisations in recruiting with a strengths based approach. By providing a suite of online tests bespoke to your organisation that can help to identify individual personality preferences and motivations along with strength based interviews carried out by experienced interviewers.

For more support in taking a strengths focused recruitment please contact:

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