Why You Should Recruit for Strengths

Think about those moments when you lose yourself in something and forget about time, or feel… I was born to do this!
Using our strengths every day makes us feel good; it allows us to get into flow and enables us to reach peak performance more frequently and easily. Not only that, but studies consistently show that being able to use our strengths for more hours each day leads to greater happiness, optimism, gratitude, performance, and meaning, and lower stress, sadness, depression and anxiety(1). Pow!

It is also clear that the best performing managers align talents with projects and emphasise strengths over seniority when moving and managing talent(2). I have been the benefactor of this approach, and I’ll tell you what, it made me feel great and had the right results.

Why do strengths matter for recruitment?
Understanding a candidate’s strengths enables us to more accurately predict how they will show up in role, and what will engage and motivate them to reach high performance. It enables us to ensure we have the right candidate for the right role, and equips both the candidate and manager with knowledge that will help them find intrinsic motivation from day one.

 “At the end of the session, one of the guys came up to us and basically told us how he had never focused on what he was great at before in his whole career and that it had been so powerful for him. It was INCREDIBLE.”

 – assessor at strengths focused Assessment Centre

There is challenge in the fact that people are often unaware of their strengths, or only think of their strengths as the things they are good at – missing the key point of what they actually enjoy! Having worked with psychometrics and now without, I believe that whilst psychometrics give you awareness, great strengths interviews/conversations build awareness, accountability and application. Since strengths are not just the things we are excellent at, but also find energizing and essential, it is critical that each person defines their strengths for themselves (learn more about our approach here).

Imagine the consequences if we hired someone whose strengths were in Strategic, Engaging and Achieving, and we brought them into a detail heavy admin role. How would they feel? How would they perform?
What if instead, we realised their Strengths and brought them into a client facing, or sales role? How would they feel? How would they perform?

Still wondering what strengths are?
An easy way to think about strengths are as the things we are EXCELLENT at which we also LOVE doing. Using our strengths, perhaps around being analytical, or detailed, or engaging, gives us energy, and for that reason we often find that we use them in all aspects of our lives, especially outside of work. Some of us (the lucky ones) have found jobs that utilise our strengths every day, however some of us are still on that journey. And, with the right questions we can create a great learning experience for applicants while also allowing us to understand them better and know how to best support them in those early on-boarding stages. It’s a win-win!

At Bailey & French we help build strengths based organisations, where every person can play to their strengths every day. This starts in recruitment, ends in positive exiting, and touches all people processes in between. To learn more about how we work with organisations like yours, visit our website and get in touch.

1 Asplund, J. 2012; Harzer & Ruch 2012; Kashdan, Julian, Merritt, & Uswatte, 2006; Steen, Seligman, Peterson, & Park 2005
2 Clifton & Harter, 2003

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