How do I identify my strengths?


Serena Vaughan - Early Careers Attraction, Diversity, Engagement Manager

Fidelity International

At Fidelity International, our process is strengths-based. Unlike a competency-based interview, a strength-based interview focuses on what you enjoy doing, rather than just a list of your accomplishments. Questions may revolve around your passions and hobbies; things that you are proud of and that inspire you.

Strengths-based interviews are designed to draw out potential. That’s why we don’t require work experience, certain grades, or specific technical knowledge. However, we do want to see you demonstrate strengths that we believe will help you to succeed in our industry.

How do you identify your own strengths - and how do you understand whether those fit the strengths required for a role?

What is a strength?

You may have heard of competency-based interviews. A strength is different from a competency because it’s not only something that you do really well, but also something that you want to do often, and derive energy from. Most of us have something that we’re pretty good at, but really hate doing - that means, it’s not a strength! We want to know that you can perform the role, but we also want to know whether a role will motivate, energise, and excite you.

Examples of strengths include:

  • Curiosity
  • Adaptability
  • Resilience
  • Innovation
  • Collaboration
  • Problem-Solving
  • Analytical Mindset
  • Integrity

This is not an exhaustive list! We suggest you check out our key strengths article HERE if you want to learn more about what these mean, and how to demonstrate them.

How do I identify my strengths?

Here’s a few simple steps to help you identify your strengths:

  1. Write down a list of tasks or activities you enjoy and think you’re good at.
    • These don’t have to be work-related - it could be a school project, or the fact you love running
  2. Dig deeper and ask yourself WHY you enjoy those things.
    • If you like running, what is it about that which makes it enjoyable? For example, is it competing with yourself to produce your best time? Is it being able to switch off and deeply focus? Is it actually running with friends and supporting each other to improve? Identify your driver for that activity.
  3. Look at the list you have created and find some trends. It is easiest to do this if the list is written down, as you can physically draw links and connections. This is how you can then identify your strengths.
    • The strengths are not the tasks you identified, they are the underlying skills and qualities which make you good at those tasks and makes them motivating for you.
    • For example, you may notice there’s four or five things you’ve written down which involve an element of working with people or collaborating, or you may notice that two or three things were enjoyable to you because they involved designing a process. It’s collaborating and process design that are your strengths.
  4. Link those strengths to the responsibilities in the job description!
    • If you love pushing yourself to better your time, and you are applying for a role which involves change management, at the end of that change process, you want to deliver an improved outcome for the business, which is something that motivates you.
    • You can also link your strengths to our Fidelity values. For example, we want people to be bold and brave - do you have examples of innovation where you did something new or different? That’s brave!
  5. Now think about your development areas - it’s okay to have some, we all do!
    • But think about perhaps why particular tasks or activities more difficult for you, following the same process as above.
    • Write down whether you have started/could you start to work on those, and what you can do to improve your skills in these areas.
    • Remember to consider whether a role is actually the right one for you! It is very unlikely a role will tick 100% of your strengths and not include anything you don’t enjoy as much, but if you are applying to a role that is 95% compromised of tasks which do not align with your strengths, might be better to consider a different role.

Top Tips

Here’s some more top tips:

  • Talk about challenges you’ve faced and how you’ve learned from them, not just your successes.
  • Throughout the interview, we want to hear specific examples, which is why identifying your strengths in advance can be helpful. Read our article HERE on effectively using the STARR model to help with preparing your examples ahead of an interview.
  • However, don’t shoehorn in an example which doesn’t fit the question, just because you like it, or spent time memorising it.
  • Don’t pretend something is a strength when it isn’t!

We hope this article has been helpful; we look forward to receiving an application from you! Fidelity International offers a range of opportunities in Dublin from summer internships to apprenticeships, to graduate roles. There really is something for everyone.

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