How to Best Talk About Your Strengths in an Interview

Webcast Details

  • Why is it a good idea to include your Top 5 CliftonStrengths on your resume?
  • How can job applicants effectively bring their strengths into the job interview?
  • What approach to the applicant’s strengths should hiring managers take, in order to maximize the hiring process?

Below are audio and video plus a transcript of the conversation, including time stamps.

If you’re in the job market, your Top 5 CliftonStrengths can be the fuel for a more effective job interview. If you’re a hiring manager and you know the applicant’s Top 5 strengths, there are helpful ways to approach them — and traps to avoid — in the interview. Dr. Tim Hodges, Executive Director of the CliftonStrengths Institute at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, brings a vast repository of strengths knowledge to the webcast. Tim shares practical advice that will help you understand how to incorporate your Top 5 into your resume and how to navigate the job interview, whether you’re the interviewee or the interviewer. Join us and gain insights about strengths and the job hunt.

It’s good to put the theme in your own language, because otherwise you get into that point … where you forget your next line. And it’s really awkward. So it should be a conversation, not a regurgitation.


Tim Hodges, 5:24

Think about how to apply your strengths in the context of what they’re probably looking for. I mean, be authentic, be real, but be relevant too.


Tim Hodges, 8:25

If you’re a Hiring Manager and you know what your applicant’s themes are, ask them questions that help draw out their own themes. Don’t just push your own themes … on them. … It’s more fruitful to draw them out.


Tim Hodges, 18:26

Jim Collison 0:00

I am Jim Collison, and welcome to the CliftonStrengths Podcast. On this podcast, we’ll be covering topics such as wellbeing, teamwork, professional development and more. Now enjoy this episode. This episode was previously recorded on LinkedIn live.

Meet Our Guest on This Episode

Jim Collison 0:18

I’m here with Dr. Tim Hodges. And Tim, let’s take a second to get to know you a little bit. Tell us a little bit about what you do now and a little bit about your background.

Tim Hodges 0:26

Sure. Well, I’ll give you my Top 5 just out loud here as well. So I’m kind of scrolling the chat to see. I’ve got a, a couple of themes in common with some of you: Maximizer, Relator, Belief, Woo and Positivity. So I’m about half as good as Jim, because we about half the same Top 5, but we’ll, we’ll roll with that. So yeah, my job today is Executive Director of the CliftonStrengths Institute, which is housed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Business. Just this morning, I taught a roomful of about 350 first-year students who take a required class to learn about their strengths and develop those during their time on campus. So I love what I get to do here. I also am a Management Professor in the College of Business. So that’s my day job; nights, weekends and summertimes, I still do some projects with Gallup. But started working at Gallup a little over 20 years ago, and had some great opportunities there to dig into this science about strengths and engagement and wellbeing and had an opportunity real early in my career to spend a lot of time personally with Don Clifton. And I told some friends then, I felt like I’d have to pay back, I’d have to spend the rest of my career trying to pay back that investment Don made in me, and now I talk about him more than I talk about my own family. So I’m, I’m working, I’m working on it, but love what I get to do.

Include Your Top 5 on Your Resume?

Jim Collison 1:38

That’s great. That’s great. The, Tim, in the community that I manage, the No. 1 question I get all the time around the resume is, Do I include my Top 5 on a resume? That just is the standard question. Let’s get started there. What advice do you give the students that you’re working with, or others thinking that same question?

Tim Hodges 1:56

You know, Jim, I would include my Top 5 on the resume. Because even if they’re not, even if the Hiring Manager is not familiar with the terminology of CliftonStrengths, they are five words that are positive. And I think that’s a way to get people to kind of see something that’s right about you. And if they’re not familiar with strengths, it may be something that stands out on a resume. And for any of you on the line that are Hiring Managers, you’re looking for something that stands out on a resume, because they all start to look the same. So I think it’s great to list it. And then in your opening statement or in your interview, for sure, talk about what they actually mean. But I think it’s a great idea to list them there. There’s 28-29 million people who know what those words mean. So you’re probably going to be OK to put them on there.

Jim Collison 2:38

Yeah, where would you, would you list those right below your name? Would you put them as a footer on the bottom? Have you seen any best practices in some of the work that you’ve done there?

Tim Hodges 2:46

Yeah, my, my, mind’s probably a little biased, because the interviews I’ve been involved in are at Gallup or at the CliftonStrengths Institute. So they’re probably a little larger font and a little bolder on what I see. But I think it’s good to list it under those attributes or, different formats have different sections, but I’d put it closer to the top. And then you put some of those words out there. And then, and then the Hiring Manager, as they look through your activities, might be suddenly making some connections between, you know, what is this Competition? Or what is this Deliberative? And then, and then they might see some evidence of that. So I’d put it closer to the top. If it’s a multipage resume, which a lot of people say it shouldn’t be, but if it is, then maybe put it in the footer or the header, but I’d probably put it closer to the top.

Jim Collison 3:27

What do you say — some people say, if I, if I’m that bold, and I put those things out there, then I may get judged? Because I might Deliberative or Woo or, you know, some of the Positivity, I might get judged on those things. What do you say in that case, to those individuals that may be afraid of that?

Tim Hodges 3:45

I’d just say, I’ve been judged for a lot worse things than my strengths. They’re gonna do it anyway. Right. But I mean, at most, maybe they’ll be curious. And I don’t know if that means judgmental. If you’ve got a theme that maybe isn’t as socially desirable, because we all, you know, if you say you have a lot of Empathy, people think, Oh, that’s great. But if you say, “I have a lot of Command,” they might think, Oh, what’s that mean? You know, so some themes require a little more explanation. “Relator,” they might think you used to sell houses. So you might need to explain it’s not, you know, realtor, it’s Relator. You know, so you may need to clean up the language a little. But I think at most, I mean, again, it’s a good conversation starter, when you get to the Hiring Manager.

Key Skill: Ability to Talk About Your Top 5 in Your Own Words

Jim Collison 4:24

Some comments coming in from the chat room. Neil says, I used it recently in a sales pitch to some executives; four out of seven knew about them. So, to your point, like, chances are you’re going to — maybe not everybody, but chances are you’re going to run, you know, you may run into somebody who does. Tim, How important, then, is it when we think about, if you’re going to include them on a resume, what kind of tools or resources do you advise on knowing them? So, right, we’ve got some reports and some of those kinds of things that are out there. But how important is that to actually then know what each one of those means?

Tim Hodges 5:00

Yeah, I think it’s really important for you personally to understand what they mean and to talk about them in your own words. You don’t have to memorize Gallup’s definition. The first assignment I do in my class with business students at the university is I have them download their, they take the assessment, download the report and highlight or underline the words or phrases that most resonate with them. So memorize your words, not, not just Gallup’s words. Get familiar with it, but, but I think it’s good to put the, put the theme in your own language, because otherwise you get into that point in the answer where you forget your next line. And it’s really awkward. So it should be a conversation, not a regurgitation. So I think it’s good to own it and then say what it means to you.

Jim Collison 5:39

With the students, do you have them work with each other on that — practicing that vernacular, practicing those terms, getting comfortable with it in a way where it just becomes a part of what I say then?

Tim Hodges 5:51

You were reading ahead in the syllabus, Jim. Good job! Yeah, so week 1, we have them, kind of internalize it and decide what, what resonates with them. This week — in week 2 of the semester — we have them share their report with someone who knows them well. And then we give them about seven questions to answer or ask that person and say, you know, to kind of see what stands out with them. It’s a good chance for affirmation, maybe to challenge or question, Hey, what does this mean? Or I’ve never seen that in you. Maybe you’re that way at school, and I just know you at home or, or whatever. And then we also build in, and the best — I do the lecture, but the best part of the class is the one-on-one coaching. Anybody on the call here who’s had a one-on-one coaching session knows that the genius of strengths is that, well, Don Clifton is the genius of strengths and used to say, “Development happens best in response to another person.” And so while the assessment’s really informative, the development really happens when you, when you unpack it with someone, particularly if that person knows what they’re talking about. So we, in week 3, and week 7 of the semester, all of our students go through two, a coaching session with an upperclass student who we’ve invested in and developed. And it’s amazing. In fact, Reilly is one of our alums of the coach programs. We’ve even got one on the call here who’s probably done 100 one-on-one coaching sessions during our time on campus. So it’s, that, that’s when the real development happens.

Jim Collison 7:07

Producer Reilly behind the scenes, making sure we’re taken care of, and also the one posting your Top 5. If you want to continue to put those in the chat, we’ll post them —

Tim Hodges 7:17

Always be nice to the person with the Dump button, Jim.

Jim Collison 7:20

That’s right. That’s right. I never speak ill about Reilly, because she could cut me off in just a second.

Tim Hodges 7:25

She’s gonna mute you now.

Bringing Your Top 5 Into the Job Interview

Jim Collison 7:26

Always, always appreciate that. Tim, so we’ve talked about the actual resume. And then we’ve talked about the knowing the structure, but how do I then bring that together in the conversation that I’m having with that person that’s in front of me? How do I bring that in? Or what are some tips and tricks, thinking about that conversation that I’m having with that person, that may be strengths-based?

Tim Hodges 7:47

You know, I think the best, the best thing to do is get to know the role, get to know what they’re looking for. And you can usually do that by doing a web search, reading the job description, not just the posting for the ad, but go shop the store, go walk into the building, you know, as a customer. Go, you know, call somebody and ask them a couple of questions. So get familiar with their culture. And if I’m the Hiring Manager, what I’m listening for is not, Are you an interesting, good person? That’d be great if you were, but what I’m really listening for is, How, how could you use the best of who you are in this job? So if it’s a sales job, don’t give every answer as the time when you were a manager and this. I mean, think about how to apply your strengths in the context of what they’re probably looking for. I mean, be authentic, be real, but be relevant too. The interview, your answer to the same question might be, should be slightly different, depending on who you’re interviewing with and what job you’re applying for. And both answers can be true; it’s just which one is more relevant to the situation.

Onboarding, Building Teams and the Role of the Top 5

Jim Collison 8:47

Tim, oftentimes, we think the interview is over after we’ve gotten the job. And yet we, we know, from, from our work together, that we’re constantly in a state of interviewing, right? We’re constantly, with the folks that we work with and the team building that we’re doing, and the, and maybe the team changing. In the last year, in the last 2 years in most workplaces, almost 50% or more of the employees have turned over. Right? So you have new employees coming in. You’re, you may have stayed or you might be going, but let’s say you’ve stayed. These, as these new employees are coming in, how do you think you could, as you’re “interviewing” them, I’m going to put “interviewing” in quotes, right — we say that’s onboarding — how can that be used in that context to build teams then as we get all these new workers in?

Tim Hodges 9:34

Yeah, I mean, it’s almost, it’s almost 100% that you’re going to have different themes than the person you manage or than your closest teammate. So it’s good to, if you got some in common, great, but, but let’s figure out what you have and what I have, and how we’re going to work together to make this work. So let’s say, I mean, some of the best managers I’ve had in my life have Analytical as one of their Top 5. It’s not one of my Top 5; it’s not one of my Top 10. I don’t lead with a lot of Analytical. But if I know my manager does, what if I send them some notes before the meeting that they can review and think about ahead of time? Where if I, if I have a manager who leads with a lot of Adaptability or, or, you know something where they’re more in the moment, maybe that’s not as relevant. So I think it’s just key to understand, what do I have? What do you have? And how can we partner together? I mean, if both of us are exactly alike, one of us probably isn’t necessary, right. So we’re probably, we probably each have something we can bring to the, to the situation and something we each do best. So, yeah, good question. Yeah.

Jim Collison 10:33

When I’m spending time with my manager, and we’re having some of these conversations, how much do you think that’s like the interview process — just, you’re interviewing later on in the role? I mean, can you apply some of those same interview principles to some of the coaching conversations, hopefully, that you’re having with your, with your manager?

Tim Hodges 10:53

Absolutely. And let’s not pretend the interview goes one way or the relationship between a manager or employee goes one way. I mean, we’re seeing now, employees have a lot of leverage in the employee-employer relationship right now. So everybody’s hiring. If you quit your job, right now, you could probably have three offers by the end of the day, if you just stop in every building on the way home. So, you know, there’s a lot of leverage there. So the manager is interviewing the employee, but it goes the other way around as well. That employee is looking for reasons to stay or not, all the time. So yeah, I think that that conversation needs to be two-way, not, not — in interviews, oftentimes, it becomes a manager interviewing the, the, you know, the prospective employee, the applicant, and it’s really a one-way thing. But the more conversational, the better, especially as you get into your career.

How Hiring Managers Should Approach the Job Seeker’s Top 5

Jim Collison 11:39

Let’s flip the script for a second, as we think about managers now interviewing individuals, thinking about if they get the opportunity to see someone’s Top 5 in their, in their resume, what kind of things should they be thinking about? How should they be approaching that Top 5 of the individual they’re interviewing?

Tim Hodges 12:00

My favorite word is “curious.” I think they should be curious. I think they should wonder, How might you use your themes in this role? It’s silly to me when Hiring Managers build these wild simulations, or they’ll, they’ll have somebody, you know, interrupt the meeting, or spill coffee on you or something, just to see how you’ll react at your worst. Create an environment where people are usually at their best, and then create an interview process that puts people at ease when they’re at their best. So yeah, I think it’s, I think it’s good to set the employee up, or the applicant up, for success, to help them be comfortable. And then, and then it’s more of a conversation, as if they were already a colleague, because that’s really what you’re interviewing them for. You’re not, you’re not trying to see how they react when the fire alarm goes off. I mean, we all need to know how to do that. But you can train them that later.

Jim Collison 12:44

Tim, we want to remind folks that if they want to ask us questions, it’d be great. Just put them in the chat. If you could put a “Q” by the question so we can see them a little easier, that’s helpful. Tim, in your role there at UNL, you onboard, I think, more than 100 coaches every single year, right, to work with these. Is that, is that number accurate?

Tim Hodges 13:04

We have 80 coaches each semester — I have 800 students, and there’s a 10:1 ratio. We have some returning coaches, but we definitely train between 40 and 50 new coaches each year, so it’s, yeah, it’s a good room.

Jim Collison 13:15

What have you learned about the interview process with them? Because you’ve, you get a whole bunch of folks who apply for that; you have to interview them. What kind of things have you learned about the interview process there that, that might be helpful for individuals?

Tim Hodges 13:30

Well, I’ll just tell you what we look for. And if one of our potential applicants is listening to this LinkedIn Live, they get the answers, and bonus points for them for being curious. Right?

Jim Collison 13:37

I was afraid of that, actually, when I thought of that question. It was like, are we giving away the store?

Tim Hodges 13:41

Hey, if they’re curious enough to log into something like this, they get a fast pass to the final interview. So we have them actually record an interview or a video of themselves for about a minute. And basically just ask them, Why do you want to be a strengths coach? And the people who want to be a coach say things like they’re curious; they’re interested in the growth of other people; they had a good experience with their coach, and they want to pay it forward, or they want to create that for other new students. So those are the kinds of things. Now it is a paid position on campus. It does look good on your resume. There’s other things that sometimes people will mention, but the people we’re really looking for are curious. They’re invested in others. They’re not doing it for their own ego or whatever. And again, all those resume builders and great work experiences, that all happens anyway. But if that’s their motivation coming in, there’s other opportunities for them on campus. We, we tend to get about 150 or so applicants, and we only need about 35 to 40. So we have the opportunity to be a little bit selective and that’s, yeah, that’s ultimately what we’re looking for.

Jim Collison 14:44

Yeah, that’s the hard, that’s the hardest part of the job, right, is narrowing those down. It’s so hard when you’ve met the students, and they’re all great, right? And —

Tim Hodges 14:52

Especially when my No. 8’s Includer. So I wish we could hire them all. And maybe someday we’ll need to, but right now, we do sort. I have Maximizer No. 1, so I can sort.

The Trap of Looking for Specific Strengths in Hiring

Jim Collison 14:59

Yeah, you do pretty well at that. If the biggest question I get is, “Should I include strengths on my resume?” the second one I get — and this is kind of specific to our strengths community — is, “What do you say to people who want to use strengths to hire?” In other words, you have to have a certain set of themes, or I’m not going to hire you. Certainly, when you’re, when you’re interviewing these coaches, you’re not taking that approach. But what do you say to that, Tim?

Tim Hodges 15:23

Yeah, I spent a long time as a researcher at Gallup. And I would say that it’s a very poor, it’s a poor decision, if you’re trying to hire somebody based on them having a specific theme. First of all, because it’s not validated as a selection tool. That’s not the purpose; it’s about development. But the, but the second reason is, it’s just a, it’s, it’s a, it’s almost impossible to find someone who is going to have the themes you’re looking for. Because the theme, you know, the theme combinations are so rare, and there’s so many different possible permutations of Top 5. I mean, it’s 278,256. So I’m sitting in Lincoln, Nebraska. I may be the only person in Lincoln, Nebraska, who has Maximizer, Relator, Belief, Woo and Positivity in their Top 5. So if I say, “Wow, I think I’m pretty great; I want to hire somebody who’s got at least 3 of my Top 5, I may need 100 applicants before I’d find someone with 3 of my Top 5, and they may not be a good fit for the job.

Tim Hodges 16:16

So I think it’s OK to have someone complete the assessment as part of the interview process, as long as you promise not to look for certain themes. But if you use that information as a Hiring Manager to ask better questions and to dig in a little bit deeper and to communicate about, Hey, here’s the theme I have; here’s the theme you have. Let’s, how do you think that would work together? That, that I think is OK and can be valuable. But if you try and select based on particular themes, I, I think it’s a, I think it’s a wrong approach.

Jim Collison 16:46

Kathleen, thanks for that question. We spend a lot of time talk — there are, there are some, it’s simple and, well, it’s simple to put together, if you’re going to do it that way; difficult to implement, and not what it was intended for. Craig makes an interesting comment. He says, People use different talents to be great at the same job. As you think about hiring those 80 coaches, what’s the variance in their Top 5, and, and how does that work, then, when you put them together as a team?

Tim Hodges 17:14

They’re all over the, all across the board. So somebody might say, Well, I think Developers must be great coaches. We’ve got some people who have Developer high, and they are great coaches. But we’ve got some people who don’t have Developer high who are also great coaches. So some, we are less about, What themes do you have? in the interview process and more about, How can you use this theme in your role as a coach? And that’s true in any role in life. I mean, you can use your themes in anything. Go to, you know, in the, if I zoom into my background here, you’ll see about 20 books from Gallup, and they all have a code in there. Some of them are for salespeople, and some are for managers, and some are for parents, and, and some are for pastors. And, and in every one, there’s a whole 100-page appendix in the back that tells you how you can use your themes to be successful in that role of being a parent or a pastor or a salesperson. So, I mean, I think you can apply any one of your themes to being a coach.

Tim Hodges 18:04

We talk too about How do you coach around certain themes? Maybe I’m gonna coach somebody who’s got Restorative, and I’ve got Maximizer. They’re not opposites, but they definitely, it’s rare to see them in the same person. So I need to think about what questions should I ask to draw them out, rather than kind of forcing my framework of how I see the world on them? So if you can do, if you’re a Hiring Manager, ask — and you know what your applicant’s themes are — ask them questions that help draw out their own themes. Don’t, don’t just push your own, don’t push your themes as the manager on them. I think it’s more fruitful to draw them out.

Working With Your Lesser Talents

Jim Collison 18:38

Yeah, that’s, that’s really good advice. We have about 5 minutes left here. If you have some questions, throw them in the chat. Put a “Q” in front, so we can find them fairly easy. Tim, as we think about the, our weaknesses, things that get in the way of productivity in that, as the coach, as your coaches, the group that you manage there, How do you, how do you teach them to work with their weaknesses?

Tim Hodges 19:02

Well, the first thing we do is help them understand that, that the CliftonStrengths assessment isn’t great at identifying what your weaknesses are, even in the language — and those of you who have your full 34 report, you’ll remember it’s dominant themes, and then, then there’s supporting themes. And then the bottom themes, we just call lesser, lesser talents. So that doesn’t mean they’re a weakness. They’re only a weakness if you waste a lot of time trying to fix it. But there are situations you’re put in where you need to know how to manage through this. So let’s say, you know, I have Woo as one of my Top 5; my wife does not. She does not love to be in environments where there’s a lot of new people and all that. Friday night, we had a mixer for faculty and staff, and she came along. And she knew, going into that setting, she would need to use some other talents, because her default — she’s more introverted; her default setting is not to go to a social event. But she was more charming than I was all night long. So you just got to figure out, what do you have that you could use that can help you get through that situation? And that doesn’t mean you have to love going to social events, but sometimes you’re gonna have to do it anyway, so what could you use instead?

Jim Collison 20:03

How much, how much value do you think it gives us, but knowing like, Hey, there’s some things I may trip over if put in this situation, and then being able to say, But this is how I overcome them. How valuable is that, do you think, in speeding up the success process?

Tim Hodges 20:21

That’s huge. I mean, so sometimes people will say, Well, I turned in my assignment late, but I don’t have Responsibility as one of my Top 5 or, so I don’t follow through on commitments very well. Well, you’re about to get to take this class again next semester or change your major, because you got to get to the outcome somehow, right. So again, what, not having a strength is not an excuse for being late or sloppy or rude or — I mean, if you’re late or sloppy or rude, figure that out, you know. Get some feedback from people, and then, and then get better. But a lot of times, a weakness is a, is a lack of a knowledge or a skill or, or maybe just not enough experience in a particular area, and you just need to get a few more reps. So I think in the interview process, it’s good to own that and say, you know, one thing that I don’t really look forward to is whatever. And, but here’s how I’ve done it before, and here’s how I overcome that. And I think that, you say, “Yes” to a different question, you know, and they’ll accept that.

Jim Collison 21:13

Yeah. We talk about, sometimes we talk about those blind spots, and the blind spot’s only there until you recognize it as a blind spot. Now, I know in my car, it’s got some spots I can’t see. But because I know that, there’s, there’s tricks I can do to get around that, to acknowledge it. I think the power of it is lessened as we, as we acknowledge what it is, and then say, and I think Craig had just said he uses his No. 4 Individual — I love this statement — use my 4 Individualization and 6 Learner to substitute for Woo. And I love that, I love that awareness, right. Anything you’d add to that?

Tim Hodges 21:48

With your car analogy, I mean, I think in a, I’ve heard it said that the best predictor of future performance is past success. So in an interview, be sure you talk about when you’ve done something and done it well. But when you think about a car, there’s a rearview mirror, but it’s a fraction of the size of the, of the front windshield. So spend some time talking about what you’ve done and what you’ve been, but, but really focus on what’s possible out in front of you, and why you think you’d be a great fit for the job. You don’t have to sell it real hard; just paint a picture of what’s possible, and they’ll catch on. Everybody else is just going to read their resume to them. So you can stand out if you just talk about, here’s, here’s who I am. And here’s what I think you’re looking for. And I think this would be great. You know, be excited about the opportunity too. Don’t be nervous, just think act, act as if you want to work with the person, you know.

Additional Advice for Hiring Managers, Applicants

Jim Collison 22:32

Yeah. Be excited, be interested, right. That I think is oftentimes, and, I think — to use your own words — be curious in that interview conversation. Ask questions. I’ve spent a lot of time hiring IT students here at Gallup; I’ve probably hired a couple hundred in my days. And I was always, I liked the ones that were curious. I would ask them, “What questions do you have?” And I always liked it when they asked me a bunch of questions. Tim, in the final minutes that we have here, What other advice, what have I missed? What kind of advice would you give through the interview process? And by the way, I think that interview process goes into the job. But what other advice would you give?

Tim Hodges 23:12

Well, for Hiring Managers, I would say it definitely is the start of a process. And, I mean, we’ve, we’ve written a lot about it at Gallup about the, the employee life cycle, but it’s about attracting and selecting and, and then onboarding, but you’re still recruiting through the onboarding process. I’ve consulted a lot with school districts and, and other organizations where they think they’ve got a position filled, and then that person doesn’t show up on the first day of work or the first day of school. You’ve got to keep them warm throughout the process. Maybe you’re interviewing now for a job that doesn’t start until 3 months from now. Check in with them every week or month, at least, you know, in between now and then, and tell them how excited you are to see them and, and all of that. So I think that, for Hiring Managers, recruit all the way through the finish line, and then, and then it becomes a retention; it just parlays itself right into retention. So I think that’s, I think that’s pretty key.

Tim Hodges 23:58

For the applicants — and Jim, you just touched on this; I was going to, I was thinking about how I might want to close our time, and I — be curious, but that goes both ways. If, as a consultant, if I walk in a room, and I just try and wow people with how much I know, some of them are going to think I’m interesting and knowledgeable and all that, and that’s fine. But if I go in there and ask a bunch of great questions, they’re gonna think I’m a genius. And I didn’t bring any new content or new information; I’m just curious and ask them a few good questions. Most people kind of know what they’re looking for, and you get them to talk that through. So if you’re an applicant going into a job interview, you better have three or four great questions to ask the Hiring Manager, because most likely, they’re gonna say, “Hey, do you have any questions for me?” And if you’re like, “No, I think it’s OK.” Or if you say, “Well, how many days do I have to come in the office?” or you get into transactional stuff, that can be a pretty quick turnoff to the Hiring Manager. So ask something about that manager. Ask them to talk about, What’s the best employee you have like? You know, Give me, give me an example of what success looks like in the role. And then they’re closing on a positive note and, and it’s not that kind of awkward thud at the end of an interview where you’re asking when they’re, when you’re going to hear back or how much does it pay or whatever; you can do all that on email later. So that’d be, that’d be my advice.

Jim Collison 25:10

And I’d add to that, have those questions practiced. Like, ask somebody else those questions; just say, “Hey, let me practice with you,” so, so that you’re just, they just, they just kind of flow. One final question, Tim: Not every student has access to a Strengths Institute, like we have at UNL. We’ve got a lot of great institutions around the world that are using strengths. But for a student who’s struggling in that, maybe at an institution where they don’t have it, what kind of tools would be available to them, maybe online or available in one of our, one of our books?

Tim Hodges 25:40

It’s almost like you’re the host of a podcast that’s got, you know, hundreds of thousands of views and millions of views. There’s so much content that’s out there already. And most of it’s true, especially the stuff that says it was produced by Gallup. So go online. There’s so much out there. You don’t have to take the CliftonStrengths assessment, although it’s only a few dollars to do that; it’s probably worth it. But, but, but even if you don’t do that, go to the library. You don’t even have to buy the book; just go check it out of the library and, and read through and get familiar with that language and that mindset of strengths. I think that can really move you forward. But there’s so much available online that, that Gallup and other organizations — I mean, other, other coaches and Certified Coaches have produced that’s, that’s really good stuff to help you dig in more to your own themes. And it’s great if you can hire a coach and get ready for the interview process, but just have a few conversations. For the price of a cup of coffee, everybody’s got a friend that would sit down and, you know, have a conversation. And that can prepare you for an interview, because I think when we’re at our best, an interview is like a great conversation.

Jim Collison 26:38

Thank you so much for listening to today’s episode of the CliftonStrengths Podcast. Make sure you like and subscribe wherever you listen, so you never miss an episode. And if you’re really enjoying this podcast, please leave a review. This helps us promote strengths globally.

Tim Hodges’ Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Maximizer, Relator, Belief, Woo and Positivity.

Learn more about using CliftonStrengths to help yourself and others succeed:

Gallup®, CliftonStrengths® and each of the 34 CliftonStrengths theme names are trademarks of Gallup. Copyright © 2000 Gallup, Inc. All rights reserved.

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