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Gallup Interview Method: What It Is and How to Prepare

Written By Rachelle Enns on May 20th, 2020
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Rachelle Enns
Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter who helps everyone from students to fortune 500 executives find success in their career.
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In this guide, Mock Questions will teach you about the Gallup interview method and how to best approach this style of interview. We discuss the intention behind the Gallup method and offer tips to help you prepare. We also provide you with sample questions and answers that you may face in a Gallup style job interview.

WHAT IS THE GALLUP INTERVIEW METHOD?

Gallup is a model of interviewing that aims to reveal a job candidate’s future potential and success. The questions in a Gallup style interview focus on factors such as existing talents, most significant competencies, and predictors of success based on a candidates’ previous results.

The Gallup interview method seeks to uncover:

  • Stories of past successes and career wins

  • The emerging strengths of a job seeker

  • Top skills that come most naturally to the job seeker


The Gallup interview method focuses less on finding ‘red flags’ or negative traits in a candidate and; instead aims to draw out a candidates’ natural talents.

By putting a greater focus on strengths, Gallup style interviews can be a much more positive experience for a job seeker, versus the traditional rapid-fire style interview method.

Gallup interview questions ask the job seeker to describe their most considerable natural talents, as applied in everyday life and a workplace setting. By focusing on past successes as a predictor of future success, the Gallup interview presents a more relaxed and natural approach to most interviewers and interviewees.

HISTORY OF THE GALLUP INTERVIEW METHOD

Gallup is a global analytics, management, and consulting firm that specializes in helping its clients overcome issues and optimize performance around the attitudes and behaviors of employees.
Gallup has created multiple world-renowned people management tools that are widely used by companies such as Stryker.

Founded on the psychology principles of a man named Don Clifton, Gallup has introduced well-researched and proven interview techniques that help companies to uncover the traits that help people succeed in particular jobs or occupations.

Another tool from Gallup, called the CliftonStrengths Assessment, is widely used when assessing candidates or considering employees for internal promotions. The CliftonStrengths themes should be a consideration during a Gallup style interview. CliftonStrengths has 34 themes divided into 4 pillars:

  • Strategic Thinking

  • Relationship Building

  • Influencing

  • Executing


The idea is that, once a candidate’s strengths are revealed, maximum potential can be reached.

THE 4 PILLARS & 34 THEMES

CliftonStrengths has 34 themes, divided among 4 pillars. To better understand the themes (or strengths) that an interviewer may be looking to discover during a Gallup style interview, take some time to think about which traits describe you most accurately.



STRATEGIC THINKING
Analytical
Context
Futuristic
Ideation


Input
Intellection
Learner
Strategic





RELATIONSHIP BUILDING
Adaptability
Connectedness
Developer
Empathy
Harmony


Includer
Individualization
Positivity
Relator





INFLUENCING
Activator
Command
Communication
Competition
Maximizer


Self-Assurance
Significance
Woo





EXECUTING
Achiever
Arranger
Belief
Consistency
Deliberative


Discipline
Focus
Responsibility
Restorative




These 34 themes may not mean a lot to you now if you are just being introduced to the Gallup approach; however, we recommend diving deeper if you will be participating in a Gallup style job interview. More information is available on the Gallup website.

Because all Gallup style interview questions are situational, behavioral, performance-based, or personal in nature, you will perform at your best if you get to know yourself and your natural strengths on a deeper level.

TIPS TO PREPARE FOR A GALLUP-STYLE INTERVIEW

Gallup interview questions should be answered naturally and with ease. For this reason, we recommend that you review but not over-prepare for a Gallup style interview. The interviewer will expect you to answer questions honestly while spotlighting your true personality and genuine character. For this reason, you will want to avoid sounding rehearsed or robotic.

THINK back to your previous work experiences, achievements. Revisit the highs and the lows of your education and career. Understanding your career path and future goals will help you to form more natural responses.

Think of...

  • A time when you acted like a leader without being asked

  • A time when someone needed your help, and you jumped right in

  • A time when your integrity was tested, and you came out on top

  • A time when you were in a competitive situation and thrived

  • A time when you used self-motivation to get through a challenge

  • A time when you delivered more than expected in the workplace

  • A time when you quickly adapted to a major change

  • A time when you showed great initiative

  • A time when you used creativity to solve a problem


LEARN the STAR method. When answering the behavioral and situational-based interview questions often presented in a Gallup style interview, the STAR method will help you to keep your response relevant, easy to follow, and on track.

Situation: The background information an interviewer needs to make sense of your story. You are setting the stage, like a comedian, about to give the punch line.

Task: Continuing to set the stage, you then give the interviewer an idea of your role and responsibilities in this specific story.

Action: Next, you offer a detailed description of the steps you took to tackle the situation.

Result: Last, you talk about the specific achievements and outcomes that resulted from your actions.

For a complete lesson on this framework, check out the Mock Questions guide to STAR.

RELAX and remain in the moment as much as possible. Be honest and go to your interview prepared to give answers that showcase your strengths and character.

EXAMPLES OF GALLUP STYLE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

GALLUP STYLE QUESTION #1: What does being competitive mean to you? How competitive are you?

ANSWER ADVICE: A person who understands the true meaning of competition knows that healthy competition can help them to improve personally and professionally. They do not see competition as an intimidating factor but rather an opportunity to become better at a particular skill or situation. Talk about a time when you were placed in a competitive situation and thrived. Your example should be work-related.

EXAMPLE ANSWER: "On a scale of 1-10, I would rank my competitiveness as an 8. I like to compete internally, and I will create small milestones for myself at work, attaching the goal to a time limit. For instance, if I complete the data entry for 50 new customers in under 3 hours, then I can reward myself with a quick coffee break. I like to beat my time limits and will play small games like this with myself throughout the day until all of my tasks are complete. When it comes to being competitive in a team setting, I like to rise above the rest by being the hardest worker and the fastest to respond when a customer has a need. With that said, I spend most of my time uplifting my coworkers and helping them to succeed."

GALLUP STYLE QUESTION #2: Tell me about a time when you felt successful.

ANSWER ADVICE: The first purpose of this question is for the interviewer to discover how you define success. The second purpose of this question is to identify one of the proudest moments in your career. Times when we feel most successful, are usually attached to our most significant accomplishments; however, everyone defines success differently. Your example does not need to be a grand 'I saved the world' moment. You may feel most successful when you help someone else achieve a goal they thought would never be possible. Perhaps you finished your post-secondary education top of your class despite struggling with a learning disability. Or, maybe you were promoted after working tirelessly for months to gain career advancement.

EXAMPLE ANSWER: "I feel the most successful at work when I exceed the goals given to me by my corporate head office. As a Territory Sales Representative, I am competitive and always want to do better than the expectations put on me. This year I made Presidents' Club and was in the top 10 for sales revenue. I felt much pride in my work and was thrilled with my accomplishment."

GALLUP STYLE QUESTION #3: Would you prefer to earn a set salary or be offered an uncapped pay based on performance?

ANSWER ADVICE: This question may not seem like a behavioral-based inquiry, but it sure is! If you have worked in a highly commission-based role in the past, you know that it takes a considerable amount of focus, dedication, and methodology to succeed. Often, commission-based positions do not cap your pay, meaning the reward can be much higher than an opportunity with a set salary. There is no right or wrong answer so, be true to your preference, properly backing your position and reinforcing your strong work ethic.

EXAMPLE ANSWER: "I have worked in commission-based roles in the past with no base salary, and my potential commission earnings were uncapped. I loved it! With this pay structure, I felt in control of my earnings and found it to be not only exciting but also motivating at the same time. I thrived in this environment and would certainly do it again."

GALLUP STYLE QUESTION #4: Tell me about a time when you provided honest feedback to a coworker.

ANSWER ADVICE: There is an art to giving honest feedback, and the interviewer would like to know that you are capable of this delicate task. Giving great feedback means that you are specific, you make the feedback actionable, and you provide a clear timeline for when you’d like to see a positive change. Discuss any formal training you have received on giving feedback, or a book you have read on the topic. Perhaps you use a particular methodology that works every time!

EXAMPLE ANSWER: "When providing feedback, I like to use the 3x3 method, which I was trained on in my first management position. With this method, I offer up three strengths and three potential areas for development. Recently, I had a team member who was often late to work, or would call in sick. I let her know that she was well-liked by her coworkers. I told her that our clients complimented her customer service skills. I said I appreciated her willingness to help new hires. Then, I proceeded to let her know that her team felt disappointed, hurt, and lost trust in her whenever she would call in sick, leave early, or show up late to her shift. Together we worked on a 30-day perfect attendance plan. In the end, she did much better and, although her attendance was not perfect, it significantly improved."

GALLUP STYLE QUESTION #5: What is the kindest thing a boss has ever said to you? How did the compliment make you feel, and did you agree with the praise?

ANSWER ADVICE: This question is another version of 'What is your biggest strength,' since the basis of the inquiry is to find out the best qualities that others see in you. The second of this question is to know if you are the type to accept compliments and if you are capable of seeing your strengths and greatness! It's always good to be a humble person, but are you able to take it graciously when people say kind things about your work and efforts?

EXAMPLE ANSWER: "It can be hard for me to accept compliments at times. I am a naturally humble person; however, it does feel nice to earn verbal recognition for a job well done. Recently, I completed a client project one week ahead of schedule. My client was so impressed that they called and gave me a rave review. The review touched on my prompt communication, my phone and email etiquette, and my strong level of organization and time management. It felt so good to have my hard work recognized that I couldn't help but smile ear to ear. I then used this positive feedback as a basis for my pitch to take on larger clients with more significant project budgets."

IN CONCLUSION

Although Gallup style interviews focus on your strengths, it's essential also to unpack areas where there is room for improvement. Be sure to show your interviewer that you have a healthy balance of understanding your strengths and possessing a desire to grow and learn.

If you are preparing for a Gallup style interview, be sure to check out Mock Questions' practice set, where we outline 30 questions often used in the Gallup interview method. We also provide advice and 60 helpful example answers.