Turning a Weakness into a Strength

Business Support

When I am interviewing candidates, I ask the question ‘What are your strengths?’. People often screw up their faces before they respond! I enjoy watching the reaction – it gives me an indication of the preparation they’ve done prior to the interview. However, this is a common question and candidates are more than happy to explain what they are good at.

The standard follow-up question I ask is regarding weaknesses. Again, I often get the screwed up face as a response. This question is important because being able to self-reflect greatly increases the chance to improve. I have had candidates say to me (with a blank expression) that they have no weaknesses. In my opinion, that is a weakness in itself. While I have always had the ‘glass-is-half-full’ approach, it is important to identify weaknesses to improve.

When I speak to candidates, they usually come up with various weaknesses they would like to work on. Sometimes, they don’t answer the question correctly and digress onto another topic. The first step is as above – to identify this and use it to your ability. I decided to take a leaf out of my own book, do some self-assessment, and have a look at my weaknesses. I came up with the following:

  • Time management
  • Easily distracted
  • Dinosaurs (whoops, as above)
  • Empathy

Throughout my career, there has been one weakness in particular that has plagued me; that is, being easily distracted. I have identified this weakness and have put certain strategies into practice in order to prevent this from happening. Far too often we can get carried away in the office banter (guilty) and lose track of what we are doing.

What is the point of this? As a recruiter, I am constantly looking for areas of improvement in candidates – in some cases, we can be quite critical. Anyone in a business environment should be self-reflecting on how they can improve. At Madison, we understand this and do our best to help get results – not only for our clients, but also for our candidates. Most candidates appreciate the feedback, as it improves their chances of success.

Since I’ve identified that I get easily distracted, I have made it my mission to keep focus and not wander off task. There have been considerable changes, and I notice that I get through more work as a result. Working in recruitment is busy, and at times, very challenging. We need all the help we can get, and turning a weakness into a strength has helped substantially.