Recruiting the Right People – Weaknesses
Updated: Dec 11, 2020
Why I think sharing my weaknesses is a strength.
During a hiring interview, if the interviewee asks no questions of me or the company, I like to drop two bomb questions on them. The first is, “What are three weaknesses you need to improve upon?” One of two things happen when you ask this question. They either grovel with coming up with even one weakness because they are so damn perfect, or they quickly reflect and answer. Those that answer continue with the interview. The rest of you that have zero weaknesses to work on clearly need to self-reflect because you are not perfect. If they answer with three weakness, then I give them my three weaknesses that I am always working. My three weakness are work/family balance, expecting too much from my employees, and cussing.
“My three weakness are work/family balance, expecting too much from my employees, and cussing.”
I take my role as the leader very seriously. I work every day as if it may be my last. There are a lot of people and their families that depend on my abilities to sustain and grow the companies weighs heavy on me. I also have thousands of investors and clients that have entrusted me with hundreds of millions of dollars and I do not take that lightly.
Unfortunately, the time spent with my family is sacrificed. I tend to carry around a lot of guilt due to my self-inflicted workaholic lifestyle. During the week, I try to limit my hours to 60 hours a week. On the weekends, they get my undivided attention.
My second weakness is that I expect too much from people, which turns to disappointment. Not everyone is cut out to be a leader or wants to be. Although I personally cannot fathom settling into a position with no desire for advancement, most can and do, and that is hard for me to comprehend. At the same time, these positions need to be occupied with reliable, hardworking employees. The other reality is that many people do not want the level of responsibility or stress that being a member of management brings with the position. I even have those days when I imagine what it would be like. That thought only lasts for a minute because it is not for me. Within this weakness, I also find myself frustrated by the lack of desire. As a company grows management must rely more on employees to point out weaknesses or cracks in the system. I am always encouraging my management staff to encourage their employees to help define improved processes and procedures. It is not that employees do not want to do better, it is that past employers have not encouraged employee input, so they just keep doing the same thing even though they know there is a better way. For this reason, I interview candidates for more than an hour. It gives the candidate and I an opportunity to determine how they and I will work to improve company employee relations.
My third weakness is my mouth. I am not hundred percent sure where my foul mouth came from, but it is a very hard habit to break. On a professional level, I have found myself working with many men and/or being in a heavily dominated male industry. Although not an excuse, I tend to find myself mirroring the conversations around me. The saying of you become what you hang out with is true and I am living proof. I believe I found a constructive way to break this habit or at reduce the habit. For one year each time I cussed I notified it through a hash mark on a piece of paper throughout the year. Each hash mark would equal a $10 contribution to a swear jar. At the end of the year the employees put their favorite charity in a hat, and I pull one out and wrote a check for the total number of hash marks. And yes, this was over a $10,000 donation. I figured this was a way to show employees that working on our weakness always has a good outcome. What they did not realize is that when I talk about my weaknesses and make them known it helps me make personal improvements and point out my flaws.
“People that can self-reflect and have a willingness to make improvements on themselves, in turn, creates a better employee.”
Those candidates that have an ability to point out their weaknesses makes them real people. People that can self-reflect and have a willingness to make improvements on themselves, in turn, creates a better employee. The second question I ask is, “What three words would you put on your tombstone to describe you as a person”? There are three words that are used 9 times out of 10: hard-working, loyal, and passionate. Seriously…? This is what every employer wants to hear, but not me. I want to know the person, not the employee. I seriously doubt upon your death you are thinking about how your employer would define you as a person. How many employers will go to your funeral? You get my point. For those that answer anything but those three words, and have weaknesses to improve upon, you are hired.