Good article from titled Answering the Weaknesses Question. I want to take a different tact on this article’s main point. First, if you are using interviews as a second step qualifier in your hiring process, an article like this one ought to give you pause. The article is a deep analysis of strategies to answering an interview question many companies use today.

But back to the point – Jerry Houser illuminates a great truth which is the title of this post. His further comment is just as insightful, “Strengths and weakness are situational. You have to know how to read your environment and use or moderate your skills in context.”

I want to divert from the gist of the article to apply Mr. Houser’s comments to writing an effective employment ad. More specifically, an effective sales employment ad. We track many ads and consistently see skill descriptions that would take 3 different salespeople to complete.

  • Must be a strong cold caller and offer superior customer service
  • Outgoing personality with excellent attention to detail
  • Driven self-starter with team mentality

None of these examples are egregious errors, but they present both sides of a strength. A strong cold caller tends to be less adept at customer service. Typically an outgoing personality does not have as much focus on details – their focus is on people. You get the point. Ads written in this manner create incredibly difficult hurdles for hiring. Prioritizing the critical needs of the position and then writing the ad allows for a better fit when assessing candidates for the position.

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