The classic interview question: What are your strengths and weaknesses? Like most, I have always been able to provide an answer to this question, but did I really know what my strengths were? Did I really know how I respond under pressure and when my strengths might in fact become my weaknesses?
When I joined Talent Gateway, I had the opportunity to undertake a Hogan Assessment. All employees are encouraged to take the psychometric test to build our self-awareness and understand what the process is like for our candidates.
After answering a series of multiple-choice questions about a range of work-related and non-work-related scenarios, a report was generated that summarised me. This has to be interpreted by a Hogan Assessor to fully understand what the results are telling you.
I sat down with my manager and awaited the results. Interestingly the first thing I was told was that the report highlighted I was likely to focus on my weaknesses rather than celebrate my strengths so extra care should be taken when sharing the results. And true to form I did! But having this raised to me at the beginning enabled me to review the reports again and actually pick out some of my strengths – eager to learn, hardworking, detail orientated and self-disciplined.
So what did I learn from the process?
Hogan looks at what you value, what motivates you, but also crucially potential ‘derailers’ – characteristics that emerge only under stress. The last was particularly useful for me. My strengths in diligence and evaluating risk become weaknesses for me when I am stressed or fatigued. Diligence changes to perfectionism and micro-managing and I become too conservative and risk-averse under pressure – significantly more so than the average person.
This was a genuine moment of self-awareness for me and it was only later when I contemplated this in more detail that I could see how it could have impacted former business decisions or the way I responded to a situation both at work and in my personal life.
Has it made me more self-aware?
Change doesn’t happen overnight, but I am finding even over a year after completing the Hogan assessments, I am still using it as an internal check. If I am averse to something, I know to double-check it – is it because I genuinely think the risk is too high or is this exaggerated because I’m tired after my toddler kept me awake all night! I recognise when my diligence becomes perfectionism – and work hard to prevent myself from spending an extra two hours formatting a document that is already good to go.
I do also try to recognise my strengths more and when I am given feedback, ensure I listen to all the positives which can really help build confidence.
Being open with colleagues continues that self-awareness
As a member of a small team, we openly discuss our own strengths and weaknesses and recognise when they are coming into play. It is a really helpful way to keep that self-evaluation and awareness going and acknowledge when your interaction may be affected in the workplace.
Being self-aware in the workplace can make you a happier employee and a better leader. Self-evaluating can boost confidence. Not only can you better understand your strengths and weaknesses but how this may impact your colleagues. If you are interested in having a Hogan Assessment completed, contact Talent Gateway on 0203 034 0420 or email email@example.com.