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Hiring for Your Strengths and Weaknesses

By Beth Oleson, Account Executive

Most of us have this image in our minds of who we are – the way we look, the way we’re perceived and received, the way we work, etc. And let me tell you, in my head I’m a version of Heidi Klum that’s extremely organized, poised with executive presence and just the right amount of humor. A forward thinking leader scanning the horizon for potential opportunities and hurdles, and one who is able to rally the troops with excitement and lead the team to the finish line with glorious results. Then I wake up and realize I have many of these traits in varying degrees but some may be much more grandiose than reality, and others are literally a dream (a.k.a. I will never be a blonde like Heidi Klum).

At this intersection of reality and inflated self-image, we have to figure out who we are and how we best work. These answers will affect how we approach the hiring of employees. I have hired some wonderful employees in the past who were very talented and fit well with this stately version of myself. However their talents were not always the best fit for my actual management style. They’ve been people I would be friends with, people that have many of MY strengths, and people who would be able to do my job as an association manager, should the need arise. But I’ve learned I don’t need to hire people just like me. I need to hire people who will compliment my strengths and weaknesses to serve our clients.

If you are in a place where you need to hire someone to work for you or alongside you, consider these helpful tips:

Stop and look at YOU, first

  • Take a personality test to understand more about YOU. Try to find a test that explains positive and negative attributes of your personality type, as well as which personalities may compliment you.
  • Ask trusted co-workers, supervisors, and even former employees what they perceive as your strengths and weaknesses.
  • These actions, as well as introspection, will help you determine your management style and how you do your work best. For example, are you a hands-off, empowering supervisor or are you a micromanager who desires control over the process and outcome? Both are acceptable; just be honest and hire for your style of work and management.

Advertise the actual job, not a fluffy, corporate-sanitized version of the job

  • Think about jobs and tasks you need someone to do. For example, answer emails promptly, answer phones and provide accurate information, attend marketing or member events on your behalf without supervision, oversee a project and work with a committee to develop deliverables for the client, manage an event budget, write articles, etc.
  • Think about the skill set and/or personality you feel could accomplish this job. This is where you have to take a look at your work and management style from point #1. What do you do well and enjoy? Are there tasks you need to give up to make room for a stronger executive focus and management? How can this person compliment you as well as enhance the services you both are providing to the client?
  • Read the job description. Make sure it is accurate and not overly inflated. Don’t be afraid to set out clear expectations in the job posting. HERE is one of my favorite job descriptions I’ve ever used. Feel free to plagiarize!

Hire the right personality and talent for the position

  • With so many millennials entering the work force, as well as previous named and unnamed generations still in the employee pool, be ready to give a description of a typical day in the life of the position. There are people looking for interaction and physical movement. There are others wanting to quietly sit at a computer checking tasks off a list. Then there is everyone in between. Hire someone that fits the needs of the position and make sure they have a clear explanation of day to day duties, office environment, co-worker and client interactions, etc.
  • Have other co-workers, or people exhibiting the talents and personality you are wanting to hire, review resumes and give opinions.

As a young manager with a fair amount of leadership skills and training, it took me a while (and a couple of employees) to step away from the cookie-cutter hiring process and figure out what worked for me. Now as a seasoned realist, understanding much more about my strengths and weaknesses, I have confidence in the job being advertised and the person to whom I am making an offer. Nothing is fool-proof, but these steps can help you be a better manager and partner with your employees and your clients.


Beth has been with ASG for 12 years. With a BSA in Agricultural Communications/Public Relations and a MS in Food Science (both from University of Georgia), being the Director of Food Safety for the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association was a natural fit. She is also the Executive Director for the Georgia Agritourism Association. In all her spare time she enjoys spending time with her AU loving husband, their super cute four-year old daughter, and laughing with friends over huge plates of food.