I started by giving informal training talks to colleagues, then helping out a trainer on a one day event, then occasionally travelling abroad to train airline staff – all while mostly doing the day job, where I was seen as a subject matter expert.
Realising it was the training that had captured my interest, I seized the chance to join a newly expanding full time training unit, inducting, training and developing new and established colleagues.
My employer funded my CIPD training, which led to a professional training qualification and a new way of thinking and talking about myself and my work as a trainer ‘brand’.
And then came the unthinkable – redundancy. But with it came a new beginning, the chance to reinvent and grow. That redundancy was the best thing that could have happened. Today, I’m an actor, voice artist and learning and development consultant. My business, Speaking Well In Public, trains confident public speaking, leadership, train the trainer and employability essentials.
I offer short L&D contracts, 1-1 coaching to private clients and corporate development programmes.
Each new step happened because I said ‘yes’ to a new chance. So what’s your story?
How to answer the ‘what’s your weakness’ interview question
I’ve been having a conversation on Twitter after reading a call to interviewers to ditch the ‘what’s your greatest weakness?’ question, and just talk about the job itself, instead.
I got to wondering about the thinking behind telling us to ditch these questions. Yes, everyone ends up turning their weaknesses into a strength, and few candidates will reveal a significant weakness.
So does the question serve any purpose?
I always advise candidates to avoid the wrong answer [‘I don’t have any’], comedy answers (‘chocolate’) and disguised boasts (‘I’m a shocking perfectionist, just can’t rest til it’s perfect – terrible, I know, but that’s just the way I’m made!’).
It’s a great way to highlight your attitude to self development – what you’re actively doing to deal with something that could become an issue – and helps you feel more confident about acknowledging that nobody’s perfect and we can all learn.
Preparing to answer those questions, even if they’re never asked, helps boost a candidate’s confidence in their own abilities and self worth, and the interviewer can benefit from seeing that in action.
Underneath, it’s really not about a weakness list!