Have you ever been in a job interview? Any clues on the question that can leave you completely stumped? No, it’s not the about the President/Prime Minister of a little known country. Not the profile/history or origin of the company either. Oh not an estimate of the number of cars that pass Delhi Noida Delhi flyway everyday or the units of pizza that a Pizza Hut outlet sells on a day either.
The question is, name your strengths and weaknesses. The first part is relatively easier to answer because you can always come up with qualities that will be useful for performing a task or managing a team or living a life. But when it comes to the weaknesses, there is never a satisfactory answer. This question is ominously present in every list of essential interview questions on the internet or in a real-time workshop. However with the question comes a long list of adjectives that can taint your impression in an interview. Sadly, the forbidden adjectives cover every possible weakness that can be thought of.
For instance, if I say I do let my heart dictate my mind at times, the interviewer can contradict by saying that in a corporate scenario the mind is always placed above the heart.
If I say that I have communication issues, the conclusion will be that I may face challenges while working in a team.
If I say that I am slightly dominating, one must think that I may not honor the established organizational hierarchies.
If I say that I am argumentative, then that makes me vulnerable to snap at my peers over petty matters.
If I say that I am impatient, then possibly I am going to create a ruckus over the delayed occurrence of appraisals and promotions.
If I am ambitious then I am certainly going to hop jobs.
If I am slow to adapt to change, then undoubtedly I am never going to fit in and that would hamper my performance.
My sense of humor is putting off, that implies that I am fond of passing snide remarks over other people in the name of jokes.
If I call myself impulsive then I am likely to make imprudent decisions far too often to ignore.
If I am judgmental, I am going to make more foes than friends, none of whom would be willing to work with me.
I am poor with meeting deadlines then I am never going to finish my assignments on time.
And finally if I camouflage a strength to fit the mold of a weakness, like I am a perfectionist, then one might think that I am too smug to confess to my shortcomings.
So The Fitting Conclusion
The point that I am trying to make over here is that in the entire exercise of acing an interview or coming up with intellectual answers, what we have entirely forgotten is the fact that the interviewee is a human being. He/She is bound to have a set of strengths as well as weaknesses, nobody is perfect or nobody comes up packaged with a combination of pros neutralizing their cons. Even if I succeed at window dressing my vulnerabilities in a thirty minute interview there is no assurance that I may not fall prey to them when countered with adversities. It seems that even though the interviewer specifically asks of a weakness they do not intend to accept any one as a legitimate answer. You know what that implies to me, a conflicted frame of mind. See, even I can form quick judgments about people I have known for not more than a few minutes. I shall make for one helluva interviewer some day.
P.S. Maybe I am still moping over a loss of a potential recruitment that I should have long forgotten. Hence this post for closure.