Job Interview: Should It Be A Psychoanalysis?

HDR on the Front Page (while I enjoy my soy green tea latte)
Job interview is no longer a mundane affair. If you are searching for a job, then expect your job interview to be much more than a professional encounter. Nowadays, interviewers tend to ask questions which you least expect.

A question like, ‘what is your greatest weakness?’ may be thrown at you. And this could put you in a tight corner. Should you confide your fears, your flaws and your darkest dreams to total, judgmental strangers? Don’t they know, in a recession time, job security could be the worst fear of many applicants?

Can asking this question elicit an honest answer? Majority of experts say no. Keith Murnighan, a distinguished professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, says bluntly, “It’s (What is your greatest weakness) a stupid question. It’s basically unethical,” because it tempts people to say something silly and disingenuous just to please someone with the power to hire and fire.

Many experts question the merit of a job interview turning into Psychoanalysis. Recently, Dear Lucy, the workplace advice column written by Lucy Kellaway in the Financial Times, ran a letter from a 52-year-old unemployed male. In the letter, the unemployed male shared his experience of being asked a question of what is your greatest weakness. To this, he replied

‘Why don’t you ask my wife?’ I didn’t get the job.”

Answer like this could take the pressure to other side. But at the same time, you may end up as a loser – not getting the job, which you are qualified for. That’s why experts advise against corporate interview crossing the line. It should be strictly a professional encounter, they believe.

Adapted from When A Job Interview Turns Into A Psychoanalysis, NPR.

Read the complete article here.

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