How do you respond to the interview question, "What is your greatest weakness?"

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usmbguest5318

usmbguest5318

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I have an entirely different spin on this whole situation, being an emotionally sensitive type.

When you apply for a job, it is about the most vulnerable that a person can be. The power is all with the prospective employer. You get all gussied up and go to sit before a total stranger to be judged on one of the most important aspects of your life--knowledge, experience and the ability to do a job well. You are going, hat in hand, begging for work. As far as a power imbalance, it's about as close to the helplessness of being sold into slavery as most of us will ever come. It is all up to the decision of the prospective employer.

In this case, the guy is peremptorily rejected by the man with the power, who is sitting by a pool in the Bahamas, because he honestly answered a question. And the man at poolside not only crushed the guy beneath his heel, he continued with a vituperative rant about just what a moron he was:
I was so astounded that I emailed the people who did the preliminary "phone screen" and early stage interviews on the guy to inquire how his abject inanity and unfitness for our firm did not come through when they spoke with him. I was and remain incredulous that the guy made it far enough through the interview process that he got to talk to me.

So the nightmare of interviewing for a job and being rejected is compounded with the reminder that the interviewer is also judging our character, our intelligence and whatever else he sees fit to poke his nose into.

This story seems tailor made to emphasize how powerful the guy poolside is. The argument that he needed to pose a difficult question to see how the interviewee would respond would make sense if he actually asked a difficult question. But, as Xelor showed, it is such a common question that there are articles written about how to respond to it, so it's not really so hard, is it? Just a cool way to torture the mouse before biting out it's guts.

I have always enjoyed conversing with Xelor and he's a smart guy, but a little empathy and compassion would go a long way here, regardless of the decision he made. It's his business--literally--and he knows who fits in. To me that wasn't the point of the thread.
The power is all with the prospective employer....You are going, hat in hand, begging for work.
I and my colleagues don't see it that way. I doubt that most business owners see it that way. The reality is that in the exchange of labor for money, both parties receive what they want and need. Very few principals/firm establish staffing levels based on the notion of "how many people can they can help by exhibiting the largesse of giving them a job."

As far as a power imbalance, it's about as close to the helplessness of being sold into slavery as most of us will ever come.
The "imbalance" is that of any one individual rarely, if ever, being the only person who can perform adequately (or better) the tasks an employer needs done. At the end of the day, every employee, when they go seeking a job, is saying, "I have something to sell and you have stated you desire to purchase that which I am selling." Just as, for whatever reason(s), one chooses to purchase a Big Mac instead of a burrito, employers evaluate their options and purchase "Bill's" rather than "Bob's" labor.
In this case, the guy is peremptorily rejected by the man with the power, who is sitting by a pool in the Bahamas, because he honestly answered a question.
There was nothing peremptory going on.
His interview with me, when it started, was but a formality for (1) four of the five other partners on the interview team had emailed saying they recommend we hire the guy...I was of the mind that insofar as four partners thought the guy is "high quality," barring his really screwing up with me, his being hired was a "done deal," as they say.
Those factors combined to make me amenable to hiring the guy. The fact of the matter is that at the outset of the call, the guy was all but hired. I even was satisfied with him and his qualifications until he answered that question as he did.

In this case, the guy is peremptorily rejected by the man with the power, who is sitting by a pool in the Bahamas, because he honestly answered a question.
Like it or not, all employers have requirements that prospective workers must meet. One can frame those requirements in whatever jaundiced language one wants, but at the end of the day, the requirements remain and seekers of the job must meet them, all of them. As go the requirements evaluated by asking the "greatest weakness question, I've already discussed them and shown that mine is not the only firm that has them.
Among the firms that also have those requirements are the news organizations that have let go of reporters, editors, anchors, etc. who chose to say publicly things that do not align with their former firm's values. In most instances, the business (employee) requirements the person showed they lack in sufficient quantity are judgement and discretion. Those are not opprobrious qualities to demand of workers, including workers seeking/holding a position that pays over $300K/year, though, frankly the wage doesn't have much to do with it. Good judgement, thinking quickly on one's feet, and discretion are important qualities for workers at all pay grades.

So the nightmare of interviewing for a job and being rejected is compounded with the reminder that the interviewer is also judging our character, our intelligence and whatever else he sees fit to poke his nose into.
To the extent the employer/firm deems whatever be those qualities, they do and they are right to do so for nobody but a firm's owners/executive managers gets to decide what matters and what does not as goes the people from whom the firm purchases labor. One need not like a firm's definition of what matters and what doesn't in that regard, but liking it, one has two choices: (1) get over it and exhibit the requisite qualities to the best of one's ability, or (2) sell one's labor to a firm that doesn't think such things matter.

I have always enjoyed conversing with Xelor and he's a smart guy, but a little empathy and compassion would go a long way here, regardless of the decision he made. It's his business--literally--and he knows who fits in. To me that wasn't the point of the thread.
That wan't the point of the thread. It is, however, a point that, in response to someone's comment, I later made
TY, but I'm sure I know better than you what is the right way to handle anything and everything having to do with the interview process at my firm. I don't know what makes you think you can be so presumptuous as to tell me that I'm wrong about such a thing.
.​
Just sharing MY perspective. I am aware you have a different one. That doesn't make either of us "wrong," just viewing it differently.
In the abstract, I agree with you on that.
LOL But in this case, you are right. Yes?
Insofar as it's my firm, I was party to the full interview conversation I had with the guy, and it's my practice unit within the firm, absolutely.

I don't volunteer my qualitative POV on the personal "life-level" decisions others make, unless, of course, they ask for it. In this thread, I most certainly did not ask for input on my hiring decision. What I asked is how they respond to the question I noted. You did answer that question, and you did so directly and with integrity. The consequence of your having enough courtesy to do so is that I'm willing to banter about various abstractions pertaining to the use of "brain teaser" interview questions.
 
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OldLady

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I have an entirely different spin on this whole situation, being an emotionally sensitive type.

When you apply for a job, it is about the most vulnerable that a person can be. The power is all with the prospective employer. You get all gussied up and go to sit before a total stranger to be judged on one of the most important aspects of your life--knowledge, experience and the ability to do a job well. You are going, hat in hand, begging for work. As far as a power imbalance, it's about as close to the helplessness of being sold into slavery as most of us will ever come. It is all up to the decision of the prospective employer.

In this case, the guy is peremptorily rejected by the man with the power, who is sitting by a pool in the Bahamas, because he honestly answered a question. And the man at poolside not only crushed the guy beneath his heel, he continued with a vituperative rant about just what a moron he was:
I was so astounded that I emailed the people who did the preliminary "phone screen" and early stage interviews on the guy to inquire how his abject inanity and unfitness for our firm did not come through when they spoke with him. I was and remain incredulous that the guy made it far enough through the interview process that he got to talk to me.

So the nightmare of interviewing for a job and being rejected is compounded with the reminder that the interviewer is also judging our character, our intelligence and whatever else he sees fit to poke his nose into.

This story seems tailor made to emphasize how powerful the guy poolside is. The argument that he needed to pose a difficult question to see how the interviewee would respond would make sense if he actually asked a difficult question. But, as Xelor showed, it is such a common question that there are articles written about how to respond to it, so it's not really so hard, is it? Just a cool way to torture the mouse before biting out it's guts.

I have always enjoyed conversing with Xelor and he's a smart guy, but a little empathy and compassion would go a long way here, regardless of the decision he made. It's his business--literally--and he knows who fits in. To me that wasn't the point of the thread.
The power is all with the prospective employer....You are going, hat in hand, begging for work.
I and my colleagues don't see it that way. I doubt that most business owners see it that way. The reality is that in the exchange of labor for money, both parties receive what they want and need. Very few principals/firm establish staffing levels based on the notion of "how many people can they can help by exhibiting the largesse of giving them a job."

As far as a power imbalance, it's about as close to the helplessness of being sold into slavery as most of us will ever come.
The "imbalance" is that of any one individual rarely, if ever, being the only person who can perform adequately (or better) the tasks an employer needs done. At the end of the day, every employee, when they go seeking a job, is saying, "I have something to sell and you have stated you desire to purchase that which I am selling." Just as, for whatever reason(s), one chooses to purchase a Big Mac instead of a burrito, employers evaluate their options and purchase "Bill's" rather than "Bob's" labor.
In this case, the guy is peremptorily rejected by the man with the power, who is sitting by a pool in the Bahamas, because he honestly answered a question.
There was nothing peremptory going on.
His interview with me, when it started, was but a formality for (1) four of the five other partners on the interview team had emailed saying they recommend we hire the guy...I was of the mind that insofar as four partners thought the guy is "high quality," barring his really screwing up with me, his being hired was a "done deal," as they say.
Those factors combined to make me amenable to hiring the guy. The fact of the matter is that at the outset of the call, the guy was all but hired. I even was satisfied with him and his qualifications until he answered that question as he did.

In this case, the guy is peremptorily rejected by the man with the power, who is sitting by a pool in the Bahamas, because he honestly answered a question.
Like it or not, all employers have requirements that prospective workers must meet. One can frame those requirements in whatever jaundiced language one wants, but at the end of the day, the requirements remain and seekers of the job must meet them, all of them. As go the requirements evaluated by asking the "greatest weakness question, I've already discussed them and shown that mine is not the only firm that has them.
Among the firms that also have those requirements are the news organizations that have let go of reporters, editors, anchors, etc. who chose to say publicly things that do not align with their former firm's values. In most instances, the business (employee) requirements the person showed they lack in sufficient quantity are judgement and discretion. Those are not opprobrious qualities to demand of workers, including workers seeking/holding a position that pays over $300K/year, though, frankly the wage doesn't have much to do with it. Good judgement, thinking quickly on one's feet, and discretion are important qualities for workers at all pay grades.

So the nightmare of interviewing for a job and being rejected is compounded with the reminder that the interviewer is also judging our character, our intelligence and whatever else he sees fit to poke his nose into.
To the extent the employer/firm deems whatever be those qualities, they do and they are right to do so for nobody but a firm's owners/executive managers gets to decide what matters and what does not as goes the people from whom the firm purchases labor. One need not like a firm's definition of what matters and what doesn't in that regard, but liking it, one has two choices: (1) get over it and exhibit the requisite qualities to the best of one's ability, or (2) sell one's labor to a firm that doesn't think such things matter.

I have always enjoyed conversing with Xelor and he's a smart guy, but a little empathy and compassion would go a long way here, regardless of the decision he made. It's his business--literally--and he knows who fits in. To me that wasn't the point of the thread.
That wan't the point of the thread. It is, however, a point that, in response to someone's comment, I later made
TY, but I'm sure I know better than you what is the right way to handle anything and everything having to do with the interview process at my firm. I don't know what makes you think you can be so presumptuous as to tell me that I'm wrong about such a thing.
.​
Just sharing MY perspective. I am aware you have a different one. That doesn't make either of us "wrong," just viewing it differently.
In the abstract, I agree with you on that.
LOL But in this case, you are right. Yes?
Insofar as it's my firm, I was party to the full interview conversation I had with the guy, and it's my practice unit within the firm, absolutely.
If you re-read my response, I never said it wasn't. As a matter of fact, I specifically said it was up to you
 
OP
usmbguest5318

usmbguest5318

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I have an entirely different spin on this whole situation, being an emotionally sensitive type.

When you apply for a job, it is about the most vulnerable that a person can be. The power is all with the prospective employer. You get all gussied up and go to sit before a total stranger to be judged on one of the most important aspects of your life--knowledge, experience and the ability to do a job well. You are going, hat in hand, begging for work. As far as a power imbalance, it's about as close to the helplessness of being sold into slavery as most of us will ever come. It is all up to the decision of the prospective employer.

In this case, the guy is peremptorily rejected by the man with the power, who is sitting by a pool in the Bahamas, because he honestly answered a question. And the man at poolside not only crushed the guy beneath his heel, he continued with a vituperative rant about just what a moron he was:
I was so astounded that I emailed the people who did the preliminary "phone screen" and early stage interviews on the guy to inquire how his abject inanity and unfitness for our firm did not come through when they spoke with him. I was and remain incredulous that the guy made it far enough through the interview process that he got to talk to me.

So the nightmare of interviewing for a job and being rejected is compounded with the reminder that the interviewer is also judging our character, our intelligence and whatever else he sees fit to poke his nose into.

This story seems tailor made to emphasize how powerful the guy poolside is. The argument that he needed to pose a difficult question to see how the interviewee would respond would make sense if he actually asked a difficult question. But, as Xelor showed, it is such a common question that there are articles written about how to respond to it, so it's not really so hard, is it? Just a cool way to torture the mouse before biting out it's guts.

I have always enjoyed conversing with Xelor and he's a smart guy, but a little empathy and compassion would go a long way here, regardless of the decision he made. It's his business--literally--and he knows who fits in. To me that wasn't the point of the thread.
The power is all with the prospective employer....You are going, hat in hand, begging for work.
I and my colleagues don't see it that way. I doubt that most business owners see it that way. The reality is that in the exchange of labor for money, both parties receive what they want and need. Very few principals/firm establish staffing levels based on the notion of "how many people can they can help by exhibiting the largesse of giving them a job."

As far as a power imbalance, it's about as close to the helplessness of being sold into slavery as most of us will ever come.
The "imbalance" is that of any one individual rarely, if ever, being the only person who can perform adequately (or better) the tasks an employer needs done. At the end of the day, every employee, when they go seeking a job, is saying, "I have something to sell and you have stated you desire to purchase that which I am selling." Just as, for whatever reason(s), one chooses to purchase a Big Mac instead of a burrito, employers evaluate their options and purchase "Bill's" rather than "Bob's" labor.
In this case, the guy is peremptorily rejected by the man with the power, who is sitting by a pool in the Bahamas, because he honestly answered a question.
There was nothing peremptory going on.
His interview with me, when it started, was but a formality for (1) four of the five other partners on the interview team had emailed saying they recommend we hire the guy...I was of the mind that insofar as four partners thought the guy is "high quality," barring his really screwing up with me, his being hired was a "done deal," as they say.
Those factors combined to make me amenable to hiring the guy. The fact of the matter is that at the outset of the call, the guy was all but hired. I even was satisfied with him and his qualifications until he answered that question as he did.

In this case, the guy is peremptorily rejected by the man with the power, who is sitting by a pool in the Bahamas, because he honestly answered a question.
Like it or not, all employers have requirements that prospective workers must meet. One can frame those requirements in whatever jaundiced language one wants, but at the end of the day, the requirements remain and seekers of the job must meet them, all of them. As go the requirements evaluated by asking the "greatest weakness question, I've already discussed them and shown that mine is not the only firm that has them.
Among the firms that also have those requirements are the news organizations that have let go of reporters, editors, anchors, etc. who chose to say publicly things that do not align with their former firm's values. In most instances, the business (employee) requirements the person showed they lack in sufficient quantity are judgement and discretion. Those are not opprobrious qualities to demand of workers, including workers seeking/holding a position that pays over $300K/year, though, frankly the wage doesn't have much to do with it. Good judgement, thinking quickly on one's feet, and discretion are important qualities for workers at all pay grades.

So the nightmare of interviewing for a job and being rejected is compounded with the reminder that the interviewer is also judging our character, our intelligence and whatever else he sees fit to poke his nose into.
To the extent the employer/firm deems whatever be those qualities, they do and they are right to do so for nobody but a firm's owners/executive managers gets to decide what matters and what does not as goes the people from whom the firm purchases labor. One need not like a firm's definition of what matters and what doesn't in that regard, but liking it, one has two choices: (1) get over it and exhibit the requisite qualities to the best of one's ability, or (2) sell one's labor to a firm that doesn't think such things matter.

I have always enjoyed conversing with Xelor and he's a smart guy, but a little empathy and compassion would go a long way here, regardless of the decision he made. It's his business--literally--and he knows who fits in. To me that wasn't the point of the thread.
That wan't the point of the thread. It is, however, a point that, in response to someone's comment, I later made
TY, but I'm sure I know better than you what is the right way to handle anything and everything having to do with the interview process at my firm. I don't know what makes you think you can be so presumptuous as to tell me that I'm wrong about such a thing.
.​
Just sharing MY perspective. I am aware you have a different one. That doesn't make either of us "wrong," just viewing it differently.
In the abstract, I agree with you on that.
LOL But in this case, you are right. Yes?
Insofar as it's my firm, I was party to the full interview conversation I had with the guy, and it's my practice unit within the firm, absolutely.
If you re-read my response, I never said it wasn't. As a matter of fact, I specifically said it was up to you
I take no exception with your doing so. I don't agree with your abstract perspective on the matter. We can each present our case on the matter, and that's fine. I certainly don't think ill of you for differing with me on it. I take exception with folks who, unlike you, step into the realm of presumptuousness.

The reason I wrote "absolutely," is because I don't volunteer my qualitative POV on the personal "life-level" decisions others make, unless, of course, they ask for it. In this thread, I most certainly did not ask for input on my hiring decision. What I asked is how they respond to the question I noted. You did answer that question, and you did so directly and with integrity, and it was clear you respect my decision in a situation that has nothing to do with you. The consequence of your having enough courtesy to do so is that I'm willing to banter about various abstractions pertaining to the use of "brain teaser" interview questions.
 

Penelope

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So you didn't ask him why he has been told that?
 

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