“What are your strengths?” a Useless Question

“What are your strengths?” a Useless Question

Have you ever left a job interview feeling stripped down and misjudged? Have you ever followed up later and seen who actually got the job with your head shaking, “How is this possible?

In a time where sociopathy is on the rise, “What are your strengths?” seems like a useless question to ask during any job interview. No one, sociopathic or not, is most likely inclined to admit to personal flaws. We tell them that we are honest, have integrity, are always punctual, love working in teams, and have absolutely no problem with over time… whether it is true or not. Even if it is true, the question strangely puts an honest person into an awkward position, who fears to come across like a liar because it is simply everyone’s spiel. This person’s nervousness is palpable in the room, and thus, he/she will be misjudged and disqualified.

In comes the sociopath, who, with his/her superficial charm and talent to manipulate, will succeed to quickly bond with the potential employer and find the right words to hit every nail on the head. Despite his/her lack of qualifications, the sociopath gets the job. Like us, he/she claims to have all these strengths above while keeping a cool demeanor even as he/she blatantly lies into the boss’s face. Sociopaths seem to appear ever so likeable and perfect for every job, but can their statements about themselves stand the test of time? Usually not.

Just like in any other relationship, private or professional, it is actions over words that will show whether an employer has made the right choice. And just like in any other relationship, it is learning from each other and growing together; social skills the sociopath is lacking in, and proving once again, the irony involved in the question, “What are your strengths?”

Keep in mind though: Relationships are a mutual thing, so you might as well want to learn about a company’s strengths before you make a wrong decision. In this day and age, employees clearly have the inside track with online reviews.

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