Sunday, August 1, 2010


My first significant interview was when I was changing schools in Class 9. Prior to that, school changes had been handled by my parents and in those days, toddlers and kids were spared the horrors of gruelling interrogations on stuff like metaphors and the fibonacci series. At least that was the case in Patna in the late 1980s and 90s.
Moving ahead, the point that I am coming to is whether it is an interview for an admission to a new school, or college or a job, one of the commonly asked question is "What are your strengths and weaknesses ?". Or in management lingo, do a SWOT analysis of yourself, with greater emphasis on the S and the W. And if one has the company of experienced and sensible seniors and elders around, it is quite likely that people will advise you to prepare for such a question. I too had been lucky and would always go prepared mentally for facing such a question. (It's another matter that the answers would never come out the way I had prepared, but then that's another story.)
Looking back, the strengths and weaknesses that I mentioned in my interview (or at least planned to) seem a little different to what I say are my current strengths and weaknesses. Rather more disturbingly, some of the qualities that I used to think were my strengths might be honestly put in the weakness bracket today.
And all this brought me to think that when I was younger, whether the strengths that I had mentioned, were more the qualities I wished I possessed rather than them being actually the qualities I possessed ? Was it the case of those qualites being more aspirational rather than real ? And to that a few qualities which I think the person on the other side of the table wants to listen and the S of SWOT is ready. I tend to think, that was the case. Having said that, I also believe it is a perfectly appropriate way of going about presenting yourself.
Wonder if anyone else feels on similar lines on the topic ?

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