I came across this article -- "Youâ€™re probably answering these 5 common interview questions wrong
" -- some days ago. It left a bad taste in my mouth, but I couldn't quite pin down what was disturbing me.
I think this might be it, in a nutshell:
3. What is your greatest weakness?[...] Donâ€™t lie, but instead prepare to answer with a â€œweaknessâ€ thatâ€™s actually a strength. Say, â€œI am a perfectionist who is always striving for excellence, even when it means I push myself too hard on a project.â€ Or â€œIâ€™m driven to make my team the best, most successful sales team. This means the people working for me need to have aspirational goals as well.â€
These behaviors are ones that will be perceived as strengths, assuming they are whatâ€™s needed in the role you will be playing.
If I can't be completely honest with an employer because they're going to always assume I'm presenting myself in my best light (and therefore if I'm honest with them about a weakness, the reality must be even worse), do I really want to work for them??
...other than for reasons of economic coercion, of course, which is what this is ultimately all about: the employer wants to know how hard you're going to try to compromise your principles on their behalf, because that's a signal of future obedience.
They want to know that you'll grind yourself down to the metal pretending you don't have any real flaws -- that you'll side with the strong over the weak rather than reveal your own weaknesses, and thus help them preserve their power.