Sunil Babu Pant/Pahichan – It will be a ‘miracle of sort’ if I even get to the point where I am called for a job interview because the whole job application process is self-advertisement. The job selection process is never design to look at ‘who you are’, rather qualifies and disqualifies you for the job based on how good/bad you are to design the self-advertisement packages and plots (CV, reference letters, corporate antiquates like your dress code, the way to sit on the chair, your eye contact, smile and look confident even if your unhappy etc.). The whole modern-day job selection processes is designed to objectification of your-self and prepares you to submit to the company/organization/institution as an asset. They may offer you some sort of freedom and creativity, that too, to enhance the possibility of you becoming easy–objectification and better–asset to the company, otherwise your true freedom and creativity will be taken away if you ever get selected.
I have been into the stage of actual job interview twice in my life, which too, the jobs were recommended to me to apply by the friends who were insiders and they thought I qualify of the jobs but I miserably failed and in both occasions I didn’t even get any feedback from either of the organizations who interviewed me.
Let’s look at the actual job interview commonly asked questions and my observations why I will never know how to answer them that the interviewers may like to hear and, most importantly, why several questions, I find, so wrong for people who grew up in Asian (and other non-Western) Cultures:
1. What is your strength?
This is a question commonly asked in most interviews. You are expected to speak of your best quality or ability. I find this question hugely uncomfortable because I was taught not to talk about self-praising; we believe that praising about one’s abilities and strengths is the job of egoistic ignorant people. I felt so stupid trying to answer this question. And inflated ego is not something we appreciate. We are taught to appear humble and become humble. I already failed from the first question.
2. Why did you choose this field?
The interviewers actually wish to hear what qualifies you for the field you have chosen. When they ask you this question, you are expected to explain to them your special inclination for the field you have selected. You need to enumerate your skills and abilities that make you ideal for the field. This is when I find myself in awkward situation where I am so uncomfortable to ‘self-advertise’ and trying to do a ‘push-sale’ of myself. This idea is so diminishing to try to allow myself to objectification, something I can never do. And answering something like: “I choose this field because I enjoy doing ‘this or that’ which is closer to the job I will be doing if get selected and I hope to find ‘meaning of life’ here; will automatically disqualify you.
3. What are your skills and hobbies?
The interviewers will not get impressed with reading or painting or singing and dancing, listening or telling stories as skills and hobbies. They like to hear that you speak of hobbies that are relevant to the job. If you are applying for jobs that apply logic, you may reveal your special interest in solving puzzles. This is where you must prepare to give up your innate skills and hobbies that qualify you as a happy person, creative person. You must be prepare to adapt new hobbies and skills that fits to the job if you get selected. This is the start of submitting your genuine freedom and creativity.
4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
The modern day Employers (with corporate mindset, no matter which company or organization or institution the employer represent) seek candidates who have a vision for themselves and this vision must be in line with company/organization/institutions’ vision which is a tangible material growth. They like to hear that you set the highest achievable position as your goal. You are considered qualified if you are able to tell the interviewers that you wish to hold a particular senior position at the end of 5 years. But a person believing in ‘Karma-theory’ who might say: I believe in good-action/good-did now and don’t have (high) expectation for the future (of my karma now), will lead to the disqualification instantaneously. By this question you are told that you must always focus on the future, not the present moment they may enjoy and live. Such a wrong question to ask for a candidate who grew up in Asian (Karma) cultures, not the achievement-driven Western cultures.
5. Are you a good leader?
The modern day company, institution or organization desperately wants people with leadership qualities. The good leadership qualities are expected to excel in your field, they expect to hear from you about your ‘some sort of plan in life’ to ascend the ladder of success (ultimately more tangible material achievements). You are expected to have the ability to lead a team and get work done from other candidates (basically means ‘be in-control of the job environment’). What happens if you don’t value much of the tangible material achievement, rather you value more of the intangible intellectual and emotional achievements? And what happens if you don’t like to be a leader, rather you prefer to be ‘a coach’ or ‘a facilitator’ and create a job-environment that is not obsessed with “vision” but enjoys “here and now”? Will you still be selected?
6. What is your salary expectation and why?
This is again hugely uncomfortable question for me as in the process of answering this question I am putting ‘a monetary label’, ‘a price tag’ on myself, means I am ready to become an asset and I am OK with the objectification of myself. I am allowing the company/organization/institution to objectify also my intellectual and emotional side, if not only the physical side of myself. And you will be thoroughly assessed by the company, whether the price tag is actually lucrative enough for them or not, during your probation period if you ever get selected.
So the job selection process is just a preparation for the submission of your genuine freedom and creativity. A person who cherish freedom and creativity and refuses to sell the soul to the companies/organizations/institutions, I will never pass any modern day job interviews.
Thank you and Namaste !