John Silber Flunks an Interview
Interview is a word that has different “contexts.” It’s one thing when you are being interviewed for a job and the goal is to get the committee to hire you. It’s another when you are being interviewed by a reporter (in the sense that you are less likely to care about pleasing a lowly newscaster).
Though, perhaps, the two aren’t so different. “The people” were watching. And they decided not to hire Silber, in part, many think, because of this incident.
The question — what are your strengths and weakness? — is a fairly common one in interview settings. He hits the ball out of the park with the first part of the question (“strengths” — seriously, if ever interviewed for a leadership position, you might want to copy it). But no one would give an interview committee his answer for the second part (“weaknesses”) and expect to get hired.
Though he does try to rehabilitate his angry response by refocusing back on his strengths and gives an amusing bluster about “clear[ing people] out.”
Silber had tons of bluster (but a lot of substance as well). He reminds me a bit of Gov. Christie (NJ). Christie, an attorney, is no dummy. But he didn’t have Dr. Silber’s brains (Silber was a respected Kant scholar in the academy).
Silber was also, unlike Christie, quite small in stature (and had one deformed arm). Which proves you don’t necessarily have to be big and scrapping to project a commanding leadership presence (though that does help).
Still, where the people in NJ tend to dig Christie’s leadership bluster, Silber’s turned the people of Mass. off.