How do you respond to "What is tour greatest strength/weakness?" In interviews?

autoferrit profile image Shawn McElroy ・1 min read

Pretty much what the title says. In an inteview I have never not been asked the queariins:

What is tour greatest strength?
What is your greatest weakness?

I recently tried a response by telling them I had to tell mybweakneas first. My weakness is imposter syndrome. Feeling like I'm not qualified or that it some times gets to me when I see a 12 year old programming since 5 is at the same level as I am. Portraying that I know they're not but it feels that way.

And my strength is knowing that my persistence, attention to detail, and teamwork will always push me last that aa well as c9ntinute to make solid software.

The response seemed to go over well with them. I didn't get the job but it was a high demand position and didn't expect to. But I liked their responses with my answer.

How do you respond to these questions?


Doing my best to learn and build modern applications and tools and teach others what I know. I love to write tools and applications to help others, especially in my field, or those less fortunate. Eventually, hoping to solve bigger problems.


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I usually flip the script on this one a bit.

Asking you to talk about your weaknesses is a great opportunity for you to talk about what you're learning currently.

"Well, I was tasked with scaling out a web app at COMPANY X and realized I had to learn a few different technologies to make that work. I was able to implement some Docker containers and get everything set up locally, but got stuck with scaling. So I'm currently reading through some books and documentation on Kubernetes and AWS. I saw that those technologies are in your stack and am looking to find a workplace that can help me level up those particular skills."


Oh that’s a great way of turning the question to your side! I know my weaknesses and strengths, but the question sucks so much. I’m happy to tell you my weaknesses but I can fully understand the weight it holds.

Asking for opportunities is probably a better option. “What do you think you can do better?”.


Honestly, a lot of seemingly common interview questions are just really shitty.

Best to spin those somewhat positively. Telling a potential employer the things you're terrible at is just adding fodder to the list of reasons they shouldn't hire you.


This is a great suggestions. I'll just have to plan some responses based on the job I'm applying for. Thanks!


This reminds me of a great joke I've read on Twitter years ago:

What is your greatest weakness?

I'm honest.

But, I don't think this qualifies as a weakness...

I don't give a fuck about what you think.

🤣 Never had the opportunity to test it out in real life though.

And to add my two cents, I usually do like @quinncuatro , I flip those shitty questions into "what I'm improving on right now". But I also like to ask those questions to companies:

I see you just raised $2million. What do you think your greatest weakness is, in term of keeping the company afloat until the next round?

This usually leads to very interesting conversations ;)


I see you just raised $2million. What do you think your greatest weakness is, in term of keeping the company afloat until the next round?

"We're going to need you to sign this NDA."

"K thx baiiiiii!"


"We're going to need you to sign this NDA."

Is this a job offer?


I usually stay honest. The main objective for me when I seek a job is to see if I will like it. I know my weaknesses, and they are in two categories: some are weaknesses I would like to improve and others I don't really care.

As an example, I am "okay" in math, and I do try to improve by watching Khan Academy videos and trying some exercises on the Internet (Laplace Transform, Fourier series, stuff like that). If the job I seek requires me to be good in math, I will explain it that way. Now, I am really bad at CSS, and I wouldn't seek a job requiring it.

I like what Rémi Mercier said about the "reverse situation" where the interviewers ask the company what are their weaknesses, I will keep that in mind.


I frame them in terms of their stated expectations for the position.

For example:

"I have anger issues when I feel like I'm being taken advantage of" is something I say in therapy.

"While I have strong experience of using databases via an ORM, I don't have any direct experience with SQL — as stated as a requirement of the role. That'll be an area of growth for me. But I'm quite in the other stated requirements" is something I'd say in an interview.

For the strengths, all any manager types want to here is that you get stuff out on time — despite challenges 😅


After talking with someone else, one response I thought of that is along the lines of what Antonio said though, is

My weakness, is that I don’t know everything and have gaps in knowledge like everyone else. But my strength is in good teamwork (and google skills) and knowing when to ask questions and to lean on my team and for them to lean on my knowledge.


Never been asked this, seems ridiculous. Maybe

my strength is that my weakness is not a weakness


Oh it is ridiculous. But in my 10 years as a developer, I have been asked it in nearly every single interview. I don’t know if I would phrase it the way you suggest, as everyone has some kind of weakness. It just may not be relevant to the job. Which is why I think this shouldn’t be asked. I think the intent is mostly to see how you think and respond to these kinds of questions. And as long as you don’t tank it, you’re probably fine.