How would you answer this question: "What are your weakness points?". I always find this question difficult to answer.

+1  A: 

"Overconfidence" is the most used answer I guess!

But I feel you can be honest and tell what you have received as improvement points from your previous jobs/ friends and most importantly talk about how you have corrected as well :)


balls ? :)

Lukas Šalkauskas
+5  A: 

I normally pull out a personal trait at that point, like "I want to help others, and don't say no often enough." It helps to take a weak point, and put a positive spin on it.

That is fairly easy to see through. Everybody has weak points without positive spin, and the question is often designed to see if people are honest about their weak points more than to see what their weak points are.
Vincent McNabb
Thx for pointing that out - but surely I would score for having pointed out a weak point?
+16  A: 

Be honest. Most times I've found that's what interviewers are actually looking for when they ask you this question.

Everyone has weaknesses. Great team members are ones who recognize theirs and know who to go to when something is over their head.

Bob Somers
This is the correct answer to the question
Adam Gent
+2  A: 

My usuall answer is "I'm a bit forgetfull at times, but am very organised. Which sort of counter acts my weakness" and then I give the interviewer a smille. :p

+2  A: 

I say, "ask my girlfriend"...this usually doesn't go down very well!....


I agree with Raithlin, try to find a "positive" weakness, eg stubborn could be "I can be too persistent - sometimes I don't know when to quit and try a different approach."


I always get frustrated when things arn't done quickly or in the time that I expect. This usually holds me up and messes up my oh so carefully planned schedule. Unfortunatly, when working in a team this sort of incident is far from unusual so I have just had to learn some tolerance and the fact that I now allow for some contingency within my schedule for just this kind of occurance. All this means that Im now happier and less stressed at work!

This seems to go down a treat at interviews, primaraly, I think because its true. It also shows that I have done something about the weakness and that I am prepared to address any shortcomings that any new employer might percieve in me.


Think of something you want to improve yourself in and some actions you want to take in the future to make it happen. Even better is if you have already taken some little actions to improve yourself.


My weakest points are the ones I don't yet have to Up Vote Bob's answer that starts with "Be honest".

+2  A: 

I'd probably say i'm too optimistic when it comes to estimates :)

heh. as a programmer, you have to be optimistic. One must fail many times for every success.
ive yet to meet a good programmer who isn't. we all tend to think we bring world peace in 2 hours with just a few lines of code. once that fails, and only once that fails do we go back to the drawing board and realize that world peace is impossible.
+12  A: 

One way to circumnavigate this issue is to communicate weaknesses that can actually be construed as strengths in disguise, or at least experience dealing with one's own foibles.

I have also been reminded by other posters (I had thought it might go without saying) that this is a question that you must be thoroughly honest about. If you find yourself trying to just memorize the perfect answer, you are missing the point of the exercise. This question is about demonstrating self-awareness, experience, and the ability to grow. These aren't programming skills. These are life skills and highly valuable in a team environment.

Approach 1: Say a weakness that is globally accepted as a weakness, but actually would be useful in the context of the job. I.e. I am really introverted and don't like spending much time with people, but that is why I am perfect for this night-watchman job...You can be sure I will be fine all by myself.

As discussed, this needs to be subtle and personal to you. It's a bit cliched to say "I'm a perfectionist". The interviewer may see right through you or discount you. Make sure its true and heartfelt or you will come off as trying to fool the interviewers.

Approach 2: Share a weakness paired with an adaptive strength. That is, a strength you have developed to offset the weakness. i.e. I am very chatty, so I have had to learn to be a very good judge of people's interest levels.

As mentioned here, its good to speak of the weakness in a past tense: "I used to", or in a way that shows you are actively dealing with it: "I now do...".

Approach 3: Based on the suggestions here, i think its a good idea to "push back" on this (or any tricky/ambiguous question) and try to understand the real reason they are asking the question. Summarize verbally what you think the question is really wanting, and then answer. That way the interviewer knows the context of your answer and thus why you are answering the way you do:

So it seems what you are really after in this question is my approach to difficult personnel situations. Well, in that case, I would have to say...

This gives the interviewer the chance to clarify, and you demonstrate you are actively seeking to correctly answer the question to the best of your abilities. Interviews aren't just answering questions...they are also about asking them.

Approach 4: show your ability to delegate your weakness in an area to some one else. Thats what I would expect in a job interview. For example I am not good at web site design or cleaning my house so I delegate that work.
Adam Gent
@Adam Gent - an excellent point, although I would see this as fitting with approach 2 with situationally appropriate delegation being the adaptive strength.
+9  A: 

IMHO, it's a stupid question to ask in an interview. I have done a lot of interviews as the interviewer and I would never ask that question.

I think I would push it back to the interviewer and say I don't understand why you are asking this question, what answers are you hoping to get that show a candidate is good or bad. If they pushed me to answer the question, I would refuse and end the interview myself - I really don't want to work for a company who don't know how to interview properly.

One thing you should remember when doing interviews, if you are a strong candidate, then you have power as well, and not every job you get offered is worth taking.

My final advice would be don't give an honest answer to this question, or even a weakness into a strength type answer. eg my biggest weakness is I work too hard. I have read about interviewers who would fail anyone who gave a negative answer. If you must answer the question, then I would use humour - eg My biggest weakness is Cadbury's mini-eggs. And then use silence, don't say any more, I think most interviewers will move on.

In response to the comment, (I don't have enough rep to reply in the comments- sorry). I am absolutely not suggesting you lie to an interviewer, I would never do that.

I just don't accept that an interviewer has the right to ask me any question. So for example, if they asked me about my sexuality or religion, I would push back to them, and ask them the relevance of the question.

Having done a lot of interviews, and read around the subject, I think that this question is a particularly weak one, and I would challenge the interviewer to justify asking it. If they can explain why they ask it, perhaps I would answer it.

I think my answer shows more honesty than most of the "my only weakness is I will never leave the office until all my work is done" type answers.

David Turner
Don't give an honest answer to the question? Great way to start off a working relationship with your new employer...
Bob Somers
This is a classic interview question outside of the software industry, why should it not apply here? A /lot/ of research has been done on this particular type of questions.
I would be very interested in reading that research, do you have any links or references?
David Turner
While I am less sure that it pertains to programming, my wife uses this question at her work. Its a sort of "fishing for crazy" question, as people sometimes unload at this point. "Well...I'm addicted to drugs, and can't hold a job for more than four months...etc." Its a good outlier filter.
Hiring a developer who doesn't think he has any weaknesses is a recipe for disaster.

I'm sure "workaholic" and "perfectionist" would sound good to certain types of manager

+2  A: 

Use rather some excess behavior than a real weakness and starting with "I used to..."

"I used to help everybody by solving their problems an loosing control of my time, nowadays I try to indicate them how to help themselves and keep better control of my own taks."


I've talked about not being a great "finisher" - I'd get to the UAT part of a project and the testing was taking s---o long that I'd lose interest in getting the thing wrapped and out the door. The interviewer countered that one with the fact that I run a sideline business which does need these skills... I think the thing I really should have said was "I get bored". A skill that personally is more a strength than a weakness in coders.

Thats what she said :)
Adam Gent
+2  A: 

My greatest strength is that I'm too honest.
My greatest weakness is that I'm too honest.

+2  A: 

I like to interpret this question as "What are some of the areas where you want to grow?". Then you can give a positive honest answer like "I've mostly worked on backend systems and I'm eager to start incorporating more UI work."

This has the secondary benefit that it might help the employer place you on a team where you'll learn the most.


It's always so tempting to run with "I work too hard"

+1  A: 

My greatest weakness is not being able to come up with a good answer to "What is your greatest weakness?".

It's a dumb cliche of a question, typically asked by weak interviewers. Respond with the above and move on.

+2  A: 

I found that many people when asked this question will respond with a virtue masked as a weakness, I hear a lot of programmers saying: "I am too perfectionist". Well, I think when you ask what you want (even on an interview) you get answers you don't want.

I always acknowledged my weakest point was testing. With that in mind I delved into TDD and writing xUnit test cases. Today, when I find a bug I always try to replicate it through a xUnit test case. I am even on the process of creating some natural language DSL to expose unit testing to non-programmers testers within my organization. Knowing how much test sucks for me helped me to value testers work a lot more.

Knowing your weakest points can make you grow as a developer.

+4  A: 

Many responses on this topic have talked about the importance of being honest, where an interviewer will recognize that a strong, confident developer is one that recognizes their strengths and weaknesses and doesn't try to pretend that they're great at absolutely everything. The only problem I have with this sutuation is that you're assuming the person across the table doing the interviewing is on that same wavelength. Even at a great company, your first interview phase might be with an HR person before you get to meet the team, and if they're comparing you (honest about your strengths and weaknesses) and another person (Mr. I'm A Perfectionist), they might decide that of course the other person is better, since they don't have your weaknesses, whatever they may be!

I guess what I'm saying is that my answer here is sort of "it depends", and is based on your general read of the person interviewing you. If you feel that the person "gets it", than you can have an honest conversation, but if you're trying to just get past a filter, it might be more useful to try some of the strategies like pairing a weakness with a strength, or using a very common weakness (ex. not so great at correctly estimating how long projects will take to complete).

Personally I feel that it's not a very great question because of all the headgames that enter into this, and the assumptions that both parties can make, but it's a common enough question that everyone should have a few answers ready.

+1  A: 

I usually say that I am too ambicious in my projects - which can lead both to a magnificent project or to a 200% delay because of gold-plating.

And then - I am actually being very honest (since both things have happened to me in every project I was envolved either as a developer or as a manager. In the end the employer must know where he / she is placing his / her bet.


I've been asked this question a number of times and always answer some technology that I have absolutely no interest in working with. I then turn the question around and ask if this is an expertise they are looking for in their employee, followed by "I'd love an opportunity to work here (bla bla bla) but I'm just not a sharepoint developer if that's what you're looking for". Honestly I have no interest in working somewhere if they are going to railroad me into some technology I don't want to work with anyway.


I'll sometimes get lost in the details and focus on smaller details that don't matter so much in the larger scheme of things.


  Do you see yourself as having any weaknesses?

Spud : Oh, yes, 'cause, like, I'm a bit of a perfectionist actually! Yes, I am. See, for me it's got to be the best or it's nothing at all. Like, things get a bit dodgy, I just cannot be bothered.

Ed Guiness

Concerning handling defects / QA period

I tend to assume that any problem that I'm assigned is a problem with my code and I start working on a fix/patch without better assessing the source of the problem.

+1  A: 

[OT] There was a Dilbert strip when Wally "decides to test his market value by doing some interviews". So there he is eating a sandwich in the interview, when he is asked 'What would you say is your biggest weakness?'.
Wally: "Cheese"

+2  A: 

This question really does seem to be a rock and a hard place. I recently had an interview and I was honest about my weakness, but mentioned steps I take to get around it. That seemed to have worked out. I would say that interviewers that would out right fail someone on the interview for having a weakness are probably representative of the kind of people I want no dealings with. There's a lot to be said about someone that knows his/her weaknesses. To expect perfection is pretty naive. On the flip side of this coin is that a lot of interviewers get tired of the same old chalked up positive weakness spins.

For those that are curious, I'm in the IT industry. I'm American and don't have an accent (perhaps southern if I had to pick)...but my weakness is my communication skills. I don't think very quickly on my feet and can have a difficult time putting words to my thoughts, especially in layman's terms. The way I get around this is I have to put an extra amount of effort into preparing my questions for others in a way that is clear and concise.

So, my best advice, is to be honest. For any weakness you present do have some kind of strategy for managing it. I try to make an effort to be transparent in my life style, work included. I think there are employers out there that would appreciate that.


“Try to specify your weakness as your strength and also highlight it as a benefit.”

Your answers can be:

1) One of my weaknesses as I perceive is occasional compromise on time for quality and perfection.

2) I feel I am not very detail-oriented. I’m a person that wants accomplish as much as possible. I realized this hurts quality and therefore I‘m trying hard to find a balance between quality and quantity.

For more answers visit:

+2  A: 

Sorry, but I couldn't resist posting this Simpsons snippet:

   Smithers: What would each of you say is your worst quality?
   Man 1:    Well, I  a workaholic.
   Man 2:    I push myself too hard.
   Homer:    Well, it takes me a long time to learn anything,
             I'm kind of a goof-off...
   Smithers: Okay, that'll do.
   Homer:    ... a little stuff starts disappearing from the workplace...
   Smithers: That's enough!
   -- Job interview, ``I Married Marge''

The first two are the cliched answers to this question. Homer is an example of too much honesty. :)

+1  A: 

Do not try to make your weakness into strengths. Everyone does that. Its hackneyed and makes you look like a kid out of college.

Instead show how you delegate areas of your weakness to others that are more qualified in that area.

For example a I am web developer. I often tell employers immediately that I am horrible with web design and cannot make anything look good for the life of me. I delegate that work to a web designer.

In fact the reason they want to hire you is because they have a weakness in the area you are qualified in and they would like to delegate to you.

Adam Gent