In our company during interviews or evaluation processes, there are situations that you are asked to evaluate some specific skill of yourself:

  • What are your strong and weak points?
  • Between 1 and 10, how do you evaluate your communication skills?
  • Do you think you are good at managing people? Give a score 1-10 etc.

To these kind of questions, I always respond as follows:

None of the companies emphasize the weak points of their products voluntarily. In fact, if I admit I am weak at some point on paper, I certify myself as weak but I may be wrong about myself. Moreover when I fix my issue, my self-negative-certification will last forever. So I never evaluate myself to others, but always to myself and always kindly accept evaluations from others

Is it acceptable to avoid self evaluation?

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    Something might be lost in translation in your response. I read it as another version of I refuse to give you a reason to not give me a pay rise. – rath May 10 '19 at 10:33
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    If I understand this right, it sounds like you want to know whether it is acceptable to skip a process used by your company? We can't answer that. Only your company knows. Or is your question something else? What are you asking here? – BittermanAndy May 10 '19 at 10:42
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    @JoeStrazzere maybe what OP meant to write it, I never want to let my self evaluation result available to others. – Sourav Ghosh May 10 '19 at 11:02
  • @JoeStrazzere That's perfect, I just shared my understanding. – Sourav Ghosh May 10 '19 at 11:08
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    "My main weakness is that I'm not able to give you an evaluation of my weaknesses" – Dave Gremlin May 11 '19 at 10:24

Is it acceptable to avoid self evaluation?

Why does that matter whether it acceptable or not? What you need to know is why they ask of this - in first place.

My experience: Company does not need to ask you for your weak points, to figure out a way to get rid of you. If they want, they'll get it one way or another. Usually the point of these questions are to find out the shortcomings in you, as a professional, and then try to mitigate them by arranging for relevant sessions, training and/ or courses.

To improve on a shortcoming, first you need to know and admit there is a shortcoming. That's what the questions are meant for.

Yes, if you're worried that providing a weak point will wreak havoc on your performance evaluation or pay-scale then there is other problems about the performance expectation which needs evaluation and inspection.

So, to circle back

Is it professional to answer questions about self evaluation?

Yes, very much.

  • +1 Absolutely! To be honest, someone telling me a genuine weakness actually conveys a mature, self-aware, and professional image. Personally, for me, my weakness is: "I'm pretty bad at multitasking - it seems to take me a bit to shift my brain's gears from one task to another - so days where I'm interrupted quite a bit, I get almost nothing done. And some ways I'm helping make that less an issue are..." etc. Maybe you're bad at taking criticism. Maybe you're bad at evaluating new technologies. Maybe you're bad at being assertive. The important part is being self-aware enough to know it. – Kevin May 10 '19 at 18:45

The point of asking these sorts of questions generally isn't about the specific weaknesses - instead it's to see if you have the sort of mind/personality that can self-identify weaknesses and work towards improving them.

So any answer that avoids carrying this out is pretty much a "wrong" answer. Looking at your evasive answer specifically (and I'm sorry if this sounds blunt or harsh) it's pretty awful really.

when I fix my issue, my self-negative-certification will last forever

Basically translates as "I can't evolve" and

I never evaluate myself to others

comes across as "I will always hide my weak points and never admit that I was wrong."

To be honest if I were interviewing you and you gave that speil in response to any of the questions you suggested you'd be on a (likely) one-way trip to the bottom of the list.

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    This is a great answer - as a manager, when I'm discussing "weaknesses" with an employee or candidate, it's just as much about their own self-awareness as it is about identifying any actual specific weakness. People who are self-aware, willing to share, and interested in growing are generally better long-term employees than people who either aren't aware of their own blind spots or are unwilling to discuss or work on them. – dwizum May 14 '19 at 14:29

An answer like that is not going to help your performance evaluation process. It just comes across as negative an uncooperative.

Instead, talk up any strong points. Word any weak points as opportunities for improvement and not as faults. Where there is opportunity for improvement, bring out how you think that may achieved.

That way, you will come across as a can-do person who wants to improve their performance.

  • Also, you may want to talk about things you've tried to do to address the problem (even if they didn't work.) Like "I'm not the most organized person in the world. I've tried doing some organizational structures and even bought a few books to get ideas - but I still haven't found anything that's really worked well for me." – Kevin May 10 '19 at 19:00

Self evaluation is a proxy for self reflection. Broadly speaking, teams of people work well when each team member knows who they are, what they're capable of and what to contribute and when. Assuming you employer is acting in good faith, then the question here isn't: "Are they trying to get me." but "Do I understand my skills and my contributions and can I grow as a professional?"

Broadly speaking what the questions do, is try to gauge your disposition as a team member. Get a sense of where you are and what your skills are. No one can be good at everything, so it helps to lay out what you're good at and if your employer agrees, it helps them better define your role and tasks. It also Controls expectations.

To use a tech reference. If someone asked me what I was weak at I would say

Well, I'm not a front end developer. I'm not comfortable with JS technologies I am a weak front end developer. I am very strong with C# and SQL."

and then I could follow up with...

"Depending on what the team needs, I'm more than happy to be stronger at front end, however many of my current tasks are SQL / C#. So those are the places where I have developed a lot of expertise. If the team needs me to transition to JS tech, I can do that. There will be growing pains, but it's absolutely doable and of course, I would need my tasks to either change or include the new tech so I can keep my new skills fresh."

Final note:

What are your strong and weak points?

Between 1 and 10, how do you evaluate your communication skills?

Do you think you are good at managing people? Give a score 1-10 etc.

These are not "gotcha questions", these are simple questions about your confidence in your abilities.

  • 'These are not "gotcha questions"' Aren't all questions in a job interview basically "gotcha questions"? The entire point of a job interview is to try to trick you into disqualifying yourself so that they can toss your resume in the bin to winnow down the number of people they actually need to consider. – nick012000 May 15 '19 at 6:26
  • @nick012000 No, SO Workplace needs to stop being so cynical about everything. A lot of VERY well meaning people are just trying to find the best candidate for the position. They're not there to get you.They want to be assured you can do it. Are there places with "gotcha" questions? Absolutely. There's also people who just want to collect a paycheck and do nothing or hardly anything. This goes both ways. But in general, most people are just doing the best they can with the tools they have to solve the problems in front of them. That includes HR. – ShinEmperor May 15 '19 at 11:36

I will focus on the part of interview. In the case of being already employed your weak points are usually pointed out by your supervisor as places you (you and company) need to help you improve. A question from them would be rather ask to compare when you and them think you really are. Because if they think you are 3 and you think you are an 8 THAT is the problem to solve rather than if it's really is true.

During interviews strong and weak points are actually ask to split your strong point in two and present some as weak points. For examples "I care too much about my projects and I tend to spend some overtime doing them". Or "I prefer to focus on work rather than attend meetings without agenda and I tend so skip those". When asked about communication interviewer could expect an answer like " I would say 6 as I like to keep things short and on topic so sometimes I won't go into detail but rather give an overview".

Question about managing people depends on position you apply for. For manager it would be "I give myself a strong 7 maybe 8. I treat my subordinates as peers and sometimes I try to work along with them to achieve our goal rather than managing". When a person who try to be part of a group would be expected to say "I'm not so good, as I prefer to be part of a group and rather talk with others about tasks and who would be better at what rather than steer people".

In 1-10 scales the Gaussian line is most important. People who would give themselves 1-3 are someone who wouldn't be the best in the company. Either way they are right or are too much undermining their own ability. And to work you need to have strong, real, sense of what you are able to do. TO be able to recognize where you are and how and why improve.

On the other side are the ones who give themselves 9-10. Again they are either overestimating their abilities or may not be the best for the company (a manager who give themselves 10 may be great administrator but not good colleague). A company that have more flat management would prefer people able to see and work horizontal and not only vertical.


I can understand not wanting to cooperate with this kind of evaluation. However, you are going about it in a way that can only be perceived negatively. Remember that your company has chosen this method of evaluation so the person controlling the system probably believes that the evaluation works and therefore might not be receptive to you implying that it is stupid.

A better way forwards is to complete the task while entering as little information as seems reasonable.

Don't feel the need to make your answers accurate. Just make sure that you can talk about them a little bit if you are asked to justify the scores.

  • Not a big fan of "lie to an interviewer" as a strategy. Particularly since people seem to completely misunderstand the point of questions like this. If I ask someone what their biggest weakness is, I'm after three things: is this person self aware, is this person honest, and what things will I need to give the person extra assistance with? – Kevin May 10 '19 at 18:56
  • The question also covers internal evaluation processes. – P. Hopkinson May 10 '19 at 19:58
  • I'm not advocating lying so much as taking a more relaxed approach towards answering the questions that ask you to score yourself. – P. Hopkinson May 10 '19 at 20:02
  • Ugh. You can't say, "Don't feel the need to make your answers accurate.", and then claim, "Hey, I didn't say lie to them!" – Kevin May 10 '19 at 20:06
  • Of course I can. There is a huge chasm between actively creating a lie and simply not thinking carefully before answering a trite question (often the worst part of answering these questions is that they take quite a lot of effort to answer correctly, I'm suggesting not to take the effort). – P. Hopkinson May 10 '19 at 20:19

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