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What do you think is your biggest weakness? Your greatest strength?

My biggest weakness is probably the fact that I cannot work quickly. This always plagued me throughout my academic career (fortunately though, I've been good enough at the material, working under pressure, and general test-taking skills to more than make up for it). In an industrial setting, it means that I am not great at making a really quick patch to something, or at having a report ready in a mere two hours. After I say this in an interview, the interviewer almost always says, "That's not always a detriment. You probably generate better results, even though it takes longer." Hopefully that is the case. I'd like to think that the extra time is made up later with a more solid design, a more polished report, or a shorter debugging period. I have found that it can be a significant problem under some conditions, though.

As for my greatest strength, it's harder to name. The thing that I would pick is a gestalt, a combination of technical knowledge and experience with a talent perhaps called "design intuition", and a love of abstract mental effort and creativity for its own sake. In other words, I love to design new things, and I think I'm very good at it. (Especially when the thing is an abstraction, such as a computer program or a set of game rules.) You've probably noticed that this is exactly the thing that both my one-page resume and this web site focus on the most. That was no accident. Since it's covered in such great detail everywhere else, nothing more need be said here.

What I probably need to let you know more, at this point, is that I'm talking about my greatest strength in my job, and this is highly dependent upon the job that I'm looking for. In a design position, I think this is the single most critical factor. A very close second (and likely first, in many other jobs), however, is the ability to work with people. In fact, both are quite essential. Be sure to ask me about my ability to work with other people.