Questions about self-improvement or areas of weakness are extremely common in job interviews. They are so common that you really need to be prepared to answer in a way that does not harm your chances of getting the job.
The question can be asked a number of different ways. They may ask ‘what would you most like to improve about yourself’, or they may ask:
Let’s take a closer look at each of these questions.
How Would You Improve Your Job Performance?
This question focuses on what you would most like to improve about your job performance. Avoid the standard clichés like perfectionism, never mention elements of the job description and obviously avoid major personality flaws like being a control freak or being anti social.
Instead consider the following options:
Senior Managers – Improve Presentation skills
Middle Manager – Improve Networking Skills
Junior Level Employees – Develop Delegation Skills
See the full post How would you improve your job performance? for more information.
What Skills Would You Like To Improve?
This question requires you to mention which skill you would most like to improve about yourself. There are 5 key skills that are acceptable to mention as areas you would most like to improve. They are:
Which one you chose will depend on the industry you are in. For example, a sales person should never choose networking since that is a key requirement for any sales role. See the full post – what skills would you like to improve? , for more information on which one is best for you.
What Is your Biggest Weakness?
This question actually offers you the most scope when you develop an answer. You can choose what you would most like to improve about yourself in a more general sense rather than having to name a specific skill or job responsibility.
Consider the following:
I tend to be quiet during meetings as I think about the implications of what we are discussing, but I would like to work on becoming a more active participant.
I often talk to myself when I’m thinking through issues and it is disruptive to others so I am working on internalising my thinking.
Sometimes I write emails that are longer than they need to be when I’m worried the person might not understand the email. I’d like to work on more concise written communication.
These are good answers and don’t flag any problems that cannot be resolved quite easily. See the full post What is your biggest weakness? for more information.
How to Answer What Would You Most Like to Improve About Yourself
Once you have chosen an area to focus on from the ideas above, then you need to develop this idea into an intelligent and sincere answer.
To do that you must consider the following:
Deliver the answer with honesty.
Don’t avoid the question, answer it directly.
Immediately after stating the area you would most like to improve, follow up by explaining clearly what you are already doing to address it.
Make sure your answer is work focussed, but not a shortcoming versus the job description.
Keep it short, the more you make of it the greater an issue it appears to be.
Never, ever blame others. Own it and show that you are solving it.