Common Interview Question: What Would Your Previous Supervisor Say You Need to Work On?

One of the hardest job interview questions to answer is “What are your greatest weaknesses?” Everyone has weaknesses, and claiming that nothing is wrong with your abilities is nothing short of a blatant lie. Employers can see through these lies, which is why you must come up with an answer that includes a weakness that will not harm your chances of getting the job.

Luckily, some employers ask a question that is similar in nature but easier to answer. Though the question may sound the same, it actually has a setup that will help you improve your chances of getting the job.

What Would Your Previous Supervisor Say Needs Improvement?

This type of interview question may look identical to the “biggest weakness” question, but it is not. That is because you can start off your answer with a transition that makes you sound like an excellent candidate:

“Interesting. At my last performance review, my supervisor did not list any areas of improvement. However, if I were to think of one, I would probably guess …”

This is an excellent setup, and one that few other candidates are going to mention. This makes it appear as though your supervisor did not actually have any problems with your work, and that the problem you are about to makeup is something that may not be true.

Think of a Light Complaint

You still need to come up with some weakness that won’t harm your job chances. One effective “weakness” is:

“My supervisor often requested I speak up more during meetings. I felt that I had good ideas but there were occasions that I would simply let the other staff members talk, and my supervisor would prefer that I feel myself more welcome to contribute my thoughts on current projects. Since then I have been working on speaking up more during brainstorming sessions.”

That is barely a weakness, at all. Yet what makes it great is that it sounds like it is a weakness. It also makes it sound like you have great ideas that you simply were shy to share before. Everyone has felt that way, and since you mention that you are working on it already, your interviewer should not have any problems believing that:

  • You used to be shy about your great ideas.
  • Now you will share them and benefit the company.

That is a pretty effective “biggest weakness,” and one that was prefaced by your statement about no problems occurring on your last performance review.

Job interview questions about your biggest weakness can be difficult to answer. This one isn’t. Use the two examples above and you should easily breeze through this question.

Take Away Interview Tips

  • Reference your past performance reviews at being extremely positive.
  • Make your “biggest weakness” that you did not share your great ideas.