Questions about self-improvement or areas of biggest weakness are extremely common in job interviews. They are so common, that they play a role at almost every interview in some form so you really need to be prepared to answer. The question can be asked a number of different ways, in addition to what would you like to improve yourself?
How to Answer:
The key to answering this question is to either talk about what you’re learning or turning it back on the interviewer. The interviewer wants to know that you plan to improve it, whatever it may be.
Improving yourself also does not just have to be about a weakness It can also be about a strength. If you want, you can provide an answer similar to how you would answer a question about your greatest weakness. However, you are being asked about where you would like to improve, not what you are worst at. So you may also want to give an answer about how you would like to improve many things (even if they are not negative), as evidenced below.
“I’d like to be a better dancer.”
It’s always best to answer in the context of a professional work environment, and avoid personal comments. You could start with humor, but you should continue on outlining traits for improvement that will eventually help the company.
“I would like to improve in every facet of my life. No matter how much I may excel at a particular skill or task, I believe I can always get better, and would like an opportunity to gain new experiences that will help me become better at anything I undertake. Does the company offer any extended training courses for employees?”
Here you turn it around on the interviewer, making it a question about what they offer rather than a question of what you are bad at. Remember, a standard “biggest weakness” answer as described multiple times on this and other websites is an acceptable answer, but you may also use an answer like the one above if you like.
You can also talk about improving something universal. For example:
- “I would love to continue to improve my leadership skills. Does your organization have any opportunities for leadership skills training?”
- “I would love a chance to become fluent in Ruby. I know your organization uses Java, and I am intimately familiar with Java, Python, and C#, but I think Ruby would open up more opportunities. I am taking an online course but have yet to put it into practice.”
- “I’ve sometimes struggled to speak up in meetings. I’m working on becoming more open about my ideas, as I know how important it is for the company.”
These are all examples of places you can improve, and all of them either ask push the question back to the interviewer in a positive way, or show them that you’re already working on improving whatever it is you hope to change.
Take Away Interview Tips:
- “Biggest Weakness” answers are fine (weaknesses should not be too bad)
- You can also turn it around on the interviewer.