The "if there were one area you've always wanted to improve upon- what would that be?" inquiry is commonly asked by interviewers. Of course- some people give their own twist to this and other interview questions. Instead- you might hear "what are your weaknesses?" "do you have any current training needs?" or "what professional skills do you hope to improve?" Either way- this is designed to get you to look at your weaknesses.
Hiring managers want to see if you can give an unbiased account of yourself. The interviewer may also be testing your confidence level. If you can admit to not being perfect- it may show you have growth potential for the company. You have to be careful with the response you give because you do not want to point out a glaring weakness that makes you a poor fit for the company. With a little preparation- you may find this type of question is easier to respond to.
How to Answer the "If There Were One Area You've Always Wanted to Improve Upon- What Would That Be?" Interview Question
Avoid Declaring a Crucial Weakness: A crucial weakness is one that is imperative to the job you are trying to get. If you are interviewing for a sales job and you say you are bad at talking with customers- you probably will not look like a very good candidate. You need to avoid talking about a weakness that makes you bad for the job. At the same time- you cannot simply dodge interview questions because they make you uncomfortable. Instead- focus on a weakness not pertinent to the position. Everyone has room for improvement and admitting your weakness can make you look like a stronger candidate. Accurate self-reflection is often an important part of working. You need to know when you are doing an assignment well and when you need help.
Emphasize What You Do to Improve: Rather than focusing so much on your area of weakness- talk about what you do to improve yourself professionally. Maybe you attend workshops- conferences or classes. Let the interviewer know you have ways of getting yourself to the top of your game. This emphasis can help highlight your desire to keep learning and to stay current on technological advances in the industry. Both of these traits are often seen as positives by potential employers. This can also help you discuss why you think professional improvement is important.
Make Knowing Your Weaknesses a Positive: It can be daunting to talk about your weaknesses with someone you want to work for. You do not want them to know you cannot multitask to save your life. However- you can put a positive spin on knowing your weaknesses. For example- if you are aware of areas in which you struggle- you will be better prepared to make an impact in the company. How will you accomplish that? You can avoid joining projects and taking on assignments that aren't a good fit for your skill set- which is a positive. Knowing your strengths and your weaknesses can help you do a better job. You know you need help with presentations- so you work with someone who is skilled at this task. You know you will get distracted at a long lasting meeting- so you schedule shorter meetings. Your weakness may not be a positive- but you can show you know how to make the best of a bad situation.
Sample "If There Were One Area You've Always Wanted to Improve Upon- What Would That Be?" Interview Answers
1. I think everyone always has room for improvement. Even with something I am confident with- like customer relations- I know it can be improved. I attend workshops and seminars to learn about new customer relations techniques. One area I find myself working hard to get better at is giving presentations. I know it is not going to be a bit part of this position- but in the future it could impact my career more. I want to get better at speaking in front of large groups of people in a more formal presentation setting.
2. I have recently come to realize the importance of recognizing your own weaknesses- so I am glad this question came up. I think knowing what you are bad at can help you steer toward what you are good at. For example- I have always struggled with time management. I get done with assignments on time- but the problem is I take on too much. If I were in charge of scheduling meetings and project deadlines- I would likely overbook everything. Because I know this is my weakness- I am able to delegate this task to someone else who excels at scheduling. Of course- I want to get better and improve my professional-self- which is why I attend workshops and conferences.
Answering interview questions about your weaknesses is not always the easiest thing in the world. Now that you know why the inquiry is made and what some sample answers look like- you may have an easier time with your own reply.