Interviewers are asking this more and more… “what do you need to improve?”
It’s similar to “what’s your greatest weakness?” but a little more open-ended (which means you can really get into trouble if you don’t know how to answer it).
Fortunately I’m going to walk you through exactly how to handle the question. Let’s get started…
When they ask what you need to improve, don’t give some cheesy answer like “well, I work too hard sometimes, so I need to learn how to take breaks and not work so much”. No hiring manager will be impressed with that.
(It’s the same if they ask your greatest weakness. Don’t do this, please!)
Also don’t name anything that’s vital to the job. If this is a supervisor position, don’t say you need to improve communication and delegation of tasks. That’s essential stuff for being a good supervisor and they’re less likely to hire you if you say you’re lacking in those areas.
So when you answer “what do you need to improve?”, pick a real area you’d like to get better in, but make sure it’s not something essential to the job duties.
You can also choose something you’re already pretty good at, but still trying to improve even more.
Let’s look at some example answers and this will start to make more sense…
Using the supervisor example above, you could say something like this…
“I’m working on improving in some project management and organizational tools and technologies right now. As I take on more and more management in my career, I’ve realized if I become an expert in project management software, and programs like Excel, it will make me and my team even more productive. So I’m trying to go from ‘good’ to ‘great’ in these areas.”
That was an example where you took something you’re already decent at, and described wanting to get even better.
This next example can be used if you want to name a real weakness:
“Well in my last job I spoke with a lot of customers on the phone, and became quite good at it. However, a few other people on my team were responsible for most of the emailing when it came to customer service, so I’m a bit rusty in this area. I think email communication is really vital in customer service, because one or two wrong words can lead to the message being interpreted incorrectly. So I’ve been working on reviewing and brushing up on some of the best methods for making sure customers are satisfied with email communications.”
Whatever you choose to share… be honest, and talk about what you’re working on right now to make this improvement happen.
I can’t stress this enough. There’s such a big difference between saying you need to improve something in the future, and saying you’re doing it as we speak.
Never sound like you’re waiting for a company to hire you before you start addressing a weakness. They won’t want to hire you if you sound like this and it’s a mistake that’ll cost you many job offers.