Five Answers: ‘What Would You Like To Improve About Yourself?’

Some “stock” interview questions are relatively easy to prepare for and provide with you an opportunity to highlight your value as an employee. Nevertheless, as an interviewee, you should also be prepared for those stock questions that trip-up even the most qualified candidates. “What would you like to improve about yourself?” is one of them.

Candidates who are self-deprecating when answering may appear to lack self-awareness. Those who seem unwilling to admit that they have faults may appear arrogant. Answering this question successfully is all about presenting a balanced answer. As such, TempsAhead would like to share our five favourite approaches to this question:

1. Sell your malleability

In almost every industry, there are changes on the horizon. Perhaps they are technological, legislative or cultural. Knowing what is around the corner for the company which is interviewing you is a useful tactic for this question. That is because you can talk about how keen you are to improve your expertise in line with these changes. By doing so, your answer is framed as a matter of improving your knowledge. This tactic will present you as an independent thinker and an employee who handles change well—qualities that all managers like to see.

2. Show that you are open to constructive criticism

Did your previous manager tell you where your job performance could improve? Great! Talk about how you reflected upon that feedback, saw that it was valid, and decided to do something about it. Paint this as an ongoing process—as something that you are working on improving right now. Then describe how the process has already begun to pay dividends: for example, your productivity has increased or your teamwork has improved.

3. You are embracing maturity

Most employers understand that we change over time. Showing that you have embraced the process of maturation is a useful response to this question. You might talk about work-life balance and how it is more important to you these days; or how your pleasure in helping junior coworkers has blossomed over the years. There are many was to describe your maturity but you must also answer the question. Therefore, your response should sell maturity as a continuing process that is improving you as a person and an employee.

4. You do not need to improve your essential skills

Perhaps it goes without saying… but avoid talking about how you need improvement with the key deliverables of the role. Think of a non-essential skill that is related to the position and admit that you are in the midst of improving this skills-gap. Be sure to counter-balance this confession with your expertise in the role’s “must-haves.” Nail this approach and the interviewer will see that you are both capable and teachable.

5. Keep your references in mind

Finally, do not fear this question. No matter where you are in your professional development, your interviewer wants to see that you are coachable and open to constructive criticism. Give a balanced answer that shows you want to improve yourself in the right areas and your prospective employer will see a self-aware person who does not fight coaching.