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What Areas Need Improvement: Why It Is Asked & How To Answer [With Sample Answers]

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It can feel overwhelming when an interviewer throws out the question, “what areas need improvement?”

You aren’t the only one struggling to figure out what they want to hear.

Most people consider it one of the questions interviewers ask to make you uncomfortable, but that’s not the case.

We’ve got the answers you need about this question, why it exists in interviews, and how to respond satisfactorily.

You’ll even get some tips to create an impressive answer that makes you shine.

Why Do Interviewers Ask “What Areas Need Improvement?”

Interviewers want to gauge your self-awareness, motivation, and determination to grow professionally. Employers value candidates who are always looking for ways to better themselves.

The position you’re applying for will influence your response, but you can always find a way to discuss things you could do better.

The hiring manager is aware that everyone has shortcomings. It’ll come out better if you give an honest answer rather than claiming that you don’t have any areas of improvement.

Your answer can demonstrate to interviewers that you value continuous learning and are eager to improve your skills in the workplace.

The interviewer isn’t attempting to humiliate you, nor are they looking for faults to reject you as an employee. Instead, they want to determine whether you’re a suitable, self-aware candidate.

What Is the Interviewer Looking For?

The short answer is that they want to know whether you’re humble, realistic, trainable, and growth-minded.

Being capable of discussing your areas of improvement demonstrates that you have the will to work on yourself to achieve your career aspirations.

It’s your opportunity to impress the interviewer with your ability to take charge and find creative solutions to difficulties as a team member.

Whereas they expect an honest answer, the interviewer also wants you to demonstrate the strength that exists in your area of weakness.

Discuss an area where you’re somewhat competent but would like to improve. Talk about your dedication to professional growth and share some of the steps you’re taking to better yourself.

Other things the hiring manager might be looking for include:

  • They’re assessing your readiness to learn and adjust per the company’s requirements.
  • They want to understand whether you have what it takes to succeed in the role.
  • They want to know what to expect in terms of training and development.

How To Answer “What Areas Need Improvement?”

Are you grudgingly admitting that it’s a good question for interviewers to ask and wondering how to satisfy all of the above points?

Check out the key strategies to formulating a winning answer.

What To Focus on When Answering This Question

You need to craft a response that’s personal, honest, and realistic without getting too long-winded. There are a few ways to approach the question, so consider which one works best with the job you’re applying to.

1. List Your Strengths and Weakness

Evaluate your personal and professional strengths and weaknesses and make a list of each.

For instance, you’re a good problem solver but you struggle with team management. Strive to match your answers to the attributes the interviewer may seek.

2. Select One Area You’re Already Developing

Focusing on an area you’re already improving is ideal because it demonstrates your self-awareness and intentional approach to personal growth.

It also reveals your readiness to eliminate shortcomings, so you might want to discuss the steps you’re taking to get better in this area.

3. Pick an Area That Doesn’t Directly Relate to the Position

If you need to impress the interviewer with your response, you might try mentioning a skill completely unrelated to the position.

Selecting a non-critical area demonstrates your willingness to grow as a person outside of the job, alluding to it being a part of your core personality.

Make sure you give a specific answer to demonstrate your ability to reflect on your performance and a desire to improve yourself.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Here are things to avoid when asked this question.

  • Avoid Cliché Answers: The employer doesn’t want to hear that you’re perfect. Saying something like “I’m trying not to be a perfectionist” is not real and doesn’t reflect your qualities as an individual.
  • Don’t Dodge the Question: Some candidates avoid answering this question by claiming they can’t think of any areas of improvement. It’s a bad strategy that makes you seem dishonest.
  • Avoid Referencing Common Technology: If the position requires office or administrative work, mentioning that you aren’t very good with computers might be unwise.
  • Go Off Topic: Providing a meandering nonsensical response undermines what you’re trying to accomplish.
  • Not Maintaining Eye Contact: If you’ve been making strong eye contact up until now, breaking it could be considered dishonesty.

Examples: How To Answer “What Areas Need Improvement?”

The question necessitates striking a balance between admitting flaws, exhibiting self-awareness, and determination to change.

Here are some inspirational answers to get your creative juices flowing.

Example Answer 1

“As a junior accountant, I rarely have formal opportunities to lead. I want to assume more leadership roles in the future. That could include directing projects or meetings, overseeing new staff members, and coaching them.

I love working as an accountant because of the opportunity to gain practical experience, and I’m applying for this position because I wish to continue doing so.

Unfortunately, I haven’t taken many opportunities to assume leadership roles in my career, so I think that’s an area I can improve.”

Why This Answer Works

The answer is excellent because the candidate states a specific area where they could improve while avoiding mentioning any skills essential to the position’s duties.

They’re also demonstrating their drive and ambition to seek professional development opportunities.

Example Answer 2

“One of my weaknesses is that I become nervous whenever I have to give a presentation or make a public speech in front of a big audience.

I’m working toward a few short-term objectives, one of which is honing my communication skills. Over time, this will help me advance into a position where I can apply these skills.

I’m helping my supervisor coordinate our team projects while taking part-time communication lessons. I believe assuming an assistant role will allow me to learn about the many facets of management.

Moreover, it’ll prepare me to take on a team’s leadership role if and when a chance presents itself within the company.”

Why This Answer Works

The response demonstrates your self-awareness and active effort to advance professionally. In addition, the answer is specific and presents the hiring manager with information they want to learn about you.

Example Answer 3

“For the five years I’ve been working as a customer representative, most of my encounters with clients are through face-to-face or phone calls.

Whereas I take pride in being a creative problem solver and providing excellent customer support, there’s room for development in my email communications.

I’ve been lucky enough to avoid making huge mistakes, but I realized a few years back that my ability to provide clear email support was missing.

I’ve understood that even a few typos or grammatical errors may change an email’s meaning, so I exercise caution when composing one.

I rely on various grammar and spell checking services. I’ve also begun taking digital communication and writing classes to ascertain that I’m using the most efficient tactics to correspond with clients via email.”

Why This Answer Works

Whereas somehow relating to the position you’re applying for, the issue is easy to fix and won’t affect your performance.

The commitment to addressing this shortcoming will appeal to interviewers looking for someone ready to learn and adjust according to the organization’s needs.

Additional Tips for Impressing an Interviewer Asking What Areas Need Improvement

Here are some tips to impress an interviewer asking what areas need improvement:

Be Positive

You’re ready for the interview because you’ve already done your homework. Whereas an interviewer asking you to talk about your flaws might feel intimidating, you should answer positively and confidently.

Concentrate on demonstrating ways in which you might improve your skills. That will prove you have a growth mindset and valuable employee attributes.

Pick Examples Carefully

Find improvement areas that the interviewer can connect to and that you can frame positively.

For example, everyone sometimes experiences impatience, and even the most talkative individuals can struggle with communication issues. These are topics that most people, including the hiring manager, may identify with.

Provide All Necessary Details

Keep your answers brief and specific while providing the information the interviewer needs to evaluate your suitability.

Describe where you feel you may need to improve and ways in which you’re working to grow professionally.

For instance, instead of mentioning that you’d like to become a good manager, say that you wish to improve your ability to assign duties.

Additional Questions To Be Aware Of

Here are other questions which are part of interviewing techniques that employers use to gauge applicants’ suitability:

  • What Is Your Greatest Weakness?: The interviewer asks this question to test whether you’re honest enough to mention an actual weakness. They want to see you have a growth mindset and are actively working to better yourself.
  • Tell Me About a Time You Failed: Interviewers ask this question to learn whether you can admit when you’ve made a mistake and accept responsibility for it.
  • Tell Me About a Time You Made a Mistake: Hiring managers use this question to learn how you address challenges. They’re also looking to test your shortcomings to establish whether you have the skills necessary to succeed in the position.
  • How Do You Handle Stress?: The hiring manager wants to understand better how you react to pressure at work. You should emphasize your abilities and provide concrete examples.
  • What Sets You Apart From Other Candidates?: The interviewer uses the question to understand your qualifications and why you would be a better choice than other qualified applicants.

Wrapping Up

“What areas need improvement” is a difficult question to answer. Nevertheless, suppose you apply the tips in this guide. In that case, you can devise a great answer that depicts you as a reliable, self-aware candidate constantly trying to improve themselves.

Having done your research, you should think of something that doesn’t relate to the position, answer truthfully, and be specific in your response. That way, you don’t need to provide a letter of recommendation to impress the interviewer.

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