How to answer "What are your areas for improvement, and how have you worked to address them?" (with sample answers)

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This post is part of our series on behavioral interview questions.

Why Employers Ask This

Employers ask this question to get a sense of your self-awareness and your ability to recognize areas in which you can improve. It also allows them to see if you are proactive in taking steps to address these areas of improvement. Additionally, this question enables the employer to evaluate your level of honesty and transparency when answering tough questions.

It’s important to remember that employers aren’t necessarily looking for perfection; rather, they want to see how you approach challenges and growth opportunities. The way you answer this question reflects your attitude towards self-improvement and demonstrates your willingness to learn and develop professionally.

How to Answer the Question

When answering this question, remember that it is okay to have areas in which you can improve. Everyone does. The key is to focus on how you are actively working to address these areas.

Begin by identifying areas in which you can improve. Be specific and provide examples of how you’ve identified these areas. For instance, you could talk about how feedback from colleagues or managers has helped you to understand certain areas where you can improve.

Next, talk about the strategies you’ve implemented to improve in these areas. Examples could include taking a course, attending workshops, or seeking guidance from a mentor.

Finally, emphasize the progress you’ve made in these areas and how this progress is positively impacting your work. Be sure to highlight how your willingness to address areas for improvement demonstrates your commitment to growth and development.

Sample answers:

  1. Bad answer:

    Well, I don't really have any areas for improvement. I'm pretty much perfect at everything I do.

    Why it's bad: This type of answer comes across as arrogant and suggests that the job seeker is not self-aware. Everyone has areas for improvement, and it's essential to acknowledge them and show a willingness to grow and develop.

  2. Good answer:

    I sometimes struggle with delegation because I like to take charge of projects and ensure they are done correctly. However, I've been working on developing my trust in my team members' abilities by clearly defining tasks to be delegated, setting expectations, and providing support and feedback throughout the project. This approach has helped me to let go of control, focus more on high-level tasks, and build trust with my team.

    Why it's good: This type of answer shows self-awareness, vulnerability, and a willingness to overcome a weakness. The candidate also highlights proactive steps they have taken to address the weakness and examples of how those steps have improved their performance and collaboration with others.

  3. Bad answer:

    I struggle with time management and often miss deadlines. I haven't really done anything to address this issue, but I hope to get better at it in this new role.

    Why it's bad: This type of answer suggests a lack of initiative, planning, and self-discipline. It also raises red flags about the candidate's ability to handle high-pressure situations, meet deliverables, and prioritize tasks. This type of answer can show a lack of dedication and interest in the role they are interviewing for.

  4. Good answer:

    One area I'm looking to improve is my public speaking skills. I tend to get a bit nervous when speaking in front of large groups, so I've started taking public speaking classes, joining Toastmasters, and practicing by presenting to small groups of colleagues. I've also been seeking out more opportunities to speak in front of others to build my confidence and develop my communication skills.

    Why it's good: This type of answer shows that the candidate is proactive, takes initiative, and is committed to continuous learning and growth. They highlight a specific area for improvement and give concrete examples of how they are working to address it.

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