Doesn’t matter what career path you pursue in your life, or what job you apply for. Employers will always wonder about your attitude to learning new things and improving on your skills. Not that it is necessary to do so in all jobs–many jobs are simple and repetitive and you do not really need to improve on any skills to handle them–but it is one of those things that characterize an employee with the right attitude to work and life. Or at least that’s what the hiring managers think, that employees who constantly strive to get better are the best employees. So, what do they want to hear from you?
Basically they want to hear some enthusiasm in your voice when you talk about things you want to improve on. In an ideal case, you should NOT mention some skill that is absolutely pivotal for the job you try to get. Let me give you an example: If you apply for a job in sales, it would be a mistake saying that you would like to improve your communication skills, because you really struggle to sound convincing and confident while talking to others. Another example: Applying for an office manager job and saying that your MS office skills need a lot of improvement… Such statements would basically disqualify you from the selection process, since it is one the basic requirements of the job, to handle MS office.
Having said that, you should not sound overconfident either, saying there’s nothing you can or would like to improve on. Pick some secondary skill, something that isn’t crucial for your success in the job, but will help you to do it even better. Some great examples are time-management, leadership, being able to provide and receive constructive criticism, or improving on some technical skills that will make you more efficient in the job.
Another alternative is picking one of your hobbies, saying you want to improve on your skill in that area. Think piano playing, cooking, speaking a foreign language. Employees who have some hobbies, and live their life also outside of the work, are less prone to suffering a burnout, or other mental issues that so many employees suffer nowadays, and hiring managers always like to pick them over people who live and breathe only for their job.
Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to this interesting interview question. I tried to include on my list a nice variety of answers for different jobs and skills, and also some unorthodox answers that will make your interviewers think. I hope at least one of them will resonate with you and help you find your own perfect answer. Enjoy!
7 example answers to “What skills would you like to improve?” interview question
- I would love to improve on my time-management skills. They aren’t terrible to be honest, but I still feel I should be able to get more things done on a daily basis, be it at work or at home. I am reading books on the subject and hope to attend some workshops as well, and perhaps a job in your company will also help me to improve on my skills in this area.
- Communication skills. As easy as that, and you’ve probably noticed it in this interview already. As a software engineer I typically do not talk to many people on a daily basis, but I also realize that one cannot spend 10 hours a day in front of a computer talking to nobody. Communication is important in every job, and that’s why I would like to improve on it.
- To be honest with you, I would like to improve on everything. Not that I struggle with something in particular, but I am simply that kind of a person who is never completely satisfied with their skills–be it technical skills or soft skills, or even my football playing skills. But that doesn’t mean that I am desperate and unhappy about my life or results. I understand that everything is a process, an that it takes time to get better in this or that endeavor. And I try my best to get better every day, and enjoy the process.
- Well, since I am applying for my very first job, I do not really know what to improve on. Sure, I excelled at the college, aced my exams, made impression on the teachers. But I want to stay humble, and I am aware the corporate job and college studies are two different things altogether. One thing I can assure you though–whatever skills I need to improve on to excel in this job, I am ready to do so!
- Constant improvement is a trap. At the end of the day, we’re not getting younger, and life doesn’t always follow an upward trajectory. Once we excel and seem to be getting better in what we do, another time things do not go as we would love them to. In my opinion though, it is completely normal and one should not strive for constant improvement… I am aware of my skills and strengths and that I can do an excellent job as an HR generalist. But I do not think all the time that I could do better this or that. It would only give me stress and impact me negatively health-wise.
- The first answer that comes to my mind is piano playing. I’ve been practicing a lot the last 5 years, but I still feel there’s so much room to grow, to improve as a player. To play with more emotions, better technique, to handle the difficult passages, to play some of the Chopin’s concerts… But it is a process I like, and I am not discouraged by the setbacks that each learner experiences in the course of their piano studies. And I want to bring the same attitude to my job.
- Feedback. That’s my answer. To be able to receive constructive criticism, and to be able to deliver it in a proper way to my subordinates. That’s something I struggled a lot with in my last job, and it is one of the reasons why I lost it. But it isn’t the end of the world. I am here now, ready for another chance, and hope to improve on my ability to receive and to give feedback to the people I work with.
So that’s it! I hope you enjoyed the list and know how to deal with this one now. If you’re still not sure, I recommend you to check 7 sample answers to similar interview questions:
- What are the three things your former manager would like you to improve on?
- What have you learned from your biggest mistakes?
- How would you describe your communication skills?