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Interview Questions and Answers: What Areas Do You Need to Improve?
Most candidates for a job are confused by this interview question. It sounds like a trick question which they don’t really understand and don’t know how to answer. In a way, it is a more tricky question and this is particularly why it’s best to have a really good answer prepared for it.
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The Meaning of This Question
What is an interviewer looking for when he asks you for an answer to “What areas do you need to improve?" Job interview questions like this one have very specific purposes.
First of all, they’re usually not interested in your verbal answer to the question, as much as they are in your emotional reaction. They want to see if this question makes you feel uncomfortable or you can remain composed. If you can, it’s a sign that you respond well to pressure, which is an important quality in many jobs, especially management ones.
Secondly, they are interested in your ability to be honest. If you deny having any areas you need to improve, you’re obviously lying and refusing to present yourself as you are during the interview. This makes anything else you say less believable and significantly decreases you chances to pass the interview.
Finally, interviewers do actually want to find out the areas you need to improve and they hope to get this information from you. Every potential employee has development requirements which a good employer will want to take into consideration.
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The Best Way to Answer This Question
Once you understand the meaning of the question, it is much easier to prepare a powerful answer for it. Here are the central guidelines for addressing a question about the areas you need to improve:
1. Expect the question. Know that you probably will be asked this question (it is a very common one) and don’t be surprised when you hear it. This way, you have the best chances to remain composed.
2. Watch your body language. Make sure you do not break eye-contact or start to fidget when you hear this question. Your body language is the main channel to communicate how the question is affecting you emotionally and you want to convey that you are not bothered by it.
3. Talk about a real area you need to improve. By now it's obvious that claiming that you have no area requiring improvement is not a good idea. It is best to acknowledge you do and to pick an area you truly need to improve. Honesty can create great results during an interview.
4. Pick your area strategically. Although you want to talk about a real area requiring improvement, you also want to pick one which puts you in a favorable spot. The best thing you can do is pick an area which does not reflect a very relevant flaw for the job in discussion. Also, it can help if you choose a flaw which is partially a quality. Pick for example something such as being a perfectionist or being too kind with others.
Keep these ideas in mind and you will be able to answer to what areas do you need to improve job interview question in a way which projects honesty and confidence, without visibly handicapping yourself. This is the best way to present yourself during an interview.
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