How to answer “What Skills Would You Like To Improve?” in an interview ?
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Interviewers can ask a range of questions during job interviews to learn more about the candidates and evaluate their suitability for the available positions. Questions about skills are common, and it is essential to prepare well for these ahead of the interview. By understanding the purpose behind asking about skills you want to improve, you can provide thoughtful, honest replies that make a good impression on the interviewers. In this article, we discover why interviewers ask, ‘What skills would you like to improve?’, explain how to answer this question, provide example answers and get tips to prepare proper responses.
Why do interviewers ask, ‘What skills would you like to improve?
Interviewers often ask, ‘What skills would you like to improve?’ during job interviews to allow candidates to provide an honest assessment of themselves. They want to check how self-aware the candidates are, if they are confident about their abilities and if they understand the requirements of the available position. The purpose of the question is also to test the candidates’ growth potential and willingness to learn necessary skills.
You may encounter this common interview question phrased in various other ways. Here are a few examples:
- What are some of the skills you need to improve?
- Can you describe one thing you would like to improve about yourself?
- What are some areas in which you ought to improve?
- In your opinion, what can you do to improve your work performance?
How to answer interview questions about improving work skills
The following suggestions may help you to formulate effective answers to interview questions about improving your professional skills:
1. Consider your existing skills
It is a good idea to compile a list of your existing skills that are relevant to the available work position. List them in the order of proficiency. Review the skills in the list and mark the ones you use every day. If you have used these in successful projects, you can mention them in your response. Then consider the skills you use less often and think about what you can do to improve these. Being clear about this can make a good impression on the interviewers.
2. Choose a skill to improve
When you discuss skills to improve, it is advisable to select skills that can benefit the available job but are not essential for it. For instance, if you are interviewing for a computer programmer job, public speaking skills are not crucial for the work. However, if you can speak before an audience, it may benefit you as you advance to senior leadership roles. Aside from communication skills, you can talk about wanting to improve in other areas such as mediation, mentoring, networking and presentation.
3. Discuss your reasons for wanting to improve
After you mention the skills you want to improve, the interviewer may want to know the purpose of these improvements. You can provide them with your exact reasons and mention the steps you are taking to develop your skills. Try to convey how you can use the skills to succeed in the available position. That can give them an idea of your ability to look ahead and plan. It can also show them that you are serious about your career and have ambitions to advance in it.
4. Talk about current competencies
You can use the STAR method to prepare effective interview responses that demonstrate your competency and experience with specific skills. The STAR method involves formulating an answer after considering the specific situation, task, action and result. Consider why you needed to use that particular skill, the task or role you had to handle, the steps you took in response to the situation and the result of your actions. That can help you prepare an appropriate response.
5. Enquire about company-sponsored training programmes
While talking about the skills you would like to improve, you can take the opportunity to enquire how the company might assist you in the matter. Many companies offer professional development programmes to their employees to develop their work skills or help them learn new ones. By asking the interviewer if they conduct such courses, you can get more information about the company’s policy of empowering its employees. You can then decide if working there could benefit your career in the long term.
Example answers for ‘What skills would you like to improve?’
You can refer to these example answers to prepare your responses to interview questions about the work skills you want to improve:
Question 1: “In your opinion, what are some of the work skills you may benefit from improving?”
Example answer: “As a graphic designer, I feel I might benefit from improving my social media skills, especially as they relate to sharing my work across different channels and improving my interactions with people in the industry. Since a lot of the graphic design work I do is related to marketing, having in-depth marketing knowledge is essential in this line of work. By learning newer ways of marketing, I may be able to create designs that increase customer engagement and lead to more sales.
Currently, I am learning to create visually appealing graphics that can work for social media and email marketing. Do you have specific programmes in your company that can help with this kind of skill development?“
Question 2: “If you had to improve one thing about yourself, what would it be?”
Example answer: “If I had to improve just one thing about myself, it would be my public speaking skills. While my current position as a junior industrial designer does not require me to make public presentations, I know it may be necessary as I advance in my career. Gaining more confidence as a public speaker could help me give excellent presentations to important clients. Additionally, improving my communication skills can enable me to get along better with co-workers and clients.
To become a better public speaker, I am taking acting classes with a local drama group at our local theatre. That is helping me to become more comfortable and confident in speaking before an audience. Since we also do improvisations, I am learning to respond quickly and appropriately to unexpected situations. Can you tell me about any professional development training programmes that you offer that can help me further improve my public speaking skills?“
Question 3: “Can you tell me about some of the areas in which you want to develop further?”
Example answer: “I believe that it is essential to continually improve in all areas to keep up with new industry developments. For instance, while I have a good grasp of Java, I know there is still a lot to learn to become a better programmer. My regular interactions with other Java programmers keep me informed about industry requirements, and I improve my coding skills by reading and reviewing their code.
I also update my knowledge by visiting Java programming websites, watching Java-related videos and reading articles and books on Java. I set aside an hour every day to expand my programming skills. Does your company offer any programming workshops or training programmes that I could benefit from?“
Tips for answering questions about skills you want to improve
The following tips may help you to prepare your responses regarding the skills you would like to improve:
Focus on professional skills
When you discuss the skills you want to improve, it is advisable that you only mention professional skills relevant to the available position. It may help to reread the job advertisement before the interview and note the employer’s exact skill requirements. You can then incorporate these in your response.
When interviewers ask about the skills you want to improve, the purpose is to assess your level of professional self-awareness. They do not expect you to be perfect. So, instead of claiming you are up-to-date in all areas, it is advisable to be humble and give a thoughtful answer. Provide at least one example of a skill that you want to improve.
You are likely to make a positive impression on the interviewer if you give them an honest assessment of the skills you want to improve. It shows a self-awareness that you understand the areas in which you need to improve and are willing to do what is necessary to get better. You can also mention what you hope to achieve by improving your skills.
Express willingness to learn
With rapid economic and technological changes occurring across different industries, it is necessary for employees to keep learning new skills to stay relevant in the workplace. By expressing a willingness to learn new skills, you demonstrate a readiness to accept work challenges and receive feedback. That can increase your chances of getting selected for the job.
Highlight existing skills
When you mention the skills you would like to improve, it is a good idea to highlight the relevant work skills in which you are already proficient. That can give the interviewers a better idea of your capabilities. It can also underline your suitability for the job.