Job Interview Question & Answer: How Do You Want to Improve Yourself in the Next Year?

How To Talk About Shortcomings

Remain Calm
When interview questions like “How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?” arise, job seekers might initially feel inclined to avoid revealing any shortcomings for fear of seeming unqualified for the position. However, avoiding the question or responding in a vague manner will likely raise the suspicions of the interviewer, as everyone can improve in some way. To answer the question effectively, interviewees must respond honestly and reveal a fixable shortcoming without creating doubts about personal ability to perform the job.

Focus on the Big Picture
Similar to inquiries about biggest weaknesses, interview questions pertaining to self-improvement demand introspective responses. Interviewers generally use the line of questioning first to evaluate the self-awareness of applicants and then to assess the severity of any shortcomings mentioned. Claiming to need no improvement typically comes across as disingenuous, while revealing a major shortcoming often shows poor judgment and may even result in disqualification from the hiring process. Interviewees therefore need to identify a legitimate area of improvement while still demonstrating fulfillment of the qualifications most relevant to the position. For example, a prospective accountant would probably want to refrain from mentioning bookkeeping skills as an area of improvement during an interview.

Tie Responses into the Position
To select an appropriate shortcoming to discuss with potential employers, think about the major requirements of the desired job. Then, focus on revealing areas of improvement unrelated to the most highly sought requirements. Keep the conversation centered on making professional improvements rather than personal ones, as interviewers remain primarily concerned with the job-related attributes of potential employees.

Provide a Plan
After identifying a professional area of improvement, provide a realistic strategy for dealing with the shortcoming and talk about any steps already taken to address the issue. Employers not only want to see the self-awareness necessary for recognizing areas needing improvement, but also the ability to solve the problem logically and independently.

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