7 Best Answers to “What Areas Need Improvement?” Interview Question [2024 Guide]

7 Best Answers to “What Areas Need Improvement?” Interview Question [2024 Guide]

You’re feeling confident and nailing the interview, until that dreaded question: “What areas need improvement?” You freeze and try to blurt out something that can hopefully be seen as a potential strength.

Without a well-crafted response to this question, you may appear to lack self-awareness or a growth mindset as an employee. This could negatively impact the interviewer’s perception of your career performance potential. We’re sharing this guide to give tips, strategies, and examples of how you can confidently discuss the skills you need to improve.

What Skills Would You Like to Improve: Example Answers to This Interview Question

During an interview, highlight areas for improvement that complement the role yet are not directly tied to core work responsibilities. For example, if you’re interviewing for a marketing position, you could discuss your efforts to improve your public speaking expertise or enhance your proficiency with data analytics tools.

Woman looking at a job applicant during a job interview

Frame your response positively, focusing on your proactive steps towards self-development and aligning the discussed areas with the company’s values and priorities. At MatchBuilt, we understand the anxiety this question can cause. About 90% of our client companies ask this question, which reflects the crux of a candidate’s journey toward personal and professional growth.

Drawing from our vast experience with thousands of candidates and hundreds of successful placements, we’ve crafted this guide to help you navigate this challenging question with confidence. Here, we share insights and strategies from HR experts, empowering you to transform a potential vulnerability into a testament to your commitment to growth.

You can respond clearly and concisely by describing the specific abilities or expertise you hope to acquire. Rather than stating that your goal is to increase your management experience, you may want to develop your capacity for delegation.

Cynthia B. Okonkwo, CEO and human resources thought leader at Nnamtique, adds,

“Share the successes you’ve experienced due to the conscious efforts to make improvements. For example, sharing that you were once a procrastinator, who now lays out a plan of action to complete projects, is a great one.”

Reviewing a typical example answer to the interview question can give a clear glimpse of how to craft your responses. Here are some examples of answers that cover different work scenarios:

Answer Example 1: First Application

This example gives an approach that best suits a newbie in the employment field. It reveals one’s present ignorance of their weaknesses as far as it concerns the work. However, the respondent acknowledges their imperfection and readiness to learn, an attitude that employers would appreciate.

I’ve been thinking about this as I prepare my first application for employment. Even though I had to overcome obstacles and take exams that tested my strengths in school, I know that business is on an entirely different playing field.

It was hard to identify problem areas before I worked at the company for at least a few weeks. Even so, I can’t claim to be perfect, and I am sure I will identify areas that need improvement. When conscious of my flaws, I may try to remedy the situation and eliminate them.

Woman looking intently at her interviewer during a job interview

Answer Example 2: Customer Support Email Correspondence

This answer shows that you’ve been studying the most effective strategies for ensuring that email correspondence with clients always goes off without a hitch.

I was skilled at dealing with customers over the phone because of my previous position. Unfortunately, that leaves an opportunity with customer support email correspondences.

One or two misspelled words can completely change the meaning of an email, which is why I think it’s vital for customer service representatives to employ caution when communicating with clients via electronic mail.

Answer Example 3: Communication Skills

This example shows that even though you’re competent in both areas, you know their importance in the professional sales industry and would like to get even better. You believe you should strive to improve and never settle for mediocrity.

I debated whether to list “communication skills,” “being more patient with colleagues” as areas for growth on my job application.

And in the end, I chose to include them all. Not because I have trouble conversing with others or giving speeches to an audience.

Answer Example 4: Presentation Skills

In this example, you acknowledge a specific aspect of presentation skills you want to hone (speaking pace and voice modulation) and outline the proactive steps to develop this ability. You demonstrate self-awareness and a commitment to continuous growth in a precious area across various roles and industries.

One area I’m actively working on is enhancing my presentation abilities, particularly when addressing larger groups. Through self-evaluation, I tend to speak at an accelerated pace, especially during the opening segments of my presentations. This could impact the clarity and effectiveness of my delivery.

To address this, I’ve been practicing voice modulation exercises and implementing techniques like conscious pausing to maintain a steady, confident pace. By improving my presentation skills, I aim to become a more compelling communicator, capable of effectively conveying ideas and engaging audiences of all sizes.

Answer Example 5: Mediation Skills

For this answer, you highlight the broader benefits of improved mediation abilities. These include promoting personal growth, fostering collaboration, and contributing to organizational success. You showcase your commitment to fostering a collaborative and productive work environment by highlighting a desire to improve in this area.

While my current role often requires me to negotiate solutions to conflicts, especially in project-based work, I’m actively seeking to enhance my mediation ability. By improving my ability to facilitate constructive dialogue and encourage independent problem-solving, I can empower colleagues to develop their own conflict-resolution abilities.

My approach promotes personal growth and fosters a more collaborative and harmonious team dynamic. This can ultimately contribute to better project outcomes and organizational success.

Man explaining his answer during a job interview session

Answer Example 6: Technical Skills

You might give this answer to acknowledge existing technical proficiencies while emphasizing the importance of continuous learning and skill development in your field. This response showcases a commitment to professional growth, adaptability, and the ability to bring innovative solutions to the organization, making you a valuable asset in a rapidly changing technological landscape.

In my current role, I have developed proficiency in a range of technical tools and software, including data analysis and web development. However, as technology evolves rapidly, I recognize the importance of continuously expanding my skill set to stay ahead of the curve.

I’m actively focusing on enhancing my expertise in software development frameworks and network security. By mastering this cutting-edge technology, I aim to improve my efficiency and productivity and bring innovative solutions to address the company’s evolving challenges.

Answer Example 7: Coaching and Leadership Skills

For this response, you show the benefits of improving your leadership skills, such as fostering a positive work environment, enabling team member growth, and driving organizational success. By highlighting a desire to enhance these abilities, you exhibit a commitment to personal growth and a vision for advancing your career while positively impacting those around you.

As I progress in my career, I’m committed to further developing my leadership and coaching capabilities. I believe that actively mentoring and guiding others helps them achieve their objectives while fostering a more positive and productive work environment.

I aim to become a more well-rounded and impactful manager, capable of bringing out the best in my colleagues and creating an atmosphere that encourages growth and collaboration. This focus on leadership development aligns with my long-term aspirations of driving organizational success through inspiring and empowering those around me.

Two people shaking hands in agreement

How Do You Find Areas to Improve?

Failing to effectively articulate areas you should improve during an interview can significantly hinder your chances of success. Addressing this question thoughtfully demonstrates a commitment to continuous learning and an eagerness to enhance a valuable skill for thriving in the role.

You can use any of the modalities below to determine your areas to improve:

  1. Read the job description for the position and see whether you are filling in well as specified. Strategize on measures you can take to meet the requirements.
  2. Review the company’s goals and mission statement. Do your skills and duties align with them? You can enroll in an online course or practice another skill at work and get feedback from your colleagues.
  3. Understand your own goals by creating a list of professional objectives for the next one, three, five, or more years. Then, evaluate your strengths to determine if they will contribute to your objective. Decide which ones will assist you in accomplishing your objective and focus on those.
  4. Get feedback by talking to a reliable colleague, emailing a previous boss, or examining your evaluations to see if there are any patterns. Then, figure out your strong points and areas where you may need some work.
  5. A knowledgeable mentor can also guide you in determining your career objectives and provide actionable advice for reaching those objectives. You can expose and address potential flaws with their help.

20 Areas of Improvement Valued by Employers

In the journey of professional growth, being aware of key areas for development can significantly increase your career prospects. Below is a table listing 20 areas that employers highly value.

Each area is accompanied by a brief description. They offer insights into how you need to enhance the right skills to make you a more attractive candidate and contribute positively to your workplace.

This table can serve as a reference point for personal development. It can help you identify and focus on areas that align with your career goals and the expectations of potential employers.

Area of Improvement Description/Example
Time Management Enhancing efficiency in managing tasks and deadlines.
Technical Skills Keeping up with relevant technologies and tools in your field.
Communication Skills Improving clarity and effectiveness in verbal and written communication.
Teamwork Collaborating effectively with diverse teams.
Problem-Solving Developing innovative solutions to challenges.
Leadership Taking initiative and leading projects or teams.
Adaptability Flexibly adjusting to new situations and changes.
Emotional Intelligence Understanding and managing your own emotions and empathizing with others.
Creativity Generating new ideas and approaches.
Conflict Resolution Handling disagreements constructively.
Customer Service Enhancing client satisfaction and engagement.
Project Management Efficiently organizing and overseeing projects.
Analytical Thinking Evaluating data and information to make informed decisions.
Continuous Learning Committing to ongoing personal and professional development.
Financial Literacy Understanding basic financial concepts relevant to your role.
Networking Building and maintaining professional relationships.
Organization Keeping work and projects well-structured and orderly.
Public Speaking Improving presentation and speaking skills.
Resilience Bouncing back from setbacks and maintaining a positive attitude.
Cultural Awareness Understanding and respecting diverse cultures and perspectives.

How Should I Answer “What Areas I Need to Improve” in the Performance Review?

When responding to areas to hone in a performance review, identify an area you are currently working on. Instead of focusing on your weaknesses, talk about something you can do well or averagely with the desire to become even better.

There are various examples of areas that need growth in a performance review. It could be communication, problem-solving, or time management. Here’s an example of how you can frame your review:

In the past half a year, I’ve struggled to figure out how to handle issues independently. About 75% percent of the time, I need assistance from coworkers or supervisors.

Within six months, I will use my initiative to solve half of the challenges I face using only the tools at my disposal, such as training manuals, to acquire more specific expertise in areas pertinent to my employment.

Woman talking to an employee at her office

Guidelines for Responding to the Skills to Improve Question

Following these guidelines can help you craft a response that demonstrates self-awareness, a commitment to growth, and alignment with the company’s values and needs. Here’s a guide on how to answer the interview questions about areas for improvement.

1. Research the Company

Understanding the company’s values and approach to challenges can give an idea of what they’re looking for.

As Kali Wolken from The Lookout Point advises, “Echo the company’s language and values in your response to show how you align with them.” 

Taura from Stewart Leadership further suggests, “Identify areas for growth relevant to the job and share how you’re working to improve them, demonstrating self-awareness and problem-solving skills.”

Choose a skill or area for development that isn’t critical to the position’s core responsibilities.

Andrew Fennell of StandOut CV recommends, “Focus on skills that are non-essential but you’re working to enhance, like technical knowledge in marketing skills for future growth.

2. Practice a Story-Like Approach

Narrative is a powerful tool.

Maureen, a career coach with Bravely, proposes, “Tell a story about receiving feedback, how you incorporated it, and the positive changes that resulted. This shows your ability to adapt and grow.

3. Be Honest With a Promise of Growth

Honesty is key, coupled with a commitment to improve.

John Ricco of Atlantic Group advises, “Be honest about your weaknesses, and pair it with actions you’re taking to improve, like courses or reading relevant material.

Woman looking at her interviewer as she reviews her resume during an interview

4. Give a Clear and Concise Response

Clarity and specificity make your response more impactful.

Dani Herrera, a diversity and inclusion professional, suggests, “Be specific about your improvement areas, like struggling with delegation, and use this as a chance to inquire about the company’s support for your growth.

Now that you’ve explored the strategies for responding to improvement-related questions, let’s dive deeper into a practical example. Watch the video below to see these tips in action and gain a clearer understanding of how to articulate your weaknesses in a professional context.

Strategies for Effective Job Interview Answers

Do you intend to impress the interviewer with your responses? You need to take the appropriate approach. Here are some suggestions that may help open dialogue on what could be enhanced.

1. Use the STAR Technique

You can improve your responses to interview questions by using the STAR approach. Elements included in this strategy are:

  • Situation: This section provides an example of a challenging work experience you’ve overcome.
  • Task: In this part of your response, you’ll detail the specific duties and responsibilities you were entrusted with carrying out as a professional.
  • Action: This part describes the measures taken to address the problem.
  • Result: The final component describes the actual consequence of the intervention.

2. Identify Attributes for Self-Development

End on a positive note when discussing your weaknesses with the recruiter. It’s much less daunting to pick an area you’re actively working on improving, like education, training, or self-development activities.

Person writing notes on a clipboard while talking to a man during an interview

3. Prepare Real-Life Examples

Picking a story from your life that’s still relevant can help the hiring manager see your opportunity in a new light. Challenges like these are common for many people throughout their careers.

The likelihood that the recruiter will overlook a minor flaw in your application increases if you use an example they can identify personally or frequently encounter in their work.

Navigating the challenge of discussing your weaknesses in an interview can be tricky. With the right approach, you can turn it into an opportunity to showcase your growth mindset and professionalism.

  • Start with thorough interview preparation. Think about an area you want to develop that doesn’t directly impact the role. 
  • Use a story to illustrate how you’ve turned feedback into positive change. Be honest in your response, and keep it clear and to the point. 
  • Whether enhancing your leadership abilities, developing soft skills, mastering time management, or improving communication, your response should reflect a genuine effort to grow.

4. Maintain a Positive Attitude

Most people’s tone shifts while discussing a flaw instead of a strength. This may hamper your chances of progressing if your mood deteriorates while answering this question.

When discussing your weaknesses, you should be serious. However, once you begin talking about your goals and the steps to hone that particular talent, keep an optimistic tone. 

The hiring manager will likely overlook the flaw and notice your enthusiasm for growth and development if you come across it this way.

Man gesticulating with his hands as he talks with an interviewer

What Is the Meaning and Importance of Self-Improvement in Interviews?

Self-improvement in interviews is not just about identifying gaps in skills or knowledge. It’s also about exploring opportunities for personal and professional growth. I recognize that when interviewers ask about areas to improve, they’re seeking insight into a candidate’s self-awareness and eagerness to develop.

This question goes beyond pinpointing weaknesses. It’s about showcasing what motivates you and demonstrating a proactive approach to enhance a skill like time management, communication, or leadership.

Embracing these development areas is key to excelling in your current role and paving the way for future promotions and successes.

Reasons Why Employers Ask About the Areas You Want to Improve

It’s not about highlighting weaknesses yet revealing a commitment to personal growth. Successful professionals acknowledge their need for continual development, an attitude highly valued in the corporate market.

  • This question enables hiring managers to assess a candidate’s self-awareness, honesty, and willingness to evolve.
  • The essence lies in being open about areas you want to improve, showcasing integrity and a growth mindset.

Woman holding at her notebook while looking at one of her interviewer during a job interview

Taura D. Prosek from Stewart Leadership emphasizes that employers seek qualified candidates who have the potential to grow and contribute long-term to the organization. This approach guarantees that the recruitment process aligns with the company’s goals of retaining and nurturing talent.

Hiring managers know applicants with no gaps in skills or experience required for the role are likely overqualified and will only be fulfilled for a short time. With the increased focus on retention in many organizations, most are looking for candidates who will stay and grow with the organization.

Common Pitfalls in Answering and How to Avoid Them

Check out the video below that provides real-life examples of the typical mistakes candidates make while answering this tricky question. It offers you a chance to learn from these scenarios before you know how to navigate them effectively.

  • Avoid mentioning a significant work skill as a weakness: One of the most common errors is mentioning a skill valuable for the role as a weakness. My experience with clients shows that highlighting a gap in a critical skill can be a deal-breaker. For instance, admitting a lack of tech-savviness could be detrimental if the role demands administrative proficiency.
  • Don’t disguise a strength as a weakness: Many candidates attempt to frame a strength as a weakness, like claiming to be perfectionists or overly diligent. However, feedback from HR professionals indicates this tactic is transparent and often perceived as disingenuous. Choose a genuine area to develop that doesn’t undermine your suitability for the role.
  • Maintain consistent eye contact: Candidates who maintain steady eye contact are perceived as more confident and trustworthy. Avoiding eye contact during this part of the interview, especially if you’ve maintained it earlier, can be interpreted as dishonesty or discomfort. Continual eye contact reassures the interviewer of your sincerity.

Related Questions

Sharing what you need to improve can be a tricky question, as it requires balancing acknowledging weaknesses while demonstrating self-awareness and a willingness to improve. These are some of the most frequently asked questions about how to respond to which areas you need to develop.

How Do You Answer, “What One Skill Would You Like to Improve On and Why?”

Suppose you can only describe one skill. You can say something like, “If I had to identify one key area to improve, it would be enhancing my project management capabilities. Developing stronger skills in this area would significantly improve my job performance by enabling me to lead cross-functional teams and deliver projects more efficiently”.

How to Respond to, “What Would You Like to Improve About Yourself?”

Here’s an example of how to respond to what you would like to improve about yourself: “When discussing areas for personal growth, I focus on skills that complement the role. For instance, I’ve been dedicating time to upskilling in data visualization tools, as strong data storytelling abilities can be a valuable asset across various functions”.

What Are Some of the Areas That Employees Need to Improve?

Employees can improve in various areas, such as time management, communication skills, customer service, teamwork, writing, and leadership. Other areas you can improve include organization skills, accepting feedback, giving constructive criticism, interpersonal skills, and problem-solving.

Man holding a piece of paper as he prepares for his interview


Showcasing a genuine desire to develop and providing concrete examples of your efforts can leave a lasting impression on the interviewer. This approach positions you as a valuable asset who can contribute to the company’s success while progressing in your career journey.

Apply the tips and examples we’ve discussed, and infuse your responses with a bit of your personal touch. This way, you’ll demonstrate your honesty, self-awareness, and dedication to continuous growth.

And if you’re looking for more advice on tackling other interview questions, MatchBuilt has got you covered. Check out our insights on “tell me about yourself,” “Why do you want this job?“, “What makes you unique?“, “Why do you want to work here?“, “What is your biggest achievement?“, “Why should we hire you?“, and other common behavioral interview questions.