More Interview Questions and Answers

In what ways do you intend to improve upon your performance?

Alternative and related questions:

How do you think you can improve upon your performance?
Do you think you need to improve upon your performance?
Can you tell me about your last appraisal?
What areas for improvement were identified at your last appraisal?
What training needs do you have?

The meaning behind the question:

This is an interesting question, specifically because, by implication, it is suggesting that there are indeed ways in which you need to improve.  It's a question an interviewer might well ask as an immediate follow-up to the question we covered previously in Chapter 3, "Can you tell me about your last appraisal?"  This question is designed to prompt you to admit precisely where there is room for improvement in your performance.  In some ways it can be seen as a version of the Top 10 question, "What are your weaknesses?"

Your answer:

Are they asking in what ways or in what areas?  And does it really make any difference?

You're kind of damned if you do and damned if you don't with this question!  It's rather a Catch-22.  If you say you feel there aren't any ways in which you need to improve upon your performance then you'll come across not only as arrogant but as someone who is unlikely to develop further because they don't even perceive the need for further development.  Conversely, if you do talk about specific ways in which you intend to improve upon your performance then you're immediately admitting a weakness.

The best solution is to keep your answer to this question pretty general and, without declaring any specific area of weakness, emphasise that you are always looking for ways in which you can improve upon your performance and that you're always open to training and development opportunities.  Alternatively, you can mention a specific area provided that it is an area which is not critical to your ability to undertake the role for which you are applying.

Example:

I'm always looking for ways in which I can improve upon my performance; I'm always open to training and development opportunities.  Everyone always has room for improvement; you can never be too good at anything.  For example, I find I am now required to give presentations from time to time and, while I'm generally happy with the way I handle these, it's fair to say that I've not had any prior training in this, so I am just about to embark on an evening course to help me to improve upon this aspect of my work.

Word of warning:

Admit to any specific weaknesses and you could immediately eliminate yourself from the running.  However, if you don't mention any specific areas for improvement, there's always the chance that the interviewer may go on to press you to discuss one.  In this case, your answer should be along the lines of my example above.



The Interview Question & Answer Book

The Interview Question and Answer Book

Take the fear out of your interview and never be stuck for the right answer to even the toughest questions with The Interview Question & Answer Book.

The job market is fierce, competition has never been greater and it's important that you can grab every opportunity for competitive advantage and stay one step ahead. Written by one of the world's leading careers experts and bestselling author of The Interview Book, this definitive guide to questions and answers encourages every job-hunter to think on your feet and express your individuality while supplying ideal responses to interview questions so that you’re seen as the ideal candidate for the job.

 

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More interview questions and answers

 

Talking about your current employment

Talking about this vacancy

Understanding your career path, plans and ambitions

Addressing problems in your career history

Coping with stress and pressure

Defining teamwork

Management and leadership

Personal and professional development

Interests and activities

The amateur psychiatrist

Money, money, money

Health

Relocation

Deal-making

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