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?"
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.
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
More interview questions and answers
Talking about your current employment
- Can you tell me what you enjoy about your current job?
- What will you remember most about your last job?
- Is this the first time you have made an effort to move away from your current employers?
- How do you feel about the possibility of leaving your current job?
- How would you describe your current employer?
Talking about this vacancy
- Wouldn’t you be better suited to working in a larger/smaller organisation?
- How do you feel this vacancy differs from your current role?
- What reservations do you have about your ability to undertake this job?
- Can you describe your ideal working environment to me?
- How do you feel we compare to our competitors?
- What would you say is our Unique Selling Point?
- What would be your analysis of the current trends in our industry/sector?
Understanding your career path, plans and ambitions
- What aspects of your career path would you like to have been different?
- What are your greatest regrets about the path your career has taken?
- What has been the greatest challenge you have faced in your career to date?
- What do you think are your main career options for the next five years?
- What exactly does the word ‘success’ mean to you?
Addressing problems in your career history
- Why did you only stay with this organisation for such a short time?
- Why did you stay with this organisation for such a long time?
Coping with stress and pressure
- Are you able to multitask?
- Can you juggle a number of different projects simultaneously?
- How do you handle rejection/disappointment/failure?
- How do you deal with interpersonal conflict?
- What does tact and diplomacy mean to you?
- What makes for a successful team?
Management and leadership
- Would you describe yourself as a good manager?
- Do you really think you’re management material?
- What is your attitude to delegation?
- Can you give me an example of a time when you had to lead from the front?
- Have you ever had to fire or lay off a member of your staff?
- How would you describe your ideal team member?
Personal and professional development
- In what ways do you intend to improve upon your performance?
- How has your current job prepared you for greater challenges/responsibility?
Interests and activities
- What book are you reading at the moment?
- What newspaper do you take?
- Are you interested in current affairs?
The amateur psychiatrist
- If you won the lottery what would you do?
- Can you tell me about the best teacher you ever had?
- If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be and why?
- What are you most afraid of?
Money, money, money
- Why aren’t you earning more?
- How much do you think you are really worth?
- How much does money matter to you?
- Would you still be interested in this job if you current employer offered a pay rise?
- Have you ever had to take a pay cut to keep your job?
- Have you ever asked for but been refused a pay rise?
Author: James Innes