The reason why interviewers ask this question is to find out about a candidate’s weakness(es), ability to perform self-assessment and then evaluate if the profile is still compatible with the needs of the position. In essence, it’s a modified version of the “What is your greatest weakness?” interview question.
Example Answer (With Experience)
“If I could change one thing about myself, I’d like to stop spending too much time on the details of a project. In my previous job, I was often called a “punctilious person“ because I polished and scrutinized the work for errors and subjecting it to the highest standards of quality control.
This might seem like a strength in disguise, and surely there are positives for being punctilious, but my habits also affected the team’s productivity and often resulted in me doing most of the work. That’s because I was reluctant to delegate.
Nowadays, I’m checking in with myself at regular intervals and giving myself a chance to refocus on the bigger picture. That way, I don’t worry unduly and can relinquish my control over to other colleagues.”
Example Answer (No Experience)
“One thing that I’d like to change about myself is the tendency to over-analyze my work. It’s a habit that helps me identify mistakes, but it also cripples my productivity. Although it served me well so far, it could create a bottleneck in my workflow when the workload becomes heavier.
As a recent graduate, I should be more comfortable with the process of making mistakes as part of the learning process. That’s why I’m currently working on curbing my over-analyzing tendencies by reading books such as: “Nudge: The final Decision” by Richard H. Thaler.”
Interview Question Tips
- Don’t say you don’t want to change anything, or that you’ve never thought about it. That will only prove your lack of self-awareness and self-improvement.
- Don’t point out a weakness that will affect your performance on the job. For example, if you seek a position in sales, you don’t want to inform the interviewer about interpersonal weaknesses.
- Do prepare for self-improvement interview questions. Think about a genuine weakness and how you’ll turn it into a strength. You can also start with a strength and inform them how you’d like to leverage that specific skill.
- Do avoid generic answers and clichés like: “I am a perfectionist and sometimes tend to be too hard on myself.” or “I’m kind of a workaholic and sometimes push myself too hard.”