What would your manager say was the area you needed most development in?

This question might also sound like, “What would your boss say you need to improve on?” No doubt about it…impressing your boss is always important, and we all have things about ourselves that we could improve on. But, as with all job interview questions, you must be thoughtful and strategic with how you answer it.

This question is an obvious effort to find out more about your weaknesses, so think about it like the weakness question. There are several strategies you can take: name a real weakness that would be irrelevant for this job, or name a strength that could be even better. If you name a weakness, it must be something that won’t matter or have an effect on your performance in this job, and it’s even better if the weakness is something that helps you in your job even though it might hold you back in your personal life. If you name a strength, it must not be an essential strength you need for good performance on this job.

For instance, if you are a project manager, obviously you wouldn’t say you needed better organizational skills. But you also don’t want to say that you could have better communication skills. That’s a pretty big deal for someone who coordinates people, things, and deadlines. Maybe you would say that you needed to improve on your patience, as in, you sometimes get impatient with the pace of progress, because you are so focused on getting the job done.

In my case, I would say something about needing more detail-management (not a factor in whether or not I make the sale, but also something that nearly everyone could benefit from some improvement in), but then I would talk about the steps I am currently taking to either correct or eliminate that as an issue—organizational software, a great app, something. Talk about how you are correcting the problem, and then give an instance where the steps you are taking worked.

If you are lucky enough that your current boss is going to be one of your references, one great strategy is to get with him or her ahead of time and go over what they might say in response to general job interview questions about your strengths, your weaknesses, your greatest accomplishments, etc. Prepping your references before the interview is a fantastic, proactive thing to do. And in this particular instance, you can make sure you’re on the same page so that your answers don’t conflict.

Author's Bio: 

This article is part of the How To Answer Interview Questions Series from Career Coach Peggy McKee of Career Confidential .

Find this article along with 100 more tough but typical job interview questions and answers here => What would your manager say was the area you need the most development in?