This question is designed to find out how you view yourself and your opportunities for growth. It can also be asked to get a feel for your priorities. In other words, are you interested in improving yourself more in a personal or professional capacity.
Your response will give your interviewer an idea of what your focus is in life as well as your desire to continually grow and improve yourself, notable qualities of many successful professionals.
Points to Emphasize
Strive to make your answer relate to work in some appreciable way, but don't get hung up on making it all about the job:
- Discuss ways to you want to improve and relate them to on-going efforts and ways in which you have already improved yourself.
- Some general answers can be work-related, such as discussing a desire to improve your communication habits.
- Think on your feet to avoid long delays—good self-awareness is often considered to be a good trait.
- For best results, keep a positive, upbeat tone in your response.
Make sure you give this question genuine thought and an honest response. Interviewers will likely see through flimsy replies.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
It's fine if your answer isn't solely work-related, but don't make it totally personal.
Interviewers need to more than your motivation to get in beach shape before next summer.
- Don't rattle off a laundry list of resolutions and pet peeves you want to get rid of—keep your response focused and positive-minded.
- Set realistic goals. Shooting for the moon sounds disingenuous; setting insignificant goals might come across as brushing off the question.
- Avoid long pauses, which suggest that you haven't given this type of subject much thought previously.
- Make sure never to disregard the question or talk around it—give your interviewer a real and direct answer.
Employers often prefer to hire individuals who are focused on improving themselves as people and as contributors in the workplace. Make sure it's clear you fit the bill.
Tailor your response to include your own ambitions, but use this response as a starting point if you're struggling with this inquiry:
At the moment, I'm learning to speak Spanish in order to make it easier to communicate with a larger number of people. I'm also focused on developing my technical skills so I can pursue an interest in programming in the future, particularly since a lot of the knowledge I pick up will benefit me professionally as well.
This example describes a few specific self-improvements, both of which can be related to work. The answers are mature, realistic, and display active motivation.