When an interviewer throws this one out there, they really aren't trying to make you uncomfortable, and they aren't even necessarily looking to see how you assess your own performance. Instead, they are getting a combination of that insight and also insight into how you discuss your supervisors and their demands. This allows them to better understand your outlook as an employee and your methods for communicating about sensitive topics.
Points to Emphasize
Keep these things in mind as you go, and you should do just fine.
- If you feel like your current boss would mention that you have been improving in a core area, mention that so that you can talk about how.
- It might be worthwhile to discuss how this area where you need improvement fits into the overall picture for the job, so they understand how this skill or task fits into your job description.
- The best thing you can do is focus on something you are fairly new to doing, so that you can show how you grow into tasks and what you do to improve as you acclimate.
- Remember, they want sober assessment. Try to be lightly positive, but not overconfident.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
These are common missteps that can cost you the job, but with a little planning and foresight it's not too hard to get around them.
- Never use this as an opportunity to question your boss's judgment about your performance. This is a toxic strategy that hiring managers will pick up on right away.
- Don't focus too much on your individual negative performances or get lost in anecdotes, this is about more general tasks or traits.
- Avoid blame-shifting, especially if you are interviewing for a position that is heavily team-oriented.
- You should not be your own biggest critic. It's important to be honest, but keep your language direct and informative and avoid talking yourself down.
Here's one strategy for turning the question into an opportunity for positive reflection. As you work on yours, try to keep it concise too.
I think my boss would probably say I take a bit more than I should, and it makes me tire out. We've strategized this together, and I have developed a stronger sense about when to delegate over time, but I still do have ups and downs in my productivity because of the occasional over-scheduling.
The key is the strategy for improvement, and the commitment to hearing criticism and responding constructively.