This isn’t one of the more commonly asked questions in a first interview, but it may come up in a final interview or even in your yearly review.
It’s a question that you should be prepared for!
1. Why It's Being Asked
The reason that the interviewer is asking the question is because they want you to evaluate yourself and your skills. It has nothing to do with what your supervisor actually thought, but it’s how you see your abilities at your job.
Let’s say you’re working in the IT department. You may spend all of your time working with servers and networks, so your skills in troubleshooting are limited. Your supervisor may have recommended that you take a course on troubleshooting to help you improve your skills in a valuable area.
The interviewer wants to know if you think there are any gaps in your experience or education. It’s a simple question to answer, but one that requires a bit of thought before the interview.
2. How to Answer the Question
To answer the question honestly, tell them what you think about your skills.
You can give them an answer along the lines of "I was given praise in my last position for my skills in X, Y, and Z, but I know my supervisor wanted me to take courses to improve my skills in A, B, and C areas."
This shows that you are confident in what you can do, but that you’re willing to admit that you don’t know it all and can make mistakes. By proving that you realize your weaknesses, you show that you are a responsible, mature adult who can own up to shortcomings.
You don’t want to say, "No, the supervisor was completely pleased with my performance in all areas" (unless, of course, it’s true and you were a model employee!) Go over your previous job and think about any areas where you may have been lacking or any skills that could use improvement, and answer with those things.
3. Bonus: Consider Doing a Bit of Research
If you can think of an area where your supervisor might have recommended training, it’s time to do a bit of research. BEFORE you go in for the interview, find courses or programs that will help you to shore up your weak areas. When you attend the interview, you can give an answer like:
"My supervisor would have recommended training in X area, which is why I’ve been looking for the best program/course to enroll in". This shows that you are trying to improve your skills yourself, indicating that you take your job and your abilities very seriously.
Don’t worry about this question! It’s an easy one to answer, and you don’t have to feel like it’s a trap. Just spend some time thinking about it before you attend the interview, and prepare an honest answer.
Did your interviewer ask you this question? How did you answer it? Got any advice to share? Leave a comment below and let us know…