When taking part in a job interview, there are certain things you mustn't say if an interviewer asks you what you want to change about yourself. Don't say you'd change your pants, your socks or your work ethic. Additionally, although it may sound good, claiming to have zero bad points isn't a good response either because it makes you look like you're hiding something. The interviewer is not interested in hearing about all of your insecurities and weaknesses. Instead, share with her a change that could be seen as a positive.
Pick Something Irrelevant to the Role
Before you attend the interview, know the key skills and abilities required for the job. That way, when the "what would you change" question comes up, you can pick something not particularly relevant to the role. For example, it's best not to say you wish you could have a steadier hand if you're applying to be a decorator. But you could suggest that you're not good at public speaking -- if it's a skill rarely required of someone in your target profession.
A Non-Threatening Weakness
Advice from the University of Iowa suggests choosing your most "angelic" weakness. This means something that isn't the end of the world if you can't change it. For example, you could say that you wish your focus was less intense because it tends to annoy your spouse or children. An employer usually won't mind having a particularly focused employee. On the other hand, hold off on mentioning a "devilish" weakness that could affect job performance, such as stating you have a tendency to daydream or procrastinate.
Stating your weaknesses can be a downer, but if an interviewer asks you to change something, you need to provide an answer. One option is to pick out the positive in the question. For example, suggest that you are always looking for ways to change and build upon your skills. Choose an area you want to improve -- such as your presentation skills -- and say that you plan to change through observation and practice.
Answering the "change about yourself" question in certain ways can backfire on you, even if you get the job. For example, as Careers Club International explains it, saying you're a workaholic is setting yourself up to get evening and weekend work thrown your way. Similarly, if you say you would change your "perfectionism," then your new employers may be expecting someone with incredible attention to detail. Of course, if either of the above traits is true about you, then feel free to provide them as your answer.
Based near London, U.K., Peter Mitchell has been a journalist and copywriter for over eight years. Credits include stories for "The Guardian" and the BBC. Mitchell is an experienced player and coach for basketball and soccer teams, and has written articles on nutrition, health and fitness. He has a First Class Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) from Bristol University.