Answering behavioral interview questions can be tricky. After all, you want to come across as capable—not like you’re fumbling through everything. However, interviewers often ask behavioral questions to understand how you handle difficult situations. So, how do you answer a question like, “describe a skill that was difficult for you to learn?” Here are a few tips.
How to Answer “Describe a skill that was difficult for you to learn” in an Interview
Don’t be afraid to admit that you had difficulty.
Let’s face it—learning new things can be hard. And that’s okay! Admitting that something was difficult for you shows that you’re honest and can reflect on your successes and failures. Be sure not to dwell on the negative too much; focus on how you overcame the challenge.
Discuss the steps you took to learn the skill.
This is your chance to show off your problem-solving abilities. Talk about the different methods you tried to learn the skill—did you read about it, watch videos, or ask someone for help? By sharing the steps you took, you’ll demonstrate both your resourcefulness and your determination.
Explain what made the skill difficult for you.
Was it a complex concept? Something that required coordination? This is another opportunity to showcase your problem-solving skills by discussing what was challenging and how you eventually overcame that challenge.
Highlight what you learned from the experience.
You can use this final point to tie everything together and emphasize what makes you an ideal candidate for the job. Learning new things can be tough, but it’s important to remember that everyone goes through challenges—what matters most is how we grow from them. So, think about what this particular experience taught you and how it will help you excel in your interviewing role.
Example Answers to “Describe a Skill that Was Difficult for You to Learn”
Example Answer 1
One skill that was difficult for me to learn was time management. I’m the type of person who likes to dive headfirst into projects and get things done as quickly as possible. However, I soon learned this wasn’t always the most effective approach. I struggled to meet deadlines, so I knew I needed to change my approach.
I started by creating to-do lists and setting daily, weekly, and monthly goals. I also began scheduling time for breaks and learning to say ‘no’ when necessary. It was a difficult adjustment initially, but it helped me become more productive and efficient.
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Example Answer 2
I would say that public speaking was one of the more difficult skills for me to learn. I always felt very awkward and uncomfortable getting up in front of people, and it took a lot of practice and patience before I finally started to feel more confident. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but I’ve learned to manage my nerves better and now enjoy it more than I used to.
I think the key for me was to keep at it. The more I spoke in front of groups, the easier it became. And now that I’ve had some success with it, I enjoy doing it and look forward to future opportunities.
Example Answer 3
It was difficult for me to learn to be patient. As a first-generation immigrant, I believed “hard work equals success.” I would rush through tasks and expect instant results. This impatience caused me a lot of stress and resulted in poor academic performance and work performance.
It wasn’t until I learned about the power of mindfulness that I started training my brain to be more patient. Through mindfulness, I learned how to stay in the present moment and not get wrapped up in anxious thoughts about the future. This practice has helped me tremendously in all areas of life, from being more patient with my kids to be more productive at work.
Example Answer 4
It was difficult for me to learn how to balance work and personal/family responsibilities. I struggled with trying to do it all for a long time and felt like I was never doing either thing well. It wasn’t until I started focusing on one task at a time and accepting that certain things would have to wait until later that I finally got the hang of it. I’m much more relaxed about my schedule and can better manage my time.
The biggest thing I learned was to prioritize and not try to do everything at once. I also had to learn to be okay with imperfection and not strive for perfection. Accepting that it’s okay to make mistakes and that not everything has to be done perfectly has been a huge relief.
Example Answer 5
While I am pretty good at learning new things, I would say that playing the violin was one of the more difficult skills for me to learn. It took a lot of patience and practice to get the hang of it, but eventually, I developed a good technique.
It was so hard for me because I have very small hands, and it’s difficult to hold the violin and bow in the correct position when your hands are so small. But after years of practice, I could finally play some beautiful melodies on my violin.
I think the key was to keep at it and never give up. Even when it felt like I would never improve, I kept practicing and eventually saw improvement. If I had given up, I would have never been able to enjoy playing such a beautiful instrument.
Learning new things can be tough, but everyone goes through challenges—what matters most is how we grow from them. Answering behavioral interview questions doesn’t have to be daunting; remember to focus on your successes (rather than dwell on your failures), discuss the steps you took to learn the skill, explain what made the skill difficult for you, and highlight what you learned from the experience overall! With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to knock this question out of the park!