Tell Me About A Time You Did Something Wrong. How Did You Handle It?

When an interviewer asks you about what happens when you make a mistake, they are typically trying to find out about a few things at once. This means that you want to take your time, and to answer in a way that follows through with all of their expectations, so it helps if you are not in a rush to get started.

Just remember, everything they want to know boils down to one overarching idea: they’re looking to hire someone who can handle themselves, and picking an example that showcases that in every way possible is key.

Points to Emphasize

There are four things to make sure you cover in your answer.

  • What matters is relating your reaction to the situation, and that response should be something that reflects well on you.

  • Show how you did something to rectify the situation. Show you take responsibility by showing how you devised the solution.

  • You also want to show how you work with others, and this can be a time to demonstrate how you do it while you are under stress.Finally, demonstrate the learning moment in your process. Explain how both your mistake and your methods for fixing the problem provided you with long-term insight into your duties.

Keeping the focus on the positive aspects of your recovery and on your willingness to learn will keep the interviewer assured that you are ready to handle anything that comes your way.

Mistakes You Should Avoid

When you’re in an interview, it’s easy to lose track of your answer and mis-step. Make sure you avoid these common pitfalls when dealing with this question.

  • Do not choose an example where someone else had to step in, to fix the problem for you.

  • Avoid talking about personal conflicts or your problems with coworkers.

  • Make sure you do not shift the blame.

  • Be careful not to choose something too catastrophic or too obvious.

Remember, the hiring manager is not looking for perfection, but they also don’t want to court conflict.

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