Behavioral questions are some of the most revealing. That’s why they are now a staple in the professional interview. You might be asked, “What is your biggest regret and why” You are expected to give a real example of a time when you did not succeed or made a poor choice. The hiring manager might ask this question to gauge if you are the type to take responsibility for your mistakes. The interviewer also wants to know if you can effectively learn from your past experiences. Hiring managers must find individuals who will do good work for the company and this question is a means of figuring out if you are an ideal fit.
Points to Emphasize
Though you are being asked to share a negative experience, it is important to show the good that came from the event.
- Highlight what you learned from your experience.
Remember, choose a real event that happened in your career. Hiring managers are drawn to sincerity, so don’t try to fake it.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
The hiring manager understands that everyone makes mistakes, so don’t worry about appearing perfect. Follow these tips to keep the interview running smoothly:
- Do not blame any past mistakes solely on others.
- Avoid saying that you have no regrets.
If you can, answer the question directly. Failing to provide an instance of regret or failure may make it seem as if you do not take responsibility for your actions or you think you are infallible.
Here is an example of a good answer to the question of professional regrets:
Several years ago, my advertising team and I failed to land a large project from a major client. This particular individual had done some great work with us before, so I think we took it for granted that the client would choose our pitch. We didn’t put as much effort into researching the product and understanding the client’s needs, so frankly, she chose a better-prepared team. Since then, I make sure every project embodies professional excellence and dedication.
Always incorporate how you’ve learned so the hiring manager can see how you might react in the company’s work environment.