Give Me An Example Of A Time You Did Something Wrong. How Did You Handle It?

LiveCareer Staff Writer
by LiveCareer Staff Writer

An interview is supposed to be a time where you are trying to talk yourself up, which is why it can be difficult to answer something like: “Give me an example of a time you did something wrong. How did you handle it?”

Questions like this tend to trip people up because they get caught up with the first sentence. The actual question is, “How did you handle it?” The interviewer wants to know how you respond to adversity. Hiring managers want to know that if something goes wrong, you will be able to remain calm and handle it efficiently.

Points to Emphasize

You should remain positive for every question of an interview, even if you are talking about a time where things did not go smoothly.

  • Admit that you did something wrong, being humble can work to your advantage.
  • Discuss how you handled the situation.
  • Discuss what you learned from the experience.
  • Remain positive.

It is not always easy to admit that you messed up, especially when you are trying to impress a potential employer. However, managers know that you are only human and that people make mistakes so do not be afraid to talk about a previous shortcoming.

Mistakes You Should Avoid

Talking about past mistakes can get tricky, so watch out for these common pitfalls.

  • Avoid saying that you have never done anything wrong.
  • Don’t get caught up in overly explaining what went wrong.
  • Don’t be vague with the situation that happened.
  • Don’t forget to talk about how you are a better employee now because of it.

Chances are that you will make a mistake no matter what job you are getting. The important thing is that you are able to learn from your errors and become a better worker in the process.

Sample Answer

A good response to a question about your past mistakes should go something like this:

One time my boss came up to me and asked why he wasn’t receiving emails from certain clients. At first, I explained to him that I didn’t know and that I hadn’t heard from the clients either. A couple of days after that I checked the junk folder in my email and saw all these emails that should’ve been going to my boss. I quickly sent them over and told my boss what happened. He had a good laugh and ever since, I’ve made sure that I checked all my folders.

Answering this question confidently is vital. You should be able to own up to your mistakes and learn a new skill through it.

About the Author

LiveCareer Staff Writer

At LiveCareer, we live and breathe the belief that we can help people transform their work lives, and so do our contributors. Our experts come from a variety of backgrounds but have one thing in common: they are authorities on the job market. From journalists with years of experience covering workforce topics, to academics who study the theory behind employment and staffing, to certified resume writers whose expertise in the creation of application documents offers our readers insights into how to best wow recruiters and hiring managers, LiveCareer’s stable of expert writers are among the best in the business. Whether you are new to the workforce, are a seasoned professional, or somewhere in between, LiveCareer’s contributors will help you move the needle on your career and get the job you want faster than you think.


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