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.
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.