Interview Question Prep: “Tell Me About a Time You Made a Mistake.”

Interview Question Prep: "Tell Me About a Time You Made a Mistake." | Future Force

During an upcoming job interview, you want to promote your accomplishments and skills. However, don’t let a question about a mistake or a weakness throw you off track. When a hiring manager asks this question, they’re not trying to make you squirm. They’re simply trying to find out how you handle challenges and ways you overcome them.

Keep in mind that everyone makes mistakes – even the person interviewing you. But how we individual responds to those mistakes is very different. Some people fall apart or point the finger, while others take accountability and make things right. The hiring manager essentially wants to know where you fall on the scale, whether you’re self-aware, and if you have what it takes to do the job.

To help you answer this tricky question, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Answering “Tell Me About a Time You Made a Mistake”

Get specific.

Don’t say something vague like “I’m a perfectionist.” Hiring managers have heard this one before and want a candidate who is honest and authentic. So give them a specific example of a past mistake you made in your career, what happened, and how you fixed it. Focus more on what you learned from the experience and how you improved in the long run due to the mistake. You might also want to talk about any steps you took to ensure the problem didn’t happen again.

Avoid red flags.

While you want to be honest, there are some mistakes worth skipping over. For instance, if you made a mistake that is critical to the role you’re interviewing for, avoid bringing this up. Also, don’t discuss mistakes that might make the hiring manager question your character or integrity. Instead, focus on an area where you stumbled that isn’t directly related to the job.

Don’t point fingers.

When it comes to a mistake, don’t blame someone else on your team or your former boss. This will paint you in a negative light. While it’s fine to set the stage and talk about the context of the situation, including which team members were involved,  don’t cast blame on specific individuals.

Be prepared with an answer.

Before you job interview, expect that you’ll be asked a question about a mistake you made in the past. Thinking about this ahead of time will ensure you’re not left floundering during the actual interview. You can calmly and confidently talk about the problem and what you did to overcome it, focusing on what you learned. This will help you make a favorable impression on the hiring manager.

Here’s a sample of what to say:

“I’ve learned from the past that it’s important to ask for help. In my previous position, when I was first hired, I didn’t feel comfortable asking for clarifications right away. I didn’t want my boss to think I didn’t have all the answers. But then I realized I was spinning my wheels, wasting a lot of time, instead of just asking for more information. Since then, it’s something I make myself do. I’d rather ask a question, be certain and get to work faster, than make a mistake.”

Do you need more help with your job search?

Turn to Future Force. As one of the leading staffing agencies in Orlando, FL, we can connect you to exciting and rewarding opportunities and help you to prepare for the interview. You’ll put your best foot forward and ace your answers, so you land your next job, faster. Search our jobs now!

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