Give Me an Example of a Time You Did Something Wrong
"I take pride in the fact that I have never misstepped while completing work assigned tasks."
Solid answer, right? NOPE! Be honest when an interviewer asks “Give me an example of a time you did something wrong. How did you handle it?”
Nobody is perfect and pretending to be in an interview will not get you anywhere. Use the below guidelines to answer this question without ruining your chances of landing your dream job!
Everybody makes mistakes
Whether you blew a sale or sent a client the wrong invoice, accept the mistake and move on! It may be difficult to discuss, but there is nothing wrong with that. Discussing mistakes will help you grow as a person and allow you to make adjustments in the future.
This question is not so much about what you did wrong, rather how you handled it. Discussing how you realized you messed up and worked to fix your mistake is much more important. Be humble and fess up!
For more about speaking on your weaknesses in interviews, see our article What Are Your Weaknesses?
Make sure that you don’t select a catastrophic example of a time you messed up. Rule of thumb: if you got fired because of it, pick a different story! Try and pick a scenario that you and your boss were able to laugh about afterward. This will give you the best opportunity to find common ground with the interviewer.
It is important to explain how you have grown professionally from your mistakes. You should be able to discuss your mistake with others in order to improve. You will be able to create steps to mitigate the chance of the same mistake happening again.
Explaining what you learned from these mistakes will show the interviewer all they need to know. Structure your answer into a cause and effect type of approach and conclude it with what you learned.
You will separate yourself from other candidates if you deliver this response with confidence.
I was a bank teller when a customer came in requesting a sheet of checks. When I went to print them out, another banker printed similar checks for another client. Without looking, I handed the wrong checks to the client. She then wrote a check to pay her rent and the funds were eventually pulled from the other client’s account. This was not figured out until the customer called and complained that their funds were missing. The clients actually reconciled this between themselves and were able to laugh afterward. I then developed a system to make sure that I triple check the name before handing any client a sheet of checks.