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Describe for me a time when you made the wrong career decision. How did you correct your misstep?

1 of 15 Career Goals Interview Questions and Answers Written by Rachelle Enns

Updated on August 10th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
How to Answer

Everyone has had a misstep in their career at one point or another. Perhaps you took a job with a company who was not as reputable as you initially believed. Maybe you accepted a role that was 'oversold' to you. Or, perhaps you declined an opportunity that you now regret passing on. The key to a great answer is to discuss what you did to correct the misstep.

Professional Answer Examples
General
Answer example

"Last year, I had a management position that would have offered me the leadership experience for which I was seeking. Unfortunately, I turned down the offer for fear that I was not yet ready for the responsibility of being a leader to so many people. My lack of confidence in myself got in the way. I recognized that lack of confidence in myself and changed turned it around by attending three leadership workshops over the next year. Now I am bursting with confidence and am ready to take on this leadership role with your company."

Admin
Answer example

"As a nurse administrator, I have always worked in hospitals. I took the opportunity to work in home health and found that the driving and lifestyle was not for me. I stayed on and trained my replacement; however, the entire experience set me back about one year in my career."

Manager
Answer example

"I would say the biggest misstep I've taken professionally was not being a stronger advocate for myself and my goals earlier in my career. I think I was too concerned with being liked to be a true advocate for what I wanted in my career. Because of this, I believe I was twice passed up for promotions for which I was well suited. I'm embarrassed to say that it took me getting burned twice to make a real change. That said, I have certainly learned from it and have, I believe, perfected the art of self-advocacy!"

Retail
Answer example

"Preceding my better judgment, I chose to join a business who did not have a great reputation. My interviews went well, and I liked the leaders, but it turns out it was a bit of a facade. There were no real policies in place, many unhappy customers, and a lot of defective product. I left after just two months and recalibrated my search, along with the way I vetted future employers."

Retail
Answer example

"Before beginning a career in marketing, I worked as a recruiter for a temp agency. The work was fast-paced and taught me a great deal about the importance of organization and recall; however, the environment was negative. People were not showing up for work, others not getting paid properly. The role quashed my creative mind, so I chose to leave. This misstep is what catapulted me back to college where I completed my marketing degree."

Sales
Answer example

"This is such a common occurrence in a sales role-- they want you to sell, so they oversell you. While I can usually see it coming, I have been fooled before. In a previous role, the recruiter reached out to me with all of the right buzzwords. Even after meeting the key players, I didn't sense anything was off. Unfortunately, it was only after a few months that the house of cards came crashing down. The company had the funding and the right names behind it, but it was all a smoke show. I remained there until it was clear that the company was going to run out of money, so I chose to move to the next role. Overall, it was a great learning experience, and I met some great friends and clients throughout the process."

Teacher
Answer example

"The only time I can point to would be that I didn't go back to work sooner after I had my kids. I don't feel it was a wrong decision, per se, but at times I wonder if I should have gone back a few years sooner. I have always known I wanted to be a teacher and it is the only position I've held, aside from being a server while attending school, so I'm pleased to report that I feel I've made overall great career decisions from start to finish."

Chef
Answer example

"Last year, I was offered an executive chef position that would have offered me the leadership experience I was looking for. Unfortunately, I turned down the offer in fear that I was not yet ready for the responsibility of being a leader to so many people. My lack of confidence in myself got in the way. I recognized that lack of confidence in myself and changed turned it around by attending 3 leadership workshops over the next year. Now I am bursting with confidence and am ready to take on this executive chef role with your organization."

Financial Analyst
Answer example

"Last year, I was offered a management position that would have offered me the leadership experience I was looking for. Unfortunately, I turned down the offer in fear that I was not yet ready for the responsibility of being a leader to so many people. My lack of confidence in myself got in the way. I recognized that lack of confidence in myself and changed turned it around by attending 3 leadership workshops over the next year. Now I am bursting with confidence and am ready to take on this leadership role with your company."

Written by:

Ryan Brown
Ryan Brown, is the creator of MockQuestions. He has over ten years experience creating interview questions. His website has helped over 10 million job seekers in their interview preparation.
Rachelle Enns
Rachelle Enns is a job search expert, executive headhunter, career catalyst, and interview coach. Utilized by top talent from Fortune companies like Microsoft, General Electric, and Nestle, she helps professionals position themselves in today's competitive digital marketplace. Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume and Executive Resume Solutions, two companies focused on helping job seekers get their edge back. She helps everyone from new graduates looking for their first placement, to CEO's who want more out of their career. Rachelle coaches students to executives on how to master the toughest interview questions and how to handle the most bizarre interview situations; all with confidence and poise. Rachelle trains other career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers, globally. A big part of her job is also spent coaching HR professionals on how to bring the human touch back into their interview and hiring process.
First written on: 03/03/2018
Last modified on: 08/10/2018
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