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Tell me about an error or mistake you made because of a breakdown in communication from you or one of your team members.

15 Answer Examples

By: Rachelle Enns

How to Answer

The interviewer would like to know about a time when communication was weak on your part, and a mistake occurred. On occasion, mistakes will happen, and discussions will break. Think back to a time when you made an error in communication, and it caused a ripple effect that reached your team members or your organization as a whole. The final part of your answer needs to include the steps you took to repair the situation. Make sure to conclude your answer on a positive note.

Professional Answer Examples
General
Answer example

"I recall one instance where I misread an email from one of my subordinates. The punctuation was incorrect, and I read it in in a dire tone rather than in a positive one, as it was intended. After a tense conversation, the employee clarified her intention, and it seems I was mistaken. She and I agreed to exercise verbal communication on a regular basis to avoid a similar situation from happening again."

Admin
Answer example

"I am the executive assistant to three different members of our company's c-suite. One day I made the error of emailing the wrong schedule to the others, resulting in a disastrous day. I was able to reschedule their appointments for later in the week, but my error did result in a few unhappy clients."

Manager
Answer example

"I missed a shipment to a customer because there were two similar items in the production schedule. Usually, the scheduler highlights oddities like that, but not this time. I missed the difference and thought it was the same order when it came through on my end."

Marketing
Answer example

"I missed a deadline the other week because I did not fully read the email from my marketing director, stating that the deadline had been moved up. I committed myself to be much more detail-oriented when it came to reading my messages from him. He also agreed to red flag any matters of importance, moving forward."

Retail
Answer example

"We missed one of our inventory shipments last month because I too quickly skimmed a memo from head office regarding the change in schedule due to a long weekend. The shipment was returned which resulted in extra costs to the business and a delay in receiving our seasonal stock. I offered to pay for the extra charges. They refused to charge me for the error but did ask that I take additional care in the future. I was embarrassed, and I do all I can now to ensure an oversight like this never happens again."

Sales
Answer example

"We recently had a missing link in communications to one of our vendors, who we signed on to provide a large service. They were not aware of a change in the agreement which cost the company wasted time, resources and money. We were able to identify the breakdown in communication and change the process to ensure it does not happen again."

Teacher
Answer example

"Last year I made an error in communicating with a parent newsletter. I had the wrong date for a school field trip which resulted in all of my students showing up to school, ready and excited for a day at the museum. Oops! The parents were pretty good about it, and we went the following day; however, I had some pretty ticked off little students that day. Nobody is perfect but I certainly triple check my dates now!"

Loan Assistant
Answer example

"I recall one instance where I misread an email from one of my subordinates. The punctuation was incorrect and I read it in in a dire tone rather than in a positive one, as it was intended. After a tense conversation, the employee clarified her intention and it seems I was mistaken. She and I agreed to exercise verbal communication on a regular basis to avoid a similar situation from happening again."

Health Information Technician
Answer example

"There was a time that one of my co-workers an I didn't necessarily have poor communication but a lack of communication. I invited her to lunch to get to know her more and show her that I was easy to talk to and that I'd like to get to know her not only professionally but possibly outside of work. She admitted to being a bit timid and shy in the office and that she found it difficult to form friendships. After sharing a few laughs over lunch we both realized we were very much alike. Because of this lunch outing it really helped her open up not only with me but with others in the office. She was less timid and more assertive at work too."

Summer Law Clerk
Answer example

"When working for (X firm) as a/an (X position title), we had to complete a project (... what happened in this project which resulted in X mistake on your end). I soon realized this was due to miscommunication as I did not adequately understand my colleague's points she had communicated via email - and I should have instead requested an in-person meeting or a phone call as soon as possible as I had doubts about what needed to be done next. To resolve the situation, I (... what you did to resolve the situation and successfully complete the project in a timely fashion, and what was the final outcome)."

Urban and Regional Planners
Answer example

"Working with difficult personalities is something that comes along with the job, from time-to-time. Being an urban planner, I find that the more difficult situations to navigate come when we need a work-around with a city design. The government is not the easiest to navigate and the employees are not always given the ability to decision make. If I do not get the answer or response that I am looking for, I will call another time, until I reach someone that I can work nicely with."

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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 an executive head-hunter and job search expert. Utilized by top executives from Fortune 100 & 500 companies like Fitbit, Microsoft, General Electric, Nestle, and more, she helps professionals position themselves in a competitive marketplace. Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume, a company that focuses on helping job seekers get their edge back. Renovate My Resume creates stand-out resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles and professional summaries for new grads, all the way to corporate executives. Rachelle spends much of her time training career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers. She also holds interview workshops for students and interns, globally. For great tips and tricks, follow Rachelle on Instagram @_rachelle_e or @renovatemyresume.
First written on: 01/10/2017
Last modified on: 08/10/2018

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