Everyone makes mistakes; no one is perfect. The interviewer knows that too and is asking this question to see how you handle situations when you make mistakes. Give an example that demonstrates how you took responsibility for your error and fixed it. Also, what you learned from the experience as a result. Sometimes learning from our mistakes allows us to gain some valuable tools.
Admin answer example
"Last month I made a financial accounts error where 4 of our vendors ended up not being paid on time. Our company faced some large fees for overdue payments. I stayed overtime that week to call each vendor personally. I owned up to the situation, explained the error, and negotiated the fees down. I learned from that error and have been conscious to not rush through my work since then."
Assignment Desk Editor answer example
"One time while working on the desk, I was aware we had a court case to attend for the day, but I did not read it closely enough and did not send a crew there. We were the only station not to cover it, and our viewers were disappointed we had missed a big story of the day. Going forward, I will pay closer attention to stories we should cover, and mark each important story with an asterisk so I am extra cautious."
CAD Drafter answer example
"During a recent project I somehow made the error of deleting important work from our company's primary drafting program. It was hours worth of work that was potentially lost. First, I went to my manager with the error. She was able to contact the correct IT admin and we were able to have the issue resolved. Mistakes in the workplace do happen and I feel that it is really important to not panic when they do. Most things can be fixed!"
Clinical Nurse Specialist answer example
"I assumed too soon that an elderly patient understood my post-care instructions. The patient came back to the front desk asking to speak to me about 20 minutes later. I then realized that my directions weren't as clear as they should've been. Even though my mistake didn't cause harm, it did cause unnecessary steps and wait time. The patient was accepting of my apology, and I was able to write out the instructions, so there was no further misunderstanding."
event planner answer example
"Being able to admit to your mistakes shows strength and your ability to grow and improve. Give an example of something that may have been severe but focus on how you were able to resolve it, and possibly sharing what you have been doing since it happened to prevent the same kind of mistake from happening.
"I was scheduling travel and accommodations while working with one of my first event companies. I had a pretty good system until one of the schedulers was fired, so I took over her responsibilities while we looked for a replacement. Looking back I think I was a little overly confident and felt like I had something to prove. I ended up making a couple simple mistakes that almost caused some bigger problems. My boss caught these errors and confronted me. I learned that it is better to ask for help than to take on more than you can handle. I learned more about my limitations and how to handle stress by communicating what I need to my team."
Human Resource Specialist answer example
"Example answer, "People are any organization's most valuable asset. Hiring top talent derives from an effective hiring process, and there have been times my team or I have missed the mark. Early in my career, we relied heavily on assessing a candidate's previous employers and education and missed an opportunity to weigh their experiences or how they executed work equally. Our team changed the process to change the result. We learned that asking better questions would help us better assess candidates. We worked together to come up with interview questions that were used to make better hiring decisions."
Manager answer example
"I am certainly not perfect all the time, and that was obvious the day that I terminated the wrong temporary employee. We had one temp who was reportedly late three days in a row. My shift lead gave me the incorrect name, so when I called the agency to tell them to fire the temp, we had the wrong one. It was a mess. I ended up calling the agency, correcting the error, and hiring back the initially terminated temp worker. This lesson taught me to always double check data before acting on anything."
Market Research Analyst answer example
"I sent an email at work without proofing it and then later realized that there were two people copied who were not suppose to know the information I shared. As soon as I noticed, I spoke to my boss and asked what I needed to do to resolve the situation. At that point, all I could do was apologize and learn from my mistake. Ever since then I am extremely careful to double check everything, whether it is an email, report or the status of a patient in critical care."
Talk about the mistake briefly, and then explain what you did once you realized you did something wrong. Show you took initiative in handling it. If the consequences were greater than frustrating your boss or having to apologize, show you handled it by being humble and calm. Next talk about what you learned from it and the actions you will take to make sure it never happens again."
Millwright answer example
"In the beginning of my career with ABC Company, I actually ended up dismantling the incorrect piece of equipment. This caused a major delay in shipping the correct piece of equipment. I was very embarrassed that I had made this error and apologized profusely. I ended up working 6 hours of overtime in order to make sure the deadline was met."
Multimedia Journalist answer example
"Once, I published a story on social media that had an incorrect fact. I later found out I had made a mistake, but I immediately edited it and re-published it with the correct information. I also informed my manager, so they knew that I had corrected my mistake, and I learned that I should fact check each article before I upload them."
Nursing answer example
"In my last position, I was responsible for making the schedule for all of our RN's and LPN's. Managing a schedule for 30 providers can be a bit of a task in order to work everyone appropriately and take into account people's requests, leave and labor laws. I had accidentally shorted our night shift an LPN and they had an influx of patients that night. Our healthcare didn't waiver but I put undue stress on the staff that night. After this situation, I decided to run the schedule by one other RN for their second set of eyes to ensure it didn't happen again."
Paramedic answer example
"I sent an email at work without proofing it and then later realized that there were two people copied who were not supposed to know the information I shared. As soon as I noticed, I spoke to my boss and asked what I needed to do to resolve the situation. At that point, all I could do was apologize and learn from my mistake. Ever since then I am extremely careful to double check everything, whether it is an email, report or the status of a patient in critical care."
Radiology answer example
"Earlier in my Radiology career I made a perceptual error while reading an x-ray. It lead to a delayed cancer diagnosis which was very difficult for me to come to terms with. I owned up to the error immediately and made sure to study additional cases that were similar in order to ensure the mistake didn't happen again."
Retail answer example
"My first month in charge of making the scheduling decisions went quite well, so I applied that same logic to the second month of scheduling. The problem was, I was so busy replicating my previous success that I forgot to account for school being out by the third week in the month, meaning an increased traffic flow and need for more associates during the weekdays. Honestly, it was a complete oversight and complacency. I thought I was so diligent by following a 'proven' formula, but I didn't take into account that things change from week to week. Because of this, we were short of two employees each shift. By the second day, my staff was feeling it, and I couldn't cover everyone's shifts, so I got creative and asked to borrow some employees from slower departments for an hour or two at a time while calling in favors with my staff to cover upcoming shifts. Luckily, we were able to piecemeal it together, but it was a learning experience. Since then, I have been sure to follow a formula for scheduling, while carefully highlighting any significant holidays, upcoming sales, days off of school, or other goings-on in the mall that could impact our traffic and have been much better prepared."
Sales answer example
"I was slated to demonstrate our new technology in beta and gain feedback from the client on how it could be improved. I was cutting it close for the appointment from the airport, so when I got there, I was frazzled and did not have adequate time to set up, couldn't access their network, etc. Due to this, the presentation was not as smooth as I would have hoped and I honestly I didn't get the feedback I could have if I'd have been able to do the proper setup. I apologized not only to the client but also to the tech team for not gathering the appropriate information we'd targeted. As a result of this, I made sure to practice the techniques and bring all of the necessary gadgets, including a hotspot and a small projector. That way, no matter what their network or supplies looked like, and no matter what room I was in, I could give the best presentation possible. It was an exercise in humility, and I learned a lot in the process."
Surveyor answer example
"I don't want to tell a lie by saying that I never made a mistake. When I was a fresher in this field, I went out to get the measurements of a property but I simply ignored the details and came back quickly to the office. It was only when I came back that I realised that I had missed some really important points. So, I went back and took the measurements in detail accurately. Since that day I never ignore the details in my work."
Tailors, Dressmakers, and Custom Sewers answer example
"When I was starting out, I once cut besom pockets instead of patch pockets for a suit jacket. I told my boss what I did wrong. He wasn't happy, of course. I told him what went wrong: I was working too quickly and misread the order form. I asked him for more training on the order form. A few weeks later, we changed the order form to be more clear based on my recommendations."
Teacher answer example
"When I was in my first teaching job out of college, I spoke to a parent out of concern for their child but didn't go through the proper protocol or correct channel, so when the parent became upset, the situation became awkward. Since I didn't take up my concern through the Principal, I was in a precarious position. I certainly learned that even though I mean well, protocols exist for a reason and by going outside of those channels, I put myself, the family, and the child in an uncomfortable situation. I certainly learned to follow the protocols, even if they sometimes seem silly or constricting."
Treasurer answer example
"No one wants to admit weakness in an interview. And you know what? You don't have to! You can explain a situation where you did something wrong or incorrectly. Try to stay detached from it by explaining in a calm manner, "I accidentally pushed "send" on an email before proofing it." Now, what did you do once you realized you did something wrong? "I knew there were typos and I may have phrased something in a way that could be confusing. I called my manager and explained to make sure they didn't take the message the wrong way." Show you took initiative in handling it. If the consequences were greater than frustrating your boss or having to apologize, show you handled it by being humble and calm. Next talk about what you learned from it and the actions you will take to make sure it never happens again."
Veterinary Assistant answer example
"Your interviewer knows you're not perfect. It may seem as though they are digging for weaknesses, when in actuality they are interested in your ability to learn from your mistakes.
"I didn't check the work schedule for the next week and accidentally did not show up for work on a day I was scheduled. As soon as I got the phone call I started getting ready for work. Even though I was four hours late, I apologized and then got straight to work. Now I check the schedule every week and I keep a copy of it as well. I strive to be reliable and I never miss a day."
When you talk about the mistake, focus on what you did to correct it and how you learned from it. "
Warehouse Supervisor answer example
"We all make mistakes, and it is okay to share your mistakes during an interview! The key is sharing what you learned from the mistake, how you grew from the experience, and how it made you a better leader today. Begin by sharing a mistake you made while being a leader for a group. You might share that you jumped into work without getting to know your team. You may share that you forgot to send a reminder email for a very important meeting and half the group was late. You might share that you placed an order for the wrong materials and it set your group back by one week. Openly share your whoopsies with the interviewer. Next, share how guilty you felt when you realized your mistake, and mention what steps you took to ensure the mistake never happened again. Finally, discuss how going through that experience has made you a better leader."