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Describe to me a time when you made an error at work, and the impact your mistake made. How did you correct the mistake, and what did you learn from it?

This question has been answered 21 times by professional recruiters and hiring managers. View their answers below.

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."

More Interview Questions

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Describe to me a time when you made an error at work, and the impact your mistake made. How did you correct the mistake, and what did you learn from it?
When I was working with my father, I put in the wrong cement mix.
In a group project in science class. Didn't post the correct information with the corresponding facts and I took the blame.
I had designed a brochure for a new client. I had the measurements for the fold mis-aligned and since the job wasn't perfect, I personally paid for the job to be reprinted.
I firmly believe in owning what is mine I would never let someone else take the fall for my mistake. However I would also be prepared to solve the problem as well as take my consequences. I read instructions wrong for a delivery once and the drive got chewed out but I stepped up to let them know it was my mistake because I misunderstood. We were both reprimanded him for not doing his own route planning and me for working to tired to think straight.
If you ask anyone who knows me, they would tell you I am a very honest person.
As Supervisor, I ordered wrong equipment and went to Manager and explained what I did, costing 3,200.00more.
I was installing a door and cracked the frame. I admitted to my mistake immediately because accidents happen.
Did not seat a card properly in a computer I was building and it shorted out the mother board as well.
When I didnt called my mother when she was not well.
Doing landscape I dug a bunch of holes that were not aligned properly and took the blame for it and then fixed the mistake.
When working at coldstone, I had accidentally made the wrong order for a customer. I took full responsibility for my mistake and handled the situation as best as I could.
I accidentally sign off the wrong section of the paperwork on a completed task and I corrected it by crossing a line over the error and signed off the correct area.
I failed to set up a meet between 2 drivers and it caused loads to be missed.
Once, at Fallen Moon, I was coding a new feature to work in a certain manner. When I showed it to my supervisor, he said that I completely misunderstood and that I needed to redo it.
I always take responsibilities for my mistakes and learn from them.
Talk to manager and learn how to fix mistake.
One time I put a package in the wrong shelf and forgot to deliver it on time. I then called the supervisor and explained I forgot about the package.
On fork truck put hole in trailer told supervisor allways be honest.
When I forgot to enter information on the computer.
I was about 13 One day my dad was fixing his car and he took out the battery... And I remember him saying it was so heavy so I decided to pick it up and see how far I went and I dropped it about halfway within the garage and he came out asking what happened and I told him I wanted to know how far I could lift the battery.
When I was working for the Beaverton Gamestar I recieved a 50 dollar bill as a 20 dollar bill, It wasn't until I was closing the store that I found out what had happened and called the manager for assistance due to the fact that I couldn't figure out why my till was off. In the end we ended up making a note saying if the customers came back we would return the money but the customers never came back.
I once blamed someone for someone else actions and later I found out I was wrong and I apologized and ask for forgiveness because I didn't listen and ask questions first.
I can't remember a time when I made a mistake and took the blame for it. I rarely make mistakes.
Yes, as a person we sometimes make mistake which is unfortunate.
Gave someone the wrong amount of change.
I misdiagnose a problem when repairing. Did not charge for the time after I asked the supervisor.
Like the one time I got married. LOL Just kidding. I had grabbed some boxes from the rolltainer and started putting the product out, only to find out that those boxes were to be put back until next week. So I quickly replaced the product and boxes. When asked who had messed with the product I apologized and told them I had started to put it out on the floor and realized I wasn't supposed to so I quickly fixed it.
I messed up a piece of equipment at work. Instead of covering it up I went and told my boss. He wasn't mad.
I was working on project with my dad and by accident I screwed in the wrong boards. My dad was upset and realized that I did take the blame for it because my dad taught me to own up to something you have done and the outcome will be easy to handle.
When I was a kid one of my friends convinced me to take a book off from the student store for him, and I did. I felt terrible about it and the next day I returned the book and confessed to my parents what I had done.
In my current job or for a landscape. One of the things I was asked to do was print some azalea bushes. The job was completed but the customer was dissatisfied. She stated that it appeared as though the work had not been done. I shirred her that the work had been done by me personally and that I would be glad to make any changes that she needed.
In my previous job, there was this one incident where a battery failed and I was blamed for not checking it regularly.
Unable to call in an antibiotic for a patient prior to the pharmacy closing for the afternoon leading to them having to get it the next day.
I realized that a medication wasnt taken on a certain round, because it was placed in the wrong area... I quickly admitted that it was my round and apologized for not catching it sooner.
One time while I was working as a Cashier I accidently under charged a customer for a purchase so I owned my mistake and paid the difference out of my pocket, and made sure never to let it happen again.
When I in put the wrong information into the computer and I had to admit my mistake to my boss.
I can't remember a mistake I made and took the blame for it. I rarely make mistakes.
When I gave a customer the wrong change and my drawer was short.
We had a missed timepoint due to the fact that I failed to review the schedule the previous day.
Emailed the wrong person. I sent apology to them and resent to correct person.
Manufactured the wrong item and apologized to customer and correct the problem.
I had misplaced keys for our office, I was embarrassed by my error and admitted to my mistake by informing my boss of the situation.
Once, I took out the wrong food to a customer,I had to take fully responsibility and fix the problem to make the customer happy.
I misplaced keys for our office. As soon I discovered the mistake I came to my boss and took full responsibility for the mistake. I offered to pay for the mistake.
We overbooked on rooms at the last property I was at and I took blame for the miscommunication.
Something at worked happen and I was blaming the steward for being turn out I was wrong and I apologize to him for being wrong and next time I will check my facts before I blame him.
I delivered the wrong gearbox to the wrong customer once, soon as I found out I returned to the customer and changed it for the right one.
I had my department employee work additional hours with out upper management approval and had to answer to Management when over budget.
Recently, an assistant at my work Fedexed the wrong checks to Las Vegas, when the individuals were here. I took the fault for it because I was assisting him with sending out the checks and since he is a new worker, I felt responsible for not being able to catch the checks that were mailed out before they were mailed.
I made a mistake and put the wrong shipping label on a package. I informed my line leader of the mistake and luckily they were all the same products, but going to different locations.
I always accept that a make a mistake when ever I do.
Pulled wrong product my mistake. When product was tested I realized error and was able to get new product ready for order. Let Supervisor know what happened and asked what he wanted done with material pulled in error?
I was taking a customer's order and made a mistake as to an item they wanted. As soon as I realized my mistake I quickly moved to rectify it.
Did whatever I could to compensate them showed actual remorse and did whatever necessary to keep them a customer.
Constantly in rugby I would make mistakes and deal with consequences.
I recently became an Assistant Manager four months ago. When I first started, I made plenty mistakes as I was still learning. I took constructive criticism from my boss, and learned from my mistakes.
I sent an email to the wrong person. I had to apologize and ask for them to not read it and eraised.
Left back door of my house wide open and went out to the store.
I Bust The Tire On My Moms Car & Didn't Have Another Way Out Of The Situation So I Called Her & Explained Every Thing.
Accept we make mistakes you are judged on how you put it right.
I had incorrect lesson plans for the wrong class and admitted I had them mixed up.
I did not do my homework and I got a bad grade for it. I took responsibility for my actions.
When I miscounted an article and I took the blame for it.
I took the blame because it was my mistake, I believe no matter what the mistake is lying about it will only make it worse.
I was working as a photographer and I accidentally left a SD with a clients photo out in my house and it was accidentally swept away and lost. I had to call the client and apologize I refunded their money and did a free shoot when they had time.
I worked At Mcdonalds for About A Year In a Half And I Made A Mistake And Rung Up the Wrong Meal for The Customer And It Was My Mistake Because I was Moving Abit To Fast Trying to make drinks and ring up the orders.
I accidentally put some items on the wrong shelf and when I realized it I told my supervisor.
I once forgot to put some fish in the freezer before closing. When I remembered the mistake I immediately called the store and luckily someone was there to put the meats in the freezer. I learned from this and now double check every night before I leave.
At my current place of employment, my duties and responsibilities included stocking shelves and.
When I was walking a dog and it bit someone.
I play pool a lot and if I don't win I have no problem being honest and accepting that I made a mistake rather than blame someone else. You can't learn from your mistakes if you don't take responsibility.
I once drew blood on the wrong person, I immediately called the dr and he wasn't concerned, he gave me an order to run the test anyway and all was good.
I accidentally dropped a metal cause of retapes and broke it and took the blame.
Well once me and my sister were playing in my house and knocked something over I new telling the truth and owning up to it was the right thing to do.
We had a lot of missing days on tachometer when we had an audit when this was found ,I was asked into the office to explain this & how I was going to make sure this did not happen again.
The time I made a mistake, I was incoherent of myself and not owning myself responsibility for a project that had to be down for a deadline. Which was a written project for my school, I told the teacher that I lied and didn't really actually finished because I was overwhelmed of not getting it down and taking so much of simplicity for it.
Purifier situation. I accepted my mistake and then made a point to be fully coversant with my area of responsibility and ensure I take all possible lines of thought into consideration and look beyond the obvious solution.
I let a gate swing open and hit the front of my truck.
I've made many mistakes in my life, so one that I remember is when I was when I was coaching and put the wrong elements in a compulsory routine and he skater got last place ... It was definitely a challenge to explain to the parents my error.
Playing QB in high school my coach called a play in a crucial moment in the game and I audible the play and ended up turning the ball and I went over to my coach and told him that was all my fault and ill make it up the next drive.
Mis shipment of a particular product due to my incorrectly ordering the wrong part. Contacted customer to let them know. Followed up by getting the right part. Expedited shipping and hand delivered the product as soon as it arrived.
My last job I told my supervisor exactly what had happened.
I was new to the U-Haul system. Usually, the customer just drops the keys off and leaves. So, when this customer came by and dropped the keys off, I told him there were no problems and he left. He ended up returning the truck with less gas than the initial amount (we charge for that). He came in and complained about the extra fees and my boss told me to always stay with the customer.
When you start in a new position you have small mistake but you learn about it, be more concentrated, pay more attention with the details, and double ask if you not sure.
Instead of choosing science field I had chosen commerce and I was blamed by my father it is till date.
I am sorry for the mistake, I have learned from this and it will not happen again.
When I was in college I done with my exam but with less efforts.
Not being analytical.
Iíve made mistakes; though I canít remember of any mistake at this moment that made any significant impact on meĒ.
During one of my group projects that I worked on, I turned an assignment in late. I told my group that I would handle the final editing and submission; however, I screwed up. I submitted the assignment late. I went to the teacher and explained it was my fault and luckily he was understanding about it.
When I was in seventh grade I allowed a teacher to put me into a reading course which was too easy for me and I became bored in. In hindsight I should have tried to let the teacher put me into something else since I didnt need the course.
I took Marketing as a major subject and all my groupmates tool HR as major.
Yes sir when I was in grad all of my class fellows are choosing asp. Net and java for project only we 3 person left because we have decided for PHP. And my decision was good I learnt too many thing in pHP
I wanted to be a boxer but was unable to be one because of my right arm injury.
I wish I could have learned more about economy. I have taken 2 economics class while I was an undergraduate, but I should have been more in-tune with the economy.
If I would have been serious about pursuing anthropology I would have been now an happy anthropologist in a different country I desired to be.
Frankly speaking there have been many encounters where I feel if I would have reacted differently the outcomes would have been way different from what they actually were. One such experience is about quitting karate to go for engineering, now I feel what would have been the results if I opted for karate as my profession.
Is impossinle to say that I have never made a mistake, but I can garanty the I learn from it and iy will never happen again.
Yes put an image in the wrong folder, but then phoned up the PACS manager to have them rectify it.
I just love helping creatures that can always show their gratitude. It's such a rewarding feeling and can always brighten your day.
Seeing an animal that appears to be on the verge of death taking a turn for the better and leaving the clinic much healthier than upon its arrival. And seeing the owners of that pet celebrating their beloved pet's recovery. We cannot save them all, but it is great to be a part of a group of professionals doing all we can to restore a beloved pet to optimum health.

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