MockQuestions

Scenario Based Mock Interview

To help you prepare for your next job interview, here are 20 situational interview questions with answer examples.

Scenario Based was written by and updated on March 16th, 2022. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 20

Let's say you made an error at work and the impact of your mistake was significant. How would you correct the error?

The Goal

The interviewer wants to know about a specific time when you made a mistake and how you reacted to the situation. The goal of your response is to tell an engaging story that highlights your willingness to be accountable and repair your mistakes.

Written by Rachelle Enns on March 16th, 2022

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Advice and Examples: Let's say you made an error at work and the impact of your mistake was significant. How would you correct the error?

  • 1.

    Let's say you made an error at work and the impact of your mistake was significant. How would you correct the error?

      The Goal

      The interviewer wants to know about a specific time when you made a mistake and how you reacted to the situation. The goal of your response is to tell an engaging story that highlights your willingness to be accountable and repair your mistakes.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on March 16th, 2022

      What to Avoid

      The interviewer knows that everyone makes mistakes and nobody is perfect. Avoid saying that you would never make a mistake in the workplace. A response like that could give the interviewer the impression that you are not self-aware and coachable. Instead, be prepared to discuss how you would approach fixing the error.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on March 16th, 2022

      Pro Tip

      The interviewer wants to know how you would proceed if you made a mistake at work. Because this question is phrased as, 'How would you...' you can answer this question hypothetically. The Situation, Solution, Benefit formula is helpful in this instance.

      Step 1) Situation: Express your understanding of the hypothetical situation.
      Step 2) Solution: Outline the solution you would introduce in this hypothetical situation.
      Step 3) Benefit: Highlight how your approach to owning up to and fixing your mistakes will benefit the hiring company.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on March 16th, 2022

      How to Answer

      Your response should tell the interviewer a lot about your maturity and accountability levels. Express that you are willingly accountable for your actions and take responsibility if you make a mistake. You can discuss how an error might impact you, your employer, coworkers, clients, or other stakeholders. Then, detail the action steps you would take to fix the error. Include measurable statements such as how long it would take you to jump into action.

      When we make mistakes and learn from them, we often gain new skills and tools to help us improve our work performance. For that reason, at the end of your response, remember to highlight that you value lesson-learning scenarios that allow you to grow.

      Suppose you have encountered a similar situation in the past. In that case, you can use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to provide a story-based example to support your initial Situation, Solution, Benefit response. Rather than focusing on the fact that you made an error, be sure to highlight your professional and personal accountability. Spotlight the lesson you learned and show that you are a team player who can grow and learn.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on March 16th, 2022

      1st Answer Example

      "(Situation) I understand that making a mistake in the workplace can have serious repercussions, especially if it were left ignored. (Solution) If I were responsible for an error at work, significant or insignificant, I would jump into action immediately. I would fix the mistake independently or ask a leader for assistance if the problem was too large. Of course, I would apologize for my error and make the necessary skill improvements to ensure the situation did not happen again. (Benefit) I will not allow pride to get in the way of admitting when I have made a mistake. Because of this, I am very agile in my work, and a trustworthy team member whom you know will be honest about my performance and results.

      (Option: follow up with a story-based example using the STAR method) One example of this is, while working at Company XYZ, I did not meet my monthly sales goal in my fourth month of employment. I understood that my monthly sales goal impacted the department, so the disappointment was strong. I addressed the issue by speaking with my manager. I explained that I fell short and believed it was because I did not make enough cold calls the previous month. I wanted to show my manager that I was ready to take responsibility for mistakes, so I devised a few success strategies and presented them to my manager with a plan to get back on track the next month. I learned that taking ownership of my mistakes is important, as is doing all I can to become better. The following month, I exceeded my goal and covered my shortcomings from the previous month. Since then, I have exceeded my targets every month by at least 11%, a proud accomplishment that I look forward to generating here at Company ABC."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on March 16th, 2022

      Admin Example

      "(Situation) Ignoring mistakes or creating temporary fixes is a surefire way to have the issue re-occur and often with bigger consequences. (Solution) If I made a mistake at work, I would immediately fix the problem. If the issue was too large and I needed help, I would ask my leader or co-worker to assist. I would apologize for my error and own up to the consequences of my mistake. (Benefit) I am an honest and trustworthy team member, and Company ABC can rest assured that I would not try to cover up a mistake to save face.

      (Option: follow up with a story-based example using the STAR method) One example of my level of accountability is that I made a financial accounting error during year-end last year, and four of our vendors ended up not being paid on time. As a result, our company faced some large fees for overdue payments. As the accounting administrator assigned to these accounts, it was up to me to find the cause of the mistake while doing damage control with our vendors and department leads. I stayed overtime that day and called each stakeholder personally. I owned up to the situation, explained the error that I caused, and negotiated a reduction in late fees from the vendors. I learned that I need to double-check my work before confirming any numbers, regardless of how busy I am. Since then, I have never rushed through my tasks. Instead, I follow a methodical pace that has resulted in 99% accuracy this year. I believe my diligence and history of accuracy will benefit Company ABC should you choose to bring me onto your financial administration team."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on March 16th, 2022

      Retail Example

      "(Situation) In retail, I understand that covering up or ignoring a mistake can have a trickle-down effect on many other people. (Solution) If I created an error, I would take full accountability and own up to my mistake while also immediately fixing the issue. Of course, I would also apologize for my error and own up to the consequences of my mistake. (Benefit) You can rest assured that I would not try to pass off a mistake in the workplace. I am very honest and sincerely want to do a great job for Company ABC.

      (Option: follow up with a story-based example using the STAR method) For instance, I joined Department Store XYZ as the Retail Manager of the shoe department about ten months ago. During my first month, I was placed in charge of making the scheduling decisions. The scheduling went quite well the first month, so I applied that same logic to the second months' schedule. I was so busy replicating my previous success that I forgot to account for our local schools being out of class the third week of the month. This oversight meant an increase in traffic flow and a need for more associates during that time. I thought I was being diligent by following a 'proven' formula, but I didn't consider that holidays and school breaks significantly changed the retail flow. Because of my mistake, we were short of two employees each shift. My staff felt the strain by the second day of the school break. I got creative and asked the manager of the housewares department if I could borrow two employees for an hour or two at a time. I also called our part-time staff and asked them to cover upcoming shifts. Luckily, I could cover our needs during that week, but it was a learning experience. Since then, I have followed 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. This lesson has ensured that moving forward, I triple-check all scheduling decisions to ensure my team can trust that they have full shift coverage."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on March 16th, 2022

      Sales Example

      "(Situation) Making a mistake in a sales environment can result in significant consequences, especially if the mistake is never fixed. (Solution) If I made an error at work, large or small, I would get to work right away to fix the issue. If needed, I would ask a co-worker or my leader to help undo any damages. I would apologize for my mistake and seek additional training if necessary. (Benefit) I am not the kind of person to be too proud to admit when I have made a mistake. I am a trustworthy team member, and Company ABC will benefit from this honesty and willingness to be coached.

      (Option: follow up with a story-based example using the STAR method) For instance, while working for Company XYZ as a Territory Sales Associate, I frequently traveled to see clients. One particular day, I was slated to demonstrate our company's new technology and gain feedback from the client on improving the beta. I cut my time too close to the airport and missed my original flight. The next available flight was an hour later. When I got to the clients' office, I was frazzled and did not have adequate time to set up my presentation. As a result, the presentation was not as smooth as I hoped, and I didn't get the feedback I would have if I'd had the time to set it up properly. I apologized to the client and later to my tech team for failing to meet expectations. As a result of this day, I made sure to give myself ample time to make my flight and arrive at my client meetings fully at ease and well prepared. Rest assured, since that day, I have been early to every appointment, and it's helped my close rate significantly, which is a success. I plan to continue with Company ABC should you choose to hire me."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on March 16th, 2022

      Teacher Example

      "(Situation) As a teacher, making mistakes in a learning environment can have serious consequences. (Solution) If I made a mistake in the classroom, I would fix the mistake as soon as possible. Then, I would approach my learning leader or faculty leader and let them know the error I made. In addition to fixing the mistake, I would show a willingness to apologize to any impacted party. Then, I would commit to gaining any necessary skills to ensure the situation did not happen again. (Benefit) I am always willing to learn and grow. If hired, you will see that I am accountable for my work.

      (Option: follow up with a story-based example using the STAR method) One example of my accountability is, early into my first teaching job, I had a student who was falling behind in class. As the new teacher, I felt that I could make a strong impression by directly addressing the situation with their parent. Unfortunately, I failed to understand the nuances of this parent's relationship with the school. So, when the parent became upset with me, the situation became awkward. I apologized to the parent for overstepping and immediately brought the situation to the school Principal. I explained my reasoning and asked for feedback on my approach. By asking for feedback, I learned that I skipped an important protocol because I didn't take my concern through to the principal. Even though I meant well, the principal expressed that protocols exist for a reason. By going outside the proper channels, I put myself, the school, the student, and the parent in an uncomfortable situation. Now, I am sure to follow all protocols carefully, even if they seem restrictive at first. I know that these guidelines are in place for a reason, and I fully respect the chain of order that the school and district have in place."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on March 16th, 2022

      Manager Example

      "(Situation) Ignoring mistakes or creating temporary fixes is a surefire way to lose accountability and trust in your team. This behavior can also generate a ripple effect of bigger consequences. (Solution) If I made a mistake, I would fix the issue the moment I became aware of the situation. If the problem was too large and I needed help, I would ask for assistance from the appropriate people. I would apologize for my error and own what I did. (Benefit) Company ABC can rest assured that I would not try to cover up a mistake to make myself look better. We all have room to grow and learn.

      (Option: follow up with a story-based example using the STAR method) One of the most humbling errors I made at work was when I terminated the wrong temporary contractor on-site. I was the project manager for a major construction project where we hired numerous temporary laborers and other contracted associates. We had one temp who was late to the job site three days in a row. My shift lead gave me the incorrect name, so I named the wrong person when I called the agency to ask them to fire this individual. As a result, a reliable worker was fired. When I found out that my call resulted in the wrong person losing their job, I called the agency immediately and explained the error. I apologized and asked them how we could correct the error and re-hire the person we initially terminated. This lesson taught me always to double-check before acting on anything that would directly impact a person or a project. If hired as your next project manager, I will be sure to bring this keen attention to detail and care for my team members to each project."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on March 16th, 2022

      Marketing Example

      "(Situation) Mistakes in marketing can have significant consequences not only financially but also on a clients' brand and reputation. (Solution) If I caused a mistake at work, I would be fully accountable and immediately fix the issue. I would work overtime without billing the client to ensure that everything was how it should be with minimal long-term consequences. (Benefit) If Company ABC chooses to hire me, the company will be gaining a self-aware and accountable team player.

      (Option: follow up with a story-based example using the STAR method) One example that comes to mind is I recently created an Instagram ad strategy for a client who didn't even request one. I currently freelance as a marketing manager, and, as a team of one, it's up to me to fully review every file before a project begins. I should have caught the error sooner, but I didn't because I was rushing through my deadlines. To fix the error and recover the time I spent, I chose to be transparent with the client. I let them know that I created an Instagram ad strategy for their account in error and would provide it at half the regular price if they were interested in taking the service. The time I put in wasn't a total wash by taking this approach, and the client received a lot of value. Luckily the client agreed, and they were delighted with the surprise project. We were able to laugh about it later. Now, I always triple-check my client files before starting on their projects, ensuring that my time is always optimized and my clients receive exactly what they initially engaged me to do. The bonus that came from this situation is that I learned how simple it can be to upgrade a clients' services - a skill that I am eager to bring as your next social media marketing manager."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on March 16th, 2022

      Community Answer

      "I do believe that no one is perfect all the time, even when you always carefully do your work, mistakes could happen. I am not afraid of making a mistake; I take a positive attitude to take the responsibility and action to fix my errors, and also one of the important things to me is learning from my mistakes by making my own checking styles, so next time I won't make the same mistakes anymore."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Kevin Downey

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Kevin Downey Reviewed the Above Answer

      Your response is well-intentioned, but should be more specific. The interviewer wants to get to know your problem-solving skills, how you work under pressure, and a better understanding of your work style. I provided a hypothetical scenario below that may help you get started.

      "(Hypothetical response) There was an instance when I failed to meet a monthly sales goal. I immediately realized my monthly sales goal was going to impact the department as a whole. I immediately took responsibility and addressed the issue with my manager. I explained that I put my all in considering the circumstance, but ultimately fell short. So, as I delivered this news, I came equipped with my plan moving forward to ensure this wouldn’t happen again. I also came equipped with strategies, which my manager helped me improve, to get us back on track for the next month. I’m typically very optimistic and forward thinking, and do all I can to improve."

      Community Answer

      "I was working on a case where a client listed disqualifying information regarding citizenship; when I went to verify his info no results were returned so I denied the case. The next day, in hindsight, I realized based on no results received the client may have entered incorrect info and I needed to get this clarified. I contacted the client and verified the info he gave on the app was incorrect. I was able to obtain the correct info and help the customer get approved after all, although it counted a day late on my time metrics. I learned I could have saved more time by clarifying the questionable information upfront. Some shortcuts may actually make things longer."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Marcie Wilmot

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Marcie Wilmot Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great response! It sounds like you made a decision that you later realized was questionable and then you did the right thing and helped the customer when you could have just as easily disregarded the entire situation and left him denied. The customer undoubtedly appreciated that you went above and beyond to help him. This answer will show the interviewer that you have a strong work ethic, own your errors, and learn from your mistakes. Nice job!

      Community Answer

      "I made an error with a load to the system. I accidentally mixed up the loads. It declined certain codes for billing. I created a how-to document to validate the correct information is being used. I've learned people make mistakes and I learned there are ways to make procedures better."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Amanda Knight

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Amanda Knight Reviewed the Above Answer

      You've used a strong example! You can make it even stronger by sharing how you fixed the mistake before creating your "how-to" document.