Interview 31: Give Me An Example Of A Time You Did Something Wrong

For the best result, make sure you have read this article and already have a write-up of your answer prior to your Cambly session. You can send a longer text to your tutor through Cambly’s messaging system.

This following content has been modified from LiveCareer. See the original article here.


Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

What the Hiring Manager Is Really Asking…

An interview is supposed to be a time where you are trying to talk yourself up, which is why it can be difficult to answer something like: “Give me an example of a time you did something wrong. How did you handle it”

Questions like this tend to trip people up because they get caught up with the first sentence. The actual question is, “How did you handle it” The interviewer wants to know how you respond to adversity. Hiring managers want to know that if something goes wrong, you will be able to remain calm and handle it efficiently.

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • Why do you think an employer would ask this question?
  • What are things that an employer might be looking for in an answer?

Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

Points to Emphasize

You should remain positive for every question of an interview, even if you are talking about a time where things did not go smoothly.

  • Admit that you did something wrong, being humble can work to your advantage
  • Discuss how you handled the situation
  • Discuss what you learned from the experience
  • Remain positive

It is not always easy to admit that you messed up, especially when you are trying to impress a potential employer. However, managers know that you are only human and that people make mistakes so do not be afraid to talk about a previous shortcoming.

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • Think of a few times that you have made mistakes in the past.
  • Pick one or two instances that you think would be appropriate to tell in an interview
  • Why do you think these would be interesting for a potential boss to hear>

Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

Mistakes You Should Avoid

Talking about past mistakes can get tricky, so watch out for these common pitfalls.

  • Avoid saying that you have never done anything wrong
  • Don’t get caught up in overly explaining what went wrong
  • Don’t be vague with the situation that happened
  • Don’t forget to talk about how you are a better employee now because of it

Chances are that you will make a mistake no matter what job you are getting. The important thing is that you are able to learn from your errors and become a better worker in the process.

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • What did you learn from the mistakes that you made in the past?
  • How has it made you a better employee?
  • How will the lessons you learned from past mistakes aid you in your new position? How would it help you prevent future mistakes?

Guideline

Read the following text with your tutor. 

Sample Answer

A good response to a question about your past mistakes should go something like this:

“One time my boss came up to me and asked why he wasn’t receiving emails from certain clients. At first I explained to him that I didn’t know and that I hadn’t heard from the clients either. A couple days after that I checked the junk folder in my email and saw all these emails that should’ve been going to my boss. I quickly sent them over and told my boss what happened. He had a good laugh and ever since, I’ve made sure that I checked all my folders.”

Answering this question confidently is vital. You should be able to own up to your mistakes and learn a new skill through it.

Activities

Go over the following points with your tutors. 

  • Write the first draft of your answer with your tutor.
  • Are there any words or phrases that you are not comfortable pronouncing?
  • Now rehearse with your tutor until you are comfortable answering the question without the script.

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