Interview ??: What have you learned from your mistakes?

The easiest answer to that question would be “I don’t make mistakes”.  Which might be true!  But definitely not what the interviewer is looking for.  Don’t be too vague with your answers.  It helps if you give an actual example:

  • I updated a billing module, it was all tested and ready to go and I realized that I had neglected to send it to production.  My first reaction was to hide and hope no one noticed.  But thankfully I realized that that would have been a way bigger mistake.  So I bit the bullet admitted my mistake and quickly worked to correct it.  I learned from this that you can’t hide from your mistakes.  They won’t go away, so just fix them.
  • I didn’t believe in myself.  When I had a problem I went looking for help as soon as I hit a bump.  My co-worker finally said, “Don’t give up so easily.  Persevere at it and you will figure it out.”  Now I don’t give up as soon and keep digging until I find the answer.
  • When I first started in my previous position, I was scared to ask for help, in case my co-workers thought I wasn’t qualified for the job.  Now I know that it is better to ask for help then make costly mistakes that have to be fixed by myself or my co-workers
  • In dealing with customers I quickly learned not to say “I can’t do that” right away.  Customers want you to at least try to help even if the outcome is the same.  So I found that telling a customer “Let me see what I can do” and then trying my best to help them, made the customer more satisfied.

Keep in mind that the interviewer isn’t too worried about how bad the mistake was, they want you to admit that:

  • Yes, you have made mistakes
  • You learned from your mistakes
  • You didn’t blame co-workers
  • That you are open to learning.
This question helps you to show your integrity, honesty, ego, very important characteristics that employers are looking for.
So keep in mind, that we learn as much from our mistakes as our successes. 
Good Luck Job Hunting happyfacehanddrawn


Lynne Carlson started her career off in administration, moved to Cobol Programming and for the last 14 years worked in all things recruitment.  Absolutely loves social media and excited about all the new innovations appearing every day!


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