In this blog, we will explain why the interviewer is asking you the behavioural interview question, “tell me about a time when you made a mistake”. If you understand why the question is being asked, it enables you to give the perfect answer. We will then tell you how to structure your answer to this interview question to get the highest scores possible.
Finally, we will give you a brilliant scripted example answer to the question, “tell me about a time when you made a mistake”, that is guaranteed to impress the hiring manager!
WHY IS THE INTERVIEWER ASKING THE QUESTION, “TELL ME ABOUT ABOUT A TIME WHEN YOU MADE A MISTAKE!”
They are asking you this interview question for two reasons.
Reason 1 – The interviewer wants to assess whether you are honest about any mistakes you have made. If you say that you have never made a mistake in your life, then you are not being honest. We all make mistakes, but it is how you respond to the mistakes you make that is important.
Reason 2 – The interviewer wants to hear that you took ownership of your mistake, you apologised for it if necessary, and you then took positive steps to learn from the experience!
THE NUMBER ONE BEST METHOD FOR STRUCTURING YOUR ANSWER
We strongly recommend you structure your answer to this, and any other behavioural interview question, by using the S.T.A.R technique. The S.T.A.R technique stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result.
First, you start off your answer by telling the interviewer the SITUATION you were faced with.
Next, you briefly outline the TASK that needed doing.
You then move on and give details about the ACTION you took to achieve the task.
Finally, tell the interviewer the RESULT following your actions.
“TELL ME ABOUT A TIME WHEN YOU MADE A MISTAKE” (SCRIPTED ANSWER)
“SITUATION: When I first started work in my last job, my manager asked for a volunteer to complete an important time-sensitive task. I agreed to be that person.
TASK: The task involved collecting 12 months’ worth of company sales figures which my manager needed for an important presentation she was going to be giving to the senior management team.
ACTION: When I started work on the task, I soon realised it was going to take me much longer than I’d anticipated. I’d made a mistake in estimating how long the task would take to complete. Because of my mistake, I had to stay behind late after work each evening and commit the extra hours to get the job finished.
RESULT: Moving forward, I made sure I never made the same mistake again. I thought carefully about each task I was responsible for, and I took the time to determine the exact number of hours and resources it would take me to finish it.”
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