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Most of us have had to face the dreaded, “Tell me about a time you made a mistake” question while interviewing for a new job.
And while the whole point of an interview is to put your best foot forward—and nobody relishes disclosing past work failures—with a little advanced preparation, your response can actually work in your favour. (The thing you don’t want to do is wing it.) So what’s the best way to answer this question in a way that can enhance your desirability as a candidate?
Understand what the interviewer is really getting at, so you can best tailor your response. What they really want to know is how you approach challenges, what you learned from the experience, and how you constructively applied that knowledge to other situations. In addition to gleaning a sense of your weaknesses, they’re trying to assess your problem-solving skills and potential for growth. (They also want to see if you’re honest.)
Keep in mind the “STAR Technique”:
S: Situation – describe the situation you were in when that past work-related mistake happened.
T: Task – explain what you were supposed to do.
A: Action – tell them what happened. Describe what you did wrong and how you handled the negative situation.
R: Result – show the positive results and the lessons you learned from the experience.
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