Career Tips: How to Answer “Tell Me About a Time You Made a Mistake”

September 20, 2021

Career Tips: How to Answer “Tell Me About a Time You Made a Mistake”

This can feel like the ultimate trick question. How do you answer this question without hurting your candidacy? Here’s our formula:

  1. Define what a mistake is to you.
  2. Give an example of a time you made a mistake – be honest.
  3. Explain how you fixed the mistake or what you learned from the experience.


Define Mistake: As an account manager, a mistake to me is anytime I don’t meet and/or exceed the client’s expectations.


Story: At a previous job, I was managing over 10 client accounts at once. I had a ton on my plate and they all had pressing deadlines within the same two days. I was overwhelmed and failed to communicate this with the head of account management. I forgot to answer a client’s email about a deadline and they were very upset.


Lesson: Of course, now I know how to gauge what I can handle and what I commit to completing. I also re-evaluated my process for answering emails so no email ever goes unanswered for more than 8 hours. And now I make it a priority to communicate my capacity with my team.


Let’s put it all together:

“As an account manager, a mistake to me is anytime I don’t meet and/or exceed the client’s expectations. At a previous job, I was managing over 10 client accounts at once. I had a ton on my plate and they all had pressing deadlines within the same two days. I was overwhelmed and failed to communicate this with the head of account management. I forgot to answer a client’s email about a deadline and they were very upset. Of course, now I know how to gauge what I can handle and what I commit to completing. I also re-evaluated my process for answering emails so no email ever goes unanswered for more than 8 hours. And now I make it a priority to communicate my capacity with my team.”


Now, you try! If you want to run your answer by us, join us for our next free Interviewing Workshop on Tuesday, October 19 at 10am! To sign up, click here.