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How to Answer Tell Me About A Time When You Made An Error

Posted by Tarik | Jan 23, 2021

You are at a job interview, and everything is going well. You have a good rapport with the interviewer, and you are making good small talk exhibiting good conversational skills.

Then, the interviewer comes to the tough question.

"Tell me about a time when you made an error. Why did you miss the mistake? How did you handle the situation?"

Everyone makes mistakes; it is universal. But we don't like talking about them, do we?

But being able to discuss your past mistakes in your earlier job can be a great way to impress an interviewer. It means that you are acknowledging errors and taking measures to rectify them.

Remember, the interviewer will not dwell on your mistakes but is more interested in seeing how you handled the situation.

Focus on how you dealt with the situation and what was the learning that you gained from it.

An employer would prefer hiring a candidate who admits and grows from their mistakes rather than someone who assumes that they never make any.

There are vital aspects to keep in mind when you answer this question:

·  Be honest and admit you are capable of making a mistake

·  Take responsibility for your actions

·  Highlight the resolution

To make the best use of the situation in answering this question, we can use the STAR method to highlight the key touchpoints to make a better impression.

Sometimes your story can get lost in transition, and you might not send the correct message out.

That is a serious issue because you might end up giving a completely wrong impression to the interviewer.

Instead, you apply the scenario to the STAR method – Situation, Task, Action, and Results to structure it better.

Here is an example of how to answer the question about the time you made an error.


It was the time when I was Project Manager for app development, and we overstepped a budget on one project because I did not go through the exact costing mechanism.

With this problem, I solved a company-wide issue with better measures to develop budgets and save extra expenses.


I brought to light how changes in deadlines affect the developer costs and other incremental costs.

I followed the same procedure for my project and exceeded the budget, but the mistake allowed me to introduce a better company-wide budgeting system.


I initiated a budgeting system that considers the deadlines and every other variable when costing.

This document included forwarded scenarios to clients if they require an earlier completion and a framework to have incremental costing based on the deadline.

Although the current budgeting had allocations for early deadlines, it did not include the supplementary costs in making the early deadlines work.

The incorrect budgets were costing the company more than the set amount, and I brought out that the company was losing from every project.

Thus, I set up several calls with the UI UX leads and other project managers to get their insight and formulated a percentage based costing mechanism to use for future projects.

I then communicated the document across to all project managers as a guide when taking on future assignments.


As a result, I now make sure that budgets are drafted based on the project's deadlines and expectations.

I also ensure that new developments and early deliveries have provisions so that they don't get missed.

Thanks to the document I sent across, both clients and project managers know how the costs change and this avoided confusion with clients since they have second thoughts about spending more than the agreed amount.

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