Tell me about something you did or failed to do that you now feel a little guilty.

Be sure that you refer to something that was beyond your control. Show acceptance and no negative feelings.

Why ask this question:  
There are some questions your interviewer has no business asking, and this is one.  But while you may feel like answering, “none of your business,” naturally you can’t.  Some interviewers ask this question on the chance you admit to something, but if not, at least they’ll see how you think on your feet.

Some unprepared candidates, flustered by this question, unburden themselves of guilt from their personal life or career, perhaps expressing regrets regarding a parent, spouse, child, etc.  All such answers can be disastrous.

Most Effective Answer:  
As with faults and weaknesses, never confess regret.  But don’t seem as if you’re stonewalling either.

Most Effective strategy:  Say you harbor no regrets, then add a principle or habit you practice regularly for healthy human relations.

Example:  Pause for reflection, as if the question never occurred to you.  Then say, “You know, I really can’t think of anything.”  (Pause again, then add): “I would add that as a general management principle, I’ve found that the best way to avoid regrets is to avoid causing them in the first place.  I practice one habit that helps me a great deal in this regard.  At the end of each day, I mentally review the day’s events and conversations to take a second look at the people and developments I’m involved with and do a double check of what they’re likely to be feeling.  Sometimes I’ll see things that do need more follow-up, whether a pat on the back, or maybe a five minute chat in someone’s office to make sure we’re clear on things, whatever.

“I also like to make each person feel like a member of an elite team, like the Boston Celtics or LA Lakers in their prime.  I’ve found that if you let each team member know you expect excellence in their performance, if you work hard to set an example yourself, and if you let people know you appreciate and respect their feelings, you wind up with a highly motivated group, a team that’s having fun at work because they’re striving for excellence rather than brooding over slights or regrets.”

Honesty is a good trait, but too much honesty can be your downfall when answering this question! If you believe that you have been guilty of a major failure – even if it was only through bad luck or circumstance – try to play it down.

This question can be asked as under also:

  1. What has been your biggest professional disappointment?
  2. What is your greatest failure?

Continue to… Interview Question 7 - Why are you leaving or did you leave this industry or position?

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1 comment :

  1. Tks very much for your post.

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