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made a mistake job interview

Interview Question: Tell Me About A Time You Made A Mistake

What they want to know

Everyone has made a  mistake or two throughout their career. But what sets the best candidates apart is being able to discuss your mistakes and express what you learned from the situation. Employers often ask this question because it’s raw – it makes you self-reflect and even puts you on your toes (if you weren’t already standing on them!). Interviewers want to learn if you are self-aware, can accept feedback or criticism, and care about doing your job better.

The most vital thing is, to be honest. The worst thing you can do is answer this interview question with something on the lines of “I honestly can’t think of a time I have made a mistake at work.” Newsflash! You are human, and it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. And be sure to explain how you overcame the mistake. It will demonstrate your resilience and problem-solving abilities!

Pro tip: Don’t blame other people in your answer. Not accepting any of the responsibility for the mistake you discuss is essentially like answering “what’s your greatest weakness?” with a strength – you don’t want to do that.

Example answering tell me about a time you made a mistake

“One time, I dropped the ball on a deadline. I was in the middle of a big software migration, and my boss asked me if I had time to run a report for him. I was swamped that week and was engrossed in this migration project that I was working on for weeks. Time slipped away from me, and I forgot to run the report, and my boss was irritated and missed her deadline. But I learned from this situation that I need to have better communication with my team and not accept more work if I don’t have the bandwidth to complete it.”

Final comments

This answer is an excellent example for answering this interview question. It addresses the mistake, explains the result, and illustrates the learning moment. The interviewee did not blame anyone else but themselves. Plus, the mistake wasn’t earth-shattering. If you have a terrible mistake in your past, it may be wise to share one that is a little “softer.”

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

What is Your Ideal Work Environment?

Interview Question: What is Your Ideal Work Environment?

What they want to know

Hiring managers ask questions like “What is your ideal work environment?” to identify three essential things:

  • Are you a fit for the company’s culture?
  • How long will you stay with the company?
  • Receive a glimpse of your personality

According to Jennifer Sukola, a Muse career coach, hiring managers are looking for, “How long are [you are] going to stick around? That’s the question.” “Employees who mesh well with the company’s environment will be happier and, in turn, stay in the job longer and contribute more.” Ideally, your preferred working environment matches the company you are applying to. However, don’t force a fake answer to give the interviewers what they want to hear. You must be honest in your response because if you think you want the job, it isn’t fair to you or the employer by lying just to secure the job. Remember, you are interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you.

Nevertheless, that does not mean that you can’t touch on things that match their culture and working environment. Also, most job descriptions do a decent job painting the picture of the working environment you will be in. Make sure you take a quick look at their website and social media channels to gain insight into the company’s working environment. If that environment fits you well, express that in your answer, and explain why it works for you.

Example answering what is your ideal work environment

“My ideal working environment is where I have the opportunity to work collaboratively with a team. I am a people-person and enjoy working with others. I have fun being able to bounce ideas off colleagues and come up with great ideas and new experiments. Additionally, I find it rewarding to come to a solution with my team and create something beneficial for the company. I find that I work best in an environment that is positive, encouraging, and centered around teamwork.”

Final comments

If you are an extrovert and enjoy working as a team, this is a fantastic answer. It clearly answers the question and offers a brief peek of the interviewee’s personality. Just remember to be truthful and answer honestly. If you are lying, you are doing yourself an injustice as you will likely not be happy in this new role if it doesn’t fit with your ideal working environment.

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

A Conflict You Faced at Work

Interview Question: Tell Me About A Conflict You Faced at Work

What they want to know

Everyone has faced a challenging situation or conflict in the workplace. However, that doesn’t make it any easier to discuss in a job interview. It can be challenging to pick a conflict to discuss without feeling overwhelmed or frustrated. The key here is to make your answer more of a story and less analytical. Your interviewers want to see your human side and get a sense that you are capable of professionally handling conflict in the workplace.

In your answer, focus more on the resolution and less on the conflict. Many interviewees make the mistake of spending too much time talking about the conflict and getting caught up with the story’s negative side. Instead, briefly explain the problematic situation and focus your time on what you did to overcome it. But most importantly, be honest with your answer and don’t pretend to be the “perfect” candidate.

If you can, pick a relevant example relevant to the job or the company’s industry. In other words, choose a conflict or situation related to the job. You can use the STAR method to outline your answer to this question to keep you on track and paint a clear picture of your conflict resolution skills.

Example answering tell me about a conflict you faced at work

“My coworker was on vacation for the week, and our Chief Operating Officer called me and asked if her presentation for a new product idea was completed. She was very stressed as she needed it by the following morning. I was not working on the presentation and didn’t have the most recent copy. I called up my coworker on their cell phone and had her email the PowerPoint to me.

Our COO and I had a brief call and went over the presentation with her to see what was missing. I was able to figure out what was left to add and completed the presentation before the end of the day. Our COO was very pleased with the presentation and called me after her meeting and send it went very well! Now, my coworker and I share all of our working documents on the cloud so we can easily access each other’s files if something like that ever happens again.”

Final comments

This is an excellent example of explaining a conflict you faced in the workplace and how you resolved it. The answer highlights the conflict itself but focuses on the steps the interviewee took to overcome it and come to a resolution. Additionally, it clearly uses the STAR method to lay out the problem, making it easy for the hiring manager to follow. It also demonstrates that the interviewee can thrive under pressure and work alongside senior leadership.

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

what's your greatest achievement

Interview Question: What’s Your Greatest Achievement?

What they want to know

This interview question is another tricky one to answer. If you are relatively young in your career, you may struggle to identify your greatest achievement. And if you’re an established professional, you may have a slew of accomplishments to choose from. However, the best thing you can do is share an achievement that you’re proud of that also demonstrates the value you bring to the table.

If you share an achievement that ties back to the job you are applying for, you’ll get some bonus points. Your interviewers want to see a glimpse of your work ethic and your professional values.

Pro tip:

Use the STAR (Situation, Tasks, Actions, Results) method to formulate your answer to this interview question. The STAR method essentially helps you build a story of a problem, your role in addressing that problem, the actions you took to fix the problem, and the results of your hard work. This is a helpful method to keep your answer on track and present your achievement clearly to your interviewers.

Example answering what’s your greatest achievement

“In my current role, our engineering team was responsible for building a new prototype for a medical device we were designing. One of the engineers tasked at 3D printing the device accepted another job offer, and nobody else on the team had 3D printing experience. I have some experience with 3D printing and offered to prepare the device to be printed. I worked with our team to troubleshoot a few issues that came up during the initial process; however, I was able to finish the device’s printing process two weeks ahead of schedule. The device is now on the market, and our company has sold thousands of units that help medical professionals save lives.”

Final comments

This is an excellent example of answering what’s your greatest achievement. It followed the STAR method to paint a concise picture of the problem, the interviewee’s role, and the resolution. If this answer were for an engineering position that required 3D printing experience, this would be a perfect choice.

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

Interview Question: Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

What they want to know

“Where do you see yourself in five years?” is another painful interview question to answer. It is difficult to explain where you see your career in the next half-a-decade to a stranger. Hiring managers ask this question to develop a better understanding of whether you fit into their long-term plan. If you say you want to be doing something completely different from the role you are applying for within five years; you probably won’t make the cut. The best way to answer this question is to provide a general idea of what you want to accomplish, the types of roles you see yourself in, and the skills you hope to lockdown.

You don’t have to have the perfect picture painted when answering this question; your interviewers just want to know if you are thinking of your future and if it aligns with the company’s goals. In other words, they want to know if you can see yourself with the company in that time frame. Employers like longevity!

Example answering where do you see yourself in five years

“In the next five years, I want to become an industry expert in digital marketing. I want to develop into a resource for my team and help educate newer marketing professionals on innovative concepts and tools. Also, I would like to improve my video editing skills to help produce engaging marketing videos for social media platforms. In the next few years, I would like to work up to earning a leadership role to help a company, like [insert company name], achieve their marketing and brand awareness goals.”

Final comments

This example checks all the boxes for successfully answering this question. It shows the candidate’s ambition, the drive to learn more about their industry, states a skillset they want to improve, and demonstrates their career drive. A hiring manager would be happy with this answer because it shows that the candidate is passionate about their industry and eager to learn more. It also expresses their desire to grow within the company. Where do you see yourself in five years is a tricky question to answer. However, if your answer shows your ambition to learn, grow, and longevity, you will be in good shape!

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

what's your greatest weakness

Interview Question: What’s Your Greatest Weakness?

What they want to know

This is probably one of the most challenging interview questions to answer. It is difficult to pinpoint weaknesses and talk about them with complete strangers. And that’s exactly why interviewers ask this question. Hiring managers and HR professionals want to know if you are self-aware of your flaws and see what steps you are taking to better yourself. Start with a fault and then discuss the steps you are taking to overcome it. The best thing you can do is remain positive and honest with your answer.

Pro tip: do not try and disguise a strength as a weakness. Using a weakness such as “I am a perfectionist” is not going to cut it. Everyone has weaknesses, and you should not be afraid to hide them. Your prospective employer wants to see your humility and the steps you take to improve yourself as a professional.

Example answering what’s your greatest weakness

“One skill set that I am currently working hard to improve is my efficiency with HTML and CSS. I took a class in college and developed a basic understanding of coding. However, in my current position, it is helpful to be able to make basic coding updates to our company website, and I have been challenging myself to become more knowledgeable in this area. I am enrolled in an online course, and I am already learning new ways to apply this information in my current role.”

Final comments

Discussing your greatest weakness can be overwhelming. This is an excellent example because a weakness was identified, and the interviewee laid out the steps they are taking to improve in that area. They discussed that they are already working on overcoming this weakness and seeing the results of their hard work. Plus, their answer was positive, which is precisely how any interviewee should frame a response to this question!

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

why are you looking for a new job

Interview Question: Why Are You Looking for A New Job?

What they want to know

So, why are you looking for a new job? There are a multitude of reasons why you could be searching for a new position. Whatever answer you provide, it must be thoughtful to illustrate your intentions and demonstrate your interest in the position. Your response must be carefully crafted and positive. In other words, if you want to succeed in this interview, your answer must steer clear of the negative aspects of your previous or current job.

For example, if you are searching for a new job because you are unhappy, you don’t get along well with your boss or are looking for a pay raise, these are not topics you want to bring up in your answer. Instead, focus on the job you are interviewing for and express your excitement for this new opportunity!

And when answering this question, the most vital detail is honesty. If you are dishonest with your answer, the truth will eventually surface, and your interviewers will not be happy.

Example answering why are you looking for a new job

“I am looking for an opportunity to utilizing my web development skills to create and maintain webpages. In my current position, I don’t have the chance to work on any web development as we outsource all of our web design and maintenance to a local developer. I recently completed an online course, and I really enjoyed learning how to build webpages from the ground-up. With this Digital Marketing position at [insert company name], I will have the opportunity to use this skill set and make webpages that help promote the company brand and services you provide.”

Final comments

In this example, the answer was positive, expressed interest in the position at hand, and demonstrated your excitement for the role. It also illustrates that you are a good fit for the position. “Why are you looking for a new job” is a common interview question that will undoubtedly be brought up in your interview. Overall, this a concise and effective answer to this sometimes difficult question.

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

tell us a little about yourself

Interview Question: Tell Us A Little About Yourself

What they want to know

This question is typically an icebreaker at the beginning of an interview. Your interviewers are allowing you to shake off those nerves and provide a quick elevator pitch on your candidacy. The goal is to give a brief background about yourself and demonstrate why you’re a solid fit for this job. You should start by introducing yourself and tell them where you are currently working. This gives you the chance to briefly describe your current and past positions, as well as highlight the tasks that make you a strong candidate for this role.

If you’re fresh out of school or about to graduate, start by sharing your major and school/university. To top it off, feel free to conclude your answer on a more personal level. Maybe include a fun fact about yourself or an exciting hobby that might make for an interesting conversation starter. This tidbit allows you to let some of your personality shine right at the beginning of the interview!

Example answering tell us a little about yourself

My name is [insert name], and I am currently an Account Executive with [insert company name]. Over the last three years, I have developed the ability to identify new clients and provide them with a customized software solution to help them increase their productivity. As a salesperson, my greatest strength is understanding the needs of a prospective client and selling them a solution that fits both their budgetary requirements and business model. As someone who thrives in a competitive environment and enjoys helping companies become more profitable, I believe I can be a tremendous asset to your sales team. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family and going hiking with Apollo, my German Shepard.

Final comments

In this example, they are providing a brief overview of their current position and are explaining how their background will allow them to be an excellent fit for the team. It also provides a brief glimpse of their personality (competitive, passionate, and loves the outdoors). Overall, this a great answer to this common interview question that you will likely face.

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

why are you looking for a new job

How to Explain Why Are You Looking for A New Job

At the beginning of almost every job interview, you will likely be asked something on the lines of, “Why are you looking for a new job?” Now, there is a multitude of reasons why you may be looking for a new job opportunity. However, successfully answering this question will make or break your interview. Here are three common scenarios of why you may be looking for a new job and how to respond to this tricky subject.

Prepare your answer beforehand

First of all, prepare an answer to this question before your interview. Whether you quit you’re your job, you were let go, or you are just simply looking for a better opportunity, your answer to this question should focus on the position at hand. Don’t focus on the negatives regarding your past or current employer. Instead, your response should focus on why you’re an excellent fit for the position and the company.

Stay positive

This is a difficult interview question to answer. If you’re looking for a new job, you are probably unsatisfied with some aspect of your job: your compensation, your day-to-day duties, your manager, etc. But the absolute last thing you want to do is badmouth your employer. No matter how bad your job or manager is, never speak ill of them. It creates a wrong impression and will put a dark shadow over your candidacy.

Why were you were let go, fired, or laid off?

It happens to the best of us. Being laid off or fired from your position stinks, but lying about it makes it worse. When formulating your answer, honesty is the best policy. But don’t be honest to a fault. The best way to answer this question in this situation is to be direct but not divulge too much information. Essentially, you want to give a straight answer that is truthful and one that doesn’t sound bitter.

Here’s a good example explaining why you were fired:

“Unfortunately, I was let go from my previous position. However, I have learned a lot from the experience, and I am confident this will not happen again. I am a hard-working employee, and I am ready to prove that my skillset is a great match for this position.”

Why did you quit?

There could be dozens of reasons why you quit your job and are currently looking for new opportunities. However, you once again want to stay positive and forgo giving away too much information. Have your answer focus on the job that’s in front of you, not the one you left. Here’s a great example from Indeed on how to answer why you quit your job:

“Ultimately, I’ve learned a lot from my previous role, but I’m looking for the next step where I can continue to grow and use the skills I’ve honed to contribute to a company I love, and this opportunity seems to be the perfect fit.”

Why do you want to leave your current position?

If you are still employed and interviewing for a new position, this is probably the easiest of the three scenarios. As long as you don’t badmouth your current employer or talk about better compensation, you can easily generate an answer to this question. Focus on your skill set and why you would be a great match for this position.

Here’s an example:

“At my current position, I don’t believe I am being challenged anymore and want to find a new position that better fits my growing skillset. I saw the job description for this position, and was really excited about this opportunity because I believe my background and passion for [insert role/industry/field/etc.] will allow me to be a successful addition to the team.”

Regardless of why you are looking for a new job, your best bet is, to be honest, positive, and tie in your excitement for the position. And if you want some leads on exciting job opportunities, check out our job board! Good luck!

Behavioral Interview Questions

Behavioral Interview Questions You Should Be Asking Candidates

Interviewing candidates can be challenging. Not only is it time-consuming, but also there is a lot of pressure to determine precisely if this person will be the right fit for your position, team, and company as a whole. One of the best ways to do this is via behavioral interview questions. In fact, behavioral interviewing is often considered to be the most effective technique across different levels, organizations, and industries.

Here is a quick synopsis of behavioral interviewing from SHRM:

“Behavioral interviewing focuses on a candidate’s past experiences by asking candidates to provide specific examples of how they have demonstrated certain behaviors, knowledge, skills, and abilities. Answers to behavioral interview questions should provide verifiable, concrete evidence as to how a candidate has dealt with issues in the past. This information often reveals a candidate’s actual level of experience and his or her potential to handle similar situations in your organization.”

So, which behavioral interview questions should you ask in order to compare candidates and determine their qualifications objectively? Let’s jump right into a few of our favorites here at JSG.

Describe your proudest professional accomplishment.

This is a great question to kick off a behavioral interview. It allows the candidate to reference something they’re passionate about and gets them more comfortable right off the bat. When listening to their answer, try to pick up on a couple of cues. Do they give credit to other team members? How significant of an accomplishment was it? Did this accomplishment assist in propelling their career development further?

Tell me about a time you failed. What could you have done to make it better, and how did you move past it?

Everyone has failed at some point in their career. In fact, your best candidates will have experienced plenty of failures. The difference is that they will have learned and grown from each situation. Avoid candidates who dance around giving an actual failure. Don’t take a page out of Michael Scott’s book. This is not the time for a fluffy answer of “I care too much.”

Behavioral Interview Questions

Give me an example of a time when you had to work with someone whose personality was different from yours.

This question can be tricky to answer. You are NOT looking for the candidate to throw a previous coworker under the bus. You should be, however, interested in discovering how they handle conflict in general. Do they address it head-on or look for support from upper management? There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer, but the insights you gain can help you understand how to manage this person best.

Describe a time when you were juggling a lot of different projects. How did you prioritize?

The logic behind this question is twofold. First, you’ll be able to understand what the candidate deems as “a lot of projects.” Second, you’ll get an inside peek into their thought process. Everyone gets overwhelmed at times; it’s how we handle it that’s most important.

So, these four behavior interview questions will help you determine if the candidate is a true fit for your team.