I've been asked about my weaknesses and strengths (once being asked to list five of each, which I respectfully reduced to one each), but so far I've not been asked about making a mistake at work.
If I were to be asked that question, my first reaction would be like the fellow in the photo, although I'd keep that scream silent!
The recruiter's aim would not be to count you out or make you feel "less than"; rather, it would be more likely related to a) seeing how you react to a bit of stress and b) tapping into your ability to take ownership and resolve a situation.
In this blog - How to Tell a Story in a Job Interview - the writer takes us through answering this exact question. It's a great read and well told; I highly recommend you read it.
I agree with everything; however, I see that there's a missed opportunity to further build confidence in the job hunter as a suitable candidate. Here's what's missing.
Pull in the Skills
What a great opportunity to showcase why you were able to fix your mistake by using the skills you posess. Pointing out the skills (keep them relevant to the new job, of course) you called on to resolve the issue is essential to continuing to build yourself up as an ideal candidate.
You'll find relevant skills in the job posting, and these can be hard skills as well as soft skills. Hard skills are the job-specific competencies and soft skills are related to personality, qualitites, motivation, and talents.
Now the answer is complete and influential. You've taken the issue of having caused a mistake and turned it into an opportunity to "sell yourself." Perfect!
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