Preparing for an interview can be tough. However, if you have great interview prep things can change in your favor. Here are some great tips to help prepare for your next job interview. If you
Preparing for an interview can be tough. However, if you have great interview prep things can change in your favor. Here are some great tips to help prepare for your next job interview.
If you could go back and change one thing about your career to date, what would it be?
The Real Question: Is there something bad about you that I cannot see, and if there is, can I get you to admit it? Do you carry psychological baggage that you don’t need? How readily do you forgive yourself—and others?
Top-line Tactic: Give the interviewer a little bit of grit but never use the word “regret” in your answer. Focus on something positive and say you wished you’d done more of it. Then stop talking.
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When racing driver Lewis Hamilton crashed in one of his first Formula 1 races, an interviewer asked him if he regretted what he’d just done. Hamilton, despite being barely out of his teens, and barely out of a smoldering wreck of a car, simply smiled and answered, “You can’t get through life without making a few mistakes.”
Thus spoke a future champion, and maybe a future champion’s well-paid sports psychologist too.
To save you the price of a sports psychologist, remember this: human beings make mistakes and most of us have a few regrets. That’s a warm, worldly and liberating view to take of yourself and of the people around you. Get it into your interview mindset.
If you can satisfy yourself that regrets are normal, you’ll be less likely to get flustered when asked about yours. You’ll be less likely to use the word “regret” in your answer. Don’t steer the conversation that way. Regret is a loaded word: don’t point it at yourself.
All told, I don’t have too many complaints about the way things have gone. If I could change one thing, I’d have moved into the cell phone insurance business sooner than I did. I turned out to be good at that, and I enjoy it too. But back in the nineties I was enjoying myself selling life insurance. In those days, cell phone insurance was something nobody ever thought of. It’s easy to say with hindsight that everyone was going to insure their phones, but it was a time when hardly anybody even owned one, let alone lost one. If I’d moved into it sooner then maybe I’d have been sitting here a couple of years earlier—but who knows? Missing out on that taught me to take the odd risk in life, and I’m thankful for that.
Emphasize what you’re running to, not what you’re running from.
If you’re unlucky, the interviewer might explicitly use the word “regret” in the question. It would be rude not to use their language in your answer. But don’t panic—just say something like:
Everybody has the odd regret, but generally regrets are unproductive because most of them are based on doing whatever we thought was right at the time . . .
. . . and then go on to give exactly the same answer as before, the answer that references the job and what you’re about, with zero mention of regret.
Keep it honest and positive—but short.
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