What Has Your Applicant Done “Wrong?”

Pounding the Keyboard

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We’ve all made mistakes. Some of us have made more than the next person. The focus of this tip is not on how many mistakes one applicant has made. The focus is on how did he deal with those moments in time.

Let’s look at this as if there are two very different ends of a spectrum.

At one end is the person who makes a mistake and has no recognition that he has done anything wrong. He may recognize something went wrong, but he had nothing to do with it. This person may even take steps to fix what went wrong while making it clear he was handling someone else’s wrongdoing.

At the other end of this spectrum is the person who takes full ownership for his mistakes. He not only recognizes his personal involvement in what went wrong, he is intent on personally fixing it.

With those two ends of the spectrum we of course have all kinds of possible conduct in between. Some folks take partial responsibility for what they’ve done wrong.

Each situation can present a different set of circumstances, and how each person deals with these can and do vary.

So let’s find out how our applicant looks at this.

“Robert, can you tell me a few mistakes you made on your previous job?”

Robert may not be eager to answer this, but I think a good candidate will actually have no problem talking about this.

One method Robert may use to avoid answering the question would be to mention a few very minor indiscretions, like:

“Well, I remember spilling my coffee while in the employee lounge.” Or “There was that time when I went home ten minutes before closing.”

Whatever mistakes your applicant has told you the next question would be:

“What did you do to fix each of those?”

The purpose here is not to fish around for major crimes or misdemeanors. You just want to see how easy it for your applicant to talk about mistakes they made and what steps did they take to make things right.

A person with a relatively clean heart should be able to answer these questions without much difficulty. And a clean heart is usually a very good asset in your workplace.



To see how our employee test can help you bring better people on board watch this three minute video.



If you have ever interviewed someone and later discovered a "different" person is working for you, check out our new book How To Hire The Right People.


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