Now, Tell Me About a Time When You Screwed Up

Now, Tell Me About a Time When You Screwed Up

October 31st, 2013

tonyArticleThese days most of us are familiar with “Behavioral Interviews”.  These interviews use job related past-event questions to gauge how well the candidate will perform in the position for which they are interviewing. Research has shown that past performance is a good predictor of future performance.

I recently had a conversation with Stephen Moulton of Action Insight about how to get a balanced picture of a candidate’s weaknesses as well as strengths in a behavioral interview

So here are two questions. How often do you dig deeper when asking behavioral-based questions? Do you ask candidates to provide “contrary” examples of past performance to those same questions?

For instance, after a candidate tells you how well they handled a certain problem, do you ask them to tell about a time when things didn’t go well in the same or similar situation? And what they learned from it?

If they say they have never screwed up they may be lying or do not have enough experience. Let’s face it, we all make mistakes. These “learning opportunities” can make us wiser and smarter. Answers to these “contrary questions” give insight to how well your candidate learns from their challenging situations.

Change is a constant. You want to ensure that the people you hire have the capability to learn, adapt, and keep up with an ever evolving environment.

You can learn more about these topics and Stephen Moulton and Action Insight at

Let me know your thoughts and experience about this, and if there is anything I can do to help you.

Kindest Regards,


Tony Bengtson, SPHR
Precision Recruiting, Inc.
CTRN Founder and President
Coors Corporate Gold Supplier Award Recipient
(303) 627-9189


Posted in Advice, Recruiting

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