More Interview Questions and Answers
What are your greatest regrets about the path your career has taken?
Alternative and related questions:
If you were just starting out in your career again, what would you do differently?
How do you feel about your career path to date?
The meaning behind the question:
Like the previous – and closely-related – question, the interviewer is again looking for evidence of mistakes, failings and regrets. They're just doing so much more directly than in the previous question. The assumption is that you do have some regrets and they're hoping this question will uncover those. It's all very useful information to them.
"Greatest regrets"; it's highly emotive language, isn't it. But you definitely need to avoid giving a highly emotive answer.
While this question is much more direct than the previous question, it's actually easier to answer in many ways. Don't answer it in terms of what your greatest regrets are; answer it in terms of whether or not you have any regrets – and answer it in terms of your not having any!
This is a question you have a very good chance of successfully dodging, without actually being seen to be dodging it.
I don't think I'd say I have any specific regrets about the path my career has taken, let alone any major regrets. I'm very pleased with the path my career has taken to date. I wouldn't say that my career has taken a path so much as that I've consciously steered my career down a certain path. All of the decisions I've made along the way have been for specific reasons and, ultimately, those decisions have led me to where I am today. There are, of course, certain things I could perhaps have done differently but there's certainly nothing I actually regret in any way.
Word of warning:
If the interviewer insists on your mentioning at least one regret then refer back to the answer you've prepared for the previous question and, if they've already asked you that question themselves, then just refer them back to the answer you gave, repeating it if appropriate, while emphasising that it really doesn't constitute a 'regret'.
The Interview Question & Answer Book
More interview questions and answers
Talking about your current employment
- Can you tell me what you enjoy about your current job?
- What will you remember most about your last job?
- Is this the first time you have made an effort to move away from your current employers?
- How do you feel about the possibility of leaving your current job?
- How would you describe your current employer?
Talking about this vacancy
- Wouldn’t you be better suited to working in a larger/smaller organisation?
- How do you feel this vacancy differs from your current role?
- What reservations do you have about your ability to undertake this job?
- Can you describe your ideal working environment to me?
- How do you feel we compare to our competitors?
- What would you say is our Unique Selling Point?
- What would be your analysis of the current trends in our industry/sector?
Understanding your career path, plans and ambitions
- What aspects of your career path would you like to have been different?
- What are your greatest regrets about the path your career has taken?
- What has been the greatest challenge you have faced in your career to date?
- What do you think are your main career options for the next five years?
- What exactly does the word ‘success’ mean to you?
Addressing problems in your career history
- Why did you only stay with this organisation for such a short time?
- Why did you stay with this organisation for such a long time?
Coping with stress and pressure
- Are you able to multitask?
- Can you juggle a number of different projects simultaneously?
- How do you handle rejection/disappointment/failure?
- How do you deal with interpersonal conflict?
- What does tact and diplomacy mean to you?
- What makes for a successful team?
Management and leadership
- Would you describe yourself as a good manager?
- Do you really think you’re management material?
- What is your attitude to delegation?
- Can you give me an example of a time when you had to lead from the front?
- Have you ever had to fire or lay off a member of your staff?
- How would you describe your ideal team member?
Personal and professional development
- In what ways do you intend to improve upon your performance?
- How has your current job prepared you for greater challenges/responsibility?
Interests and activities
- What book are you reading at the moment?
- What newspaper do you take?
- Are you interested in current affairs?
The amateur psychiatrist
- If you won the lottery what would you do?
- Can you tell me about the best teacher you ever had?
- If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be and why?
- What are you most afraid of?
Money, money, money
- Why aren’t you earning more?
- How much do you think you are really worth?
- How much does money matter to you?
- Would you still be interested in this job if you current employer offered a pay rise?
- Have you ever had to take a pay cut to keep your job?
- Have you ever asked for but been refused a pay rise?
Author: James Innes