How to Answer: Tell Me about a Time You Made a Mistake

Are you nervous about your upcoming airline company interview for a flight attendant position, especially the part in which you will be asked about a time you made a mistake? Well, you are not alone. This cabin crew question is predictable during interviews, and it tends to throw candidates off their balance. But with a little preparation, you can nail this question with ease.

Mistakes are common wherever we are and this behavioral type of interview question helps the airline company to get an insight into how you can own up and learn from your mistakes. The key here is to prepare yourself by recounting a challenging situation in which you made a mistake and telling the interviewer what you learned from that experience.

Also Read: How to Answer: What Kind of Person Do You Refuse to Work With?

When answering this question, give an example of a mistake with an appropriate level of detail. Provide details about the task that had to be done, the mistake that was made, and how it was rectified. Once you have elaborated on your answer, explain why it was important for you to learn from your mistake and emphasize how it has allowed you to become more aware of potential pitfalls in similar situations. Below are more tips about how to approach this question.

tell me about a time you made a mistake

Why the Airline Company Recruiter is Asking You About Your Mistakes

The airline company recruiter is not only assessing your communication skills, but also your ability to accept accountability, learn from your mistakes, and grow. By asking this question, the interviewer wants to know how you handle adversity and how you bounce back. It is important to show the recruiter that you are honest, trustworthy, and confident in your abilities. Honesty is one of the must-have qualities of a cabin crew (or any employee for that matter).

After all, a cabin crew job requires you to remain calm and composed during stressful situations and think on your feet. Mistakes will definitely occur during a flight but how you handle them is key. Admitting your errors is a strength. Besides, nobody wants to fly with someone who is not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes and learn from them.

Other Variations to the Question

But before we delve into the step-by-step procedure, let’s explore other variations of this question. Other variations may include:

  • Tell me about a time you failed at something and how you handled it.
  • What is a mistake you’ve made in the past, and how did you learn from it?
  • Tell me about your biggest failure and how you recovered from it.
  • Describe a mistake you made and how you handled it.
  • Tell me about an incident in which you encountered a problem or failed to meet expectations.
  • Tell me about a time when things didn’t turn out as planned because of your actions.

Step-by-Step Procedure to Answer This Question

Here are the steps you should follow when answering this question during your flight attendant application interview:

  1. Recognize the Situation: Jot down a scenario where you struggled, made a mistake, or failed. Don’t overthink it, and be honest about the scenario.
  2. Highlight the Problem: Share what went wrong and why. Be accountable and avoid blaming anyone else.
  3. Explain Your Actions: Describe what you did to remedy the situation. Be clear and confident about the steps you took.
  4. Show the Result: Share the outcome of the scenario, preferably with a positive spin. Highlight the lessons you learned and how you grew from the mistake.

Also Read: How to Answer: How Long Do You Plan to Stay with our Airline?

Sample Answers to “How Did You Handle a Mistake You Made?”

When answering this question, keep your answer clear, concise, and honest. Here are a few sample answers that you can use as a guide:

  • “When I was in college, I left an exam paper blank due to lack of preparation. After the exam, I realized my mistake and decided to take ownership of it. I approached my professor and explained what happened with complete honesty. He was understanding and asked me to retake the exam. I made sure to be more prepared this time, and I ended up scoring an A.”
  • “I was part of a team tasked with completing a project within a tight deadline. Due to my lack of communication, my teammates were not aware of the changes we needed to make in order to reach the deadline. I realized my mistake, acknowledged it, and took full responsibility for it. I apologized to them and asked them to trust me again. We ended up completing the project on time, with no hiccups.”
  • “A few years ago, I was leading a customer service team in a retail store. One day, I got distracted and accidentally misquoted a customer when giving them a quote on an item they were interested in purchasing. I immediately realized my mistake and apologized to the customer. Afterward, I took the time to review our process for quoting customers and made sure all of my team members understood it well so that the same mistake wouldn’t happen again.”
  • “I once worked as part of a team that had to analyze complex data from different sources. In my haste to get the job done quickly, I overlooked some crucial data points which completely skewed our results. As soon as I realized my mistake, I went back to double-check everything and found the missing data. We then reevaluated our results and presented them correctly.”
  • “Recently, I was doing research for an important report when I incorrectly cited one of the sources used. As soon as this was pointed out to me, I apologized for my error and checked through all of my sources carefully before submitting the report. Additionally, I took extra care in making sure that all future reports were properly cited.”
  • “When I worked in a restaurant, I once accidentally gave a customer the wrong drink order. Immediately, I apologized for my error and took responsibility for it. I then asked if they would like the correct drink or if they wanted a refund instead. They decided to take the correct drink and were happy with it.”

As you can see from these examples, mistakes are inevitable in life, but how you handle them is what counts. Showing genuine remorse and taking steps to remedy the situation will demonstrate your commitment to learning from mistakes. This is something that any employer will appreciate!

Also Read: How to Answer: Tell Me About a Time You Misjudged Someone

STAR Method

As this is a behavioral question, you should consider using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method in your response. This is a great way to structure your answer and ensure that it’s clear, detailed, and easy to follow. Here are the components of the STAR abbreviation explained:

  • Situation: Start by providing some background information and context to the mistake you made. Set the stage by describing the situation and the task you were working on.
  • Task: Explain what you were trying to accomplish and what your goal was in that particular task.
  • Action: Describe what actions you took to resolve the mistake. What did you do, how did you do it, and why did you take those specific actions?
  • Result: Finally, explain what the outcome was and what you learned from the experience. Be sure to highlight how your actions resulted in a positive outcome, and what you would do differently in the future.

By using the STAR method, you can give a clear and structured answer that effectively demonstrates your ability to handle mistakes, learn from them, and improve your approach to similar situations in the future.

Tips on How to Answer the Question

  • Be honest and transparent about the mistake, without blaming anyone else.
  • Share the lessons learned and actions you would take to avoid the mistake in the future.
  • Highlight how you and the affected parties benefited from your solution.
  • Show your accountability and willingness to learn from your mistakes.
  • Share how the incident helped you improve your approach to similar situations.

Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Answer

To ensure that you have a detailed and thoughtful answer, ask yourself these questions before the interview:

  • What mistake did I make, why did it happen, and how did I discover that it was a mistake?
  • How did I respond to the issue? Did I take immediate action or did I delay?
  • What was the outcome of the situation, and what did I learn from it?
  • What could I have done differently, and how would that have impacted the scenario?
  • How have I applied what I learned from the mistake in my professional life?

Examples of Bad Answers

It’s also essential to know what not to say during the interview. Avoid the following types of answers when asked about a mistake:

  • I never had any major mistakes I can share in my work.
  • I always keep my work perfect, so I haven’t had any mistakes.
  • I try not to make mistakes, so I’m not sure what answer to give you.
  • I don’t remember making any major mistakes.
  • The mistake I made was not my fault, it was due to circumstances beyond my control.

The above samples are not ideal as they don’t show accountability or a willingness to learn from mistakes. The recruiter wants to know how well you handle setbacks and what growth opportunities you can offer the company. To stand out from other candidates, be confident in your ability to take ownership of any situation and use it as an opportunity for personal development.

Other Tips for the Interview

Before the interview, remember to:

  • Anticipate the question and prepare your answer.
  • Practice your answer, so that it flows naturally and without hesitation.
  • Dress professionally and arrive early to the interview.
  • Build a good rapport with the recruiter, and make eye contact during the interview.
  • Be yourself and communicate confidently.

Video: Share a Story of the Time You Made an Error at Work

CareerVidz on YouTube shares another helpful video outlining tips on how to answer this question.

The video discusses some basic samples that are wrong and also features an example of how to answer the question correctly. It mentions that it is important to talk about the mistake you made, then explain what steps you took to correct it and share the results of your actions. The video also emphasizes the importance of showing a positive attitude during the interview, which can go a long way toward impressing recruiters.


No matter what mistake you choose to share in your interview, make sure that it is relevant to the job at hand and showcases your ability to rectify the situation and learn from it.

Remember that everyone makes mistakes and it is not a weakness to admit having made some. A well-crafted response to the interviewer’s question can demonstrate your accountability, honesty, learning ability, and how you take steps to ensure that similar issues do not occur in the future.