Interesting Interview Question: If You Could Start Over, What Would You Do Differently?
Interviewers often ask questions designed to gauge how you view your own life and accomplishments. The theory is that the way you think about yourself is very telling over the type of personality you will be in the office. In addition, questions about weaknesses or mistakes can potentially reveal some juicy responses if the candidate is not prepared to answer them.
How to Answer
If you are asked what you would do differently in your past, you have a few choices:
- Say that you would not change anything, because your experiences have helped you grow.
- Discuss something you would change about your educational background, not your work history.
- If you switched fields, mention that you wish you switched earlier.
Not a lot of options, but the question doesn’t necessarily expect some mind blowing response. Give the interviewer an easy answer, and don’t give them anything they can use against you.
“I would not have worked at my last job. They did not treat me as I expected to be treated. They were verbally abusive and wouldn’t let me go to the bathroom during meetings, leading to a few terrible accidents.”
“If I could change one thing, I probably would have added a language to my college focus. Learning Mandarin would have helped me contribute even more to my previous companies, because I could have acted as a sales liaison to non-native English speakers in addition to my daily tasks.”
This reflects really well on you. Even if the question is about what you would change professionally, you can focus on how learning a language would have helped your professional career.
Take Away Interview Tip
- Focus on your education, switching fields, or that you wouldn’t change anything and why.