If you could relive the last 10 years of your life, what would you do differently?
When asking what you would do if you could relive your life, the interviewer is looking for a flaw in your interview. Always remember, the goal for the first few interviews is to get the next interview. For the interviewer, it is to weed out as many applicants as possible. Here’s where a personal answer could work.
I lost my mother to Alzheimer’s. I wish I’d known more about the disease to help me through that difficult time.
We all have regrets, and there could countless points in your life over the last 10 years which you would change. However, an interview is not the place to disclose them. This question has the potential to damage the chances of a job offer so it should be given some careful consideration and preparation.
For example, consider the following answer, "The main thing I would change in the last 10 years is a missed opportunity to take a promotion in my last job. I didn’t feel ready for the extra responsibility at the time and felt that the right thing to do was to reject it. However, I almost instantly regretted the decision as I now believe I would have excelled in the position and if I had the chance, I would go back and accept that proposal."
Although it may seem that this answer shows a determination to progress in your career, it could be seen negatively by the interviewer. It could be seen to indicate that you are not happy at this level and could perhaps even begrudge the fact that you were not offered the promotion again. As this shows the potential to manifest itself as a problem to your potential employer, it is likely that this answer would score some heavy points against your overall interview.
You could take the method of trying to be neutral. Saying nothing is as bad as saying the wrong thing, therefore you should try to structure your answer in a way that keeps you on the fence. Make your response unrelated to your job and include no scenario that involved key personality traits or characteristics.
Another method could be to try and use an example in which you learned an important lesson. This should be relevant to the job and is in my opinion, by far the best option.
"About 6 years ago I was in a junior position and trying to impress my superiors. I was given a project to complete and I cut some corners in order to beat the deadline by a comfortable margin. This resulted in sub-standard work due to my eagerness. Fortunately it taught me a valuable lesson, however, if I could I would change that decision to save myself the embarrassment every time I am reminded of it."
photo by: polldark