What are your greatest regrets about the path your career has taken?

  | James Innes

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.

Your answer:

"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'.

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