What Is Your Greatest Failure, And What Did You Learn From It?

It can be difficult to answer a question about your failures. There are a lot of traps that you have to avoid. It helps to know what the hiring manager is really asking. They want to know how you handled yourself in that failure, and what you see as a failure. They also want to see how you react to getting asked about it. Did you really learn anything, or are you defensive and deny it The way you answer this question will show them how you react in the face of bad news. It can also show them your level of confidence, y our ability to learn from mistakes and your desire to better yourself.

Points to Emphasize

When you answer this question you want to make sure to emphasize traits and experiences that will make you look like a good candidate.

  • Call attention to what you learned as the most important part of the story.

  • Focus on what you have done to ensure that the same thing doesn’t happen again.

  • Try to give examples that will not detract from skills needed for the position you are applying for.

  • Even though it may be difficult, try to keep the answer as positive as possible.

    Everyone has moments of failure. The interviewer is trying to see how you reacted to that failure.

    Mistakes You Should Avoid

    There are many pitfalls to watch out for. Try not to point out the following traits and experiences.

    • Do not get defensive.
    • Beware of being too vague.
    • Don’t focus too much on the failure.
    • Try not to sound like you lack confidence.

    When you answer questions about your failures, it is easy to get sucked back to a time when you were not in a great place. Remember that the interviewer is trying to test your confidence and you learn from difficult situations.

    Sample Answer

    Here is what a great answer might look like:

    When I was first starting out in the industry, I failed at communicating with a vendor. This led to a loss of revenue for the department. When I realized what I had done, or rather what I had failed to do, I immediately took responsibility for my inactions. I went to the vendor and talked with them. It took a while, but I finally got it all back on track. Since then, I have made sure to attend seminars and workshops to help me avoid the same type of failures.

    Emphasize what you have done to grow, and keep your answer positive.

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