- “I know you’re driven to succeed, but let’s talk about failure for a minute. Can you tell me about a time when you gave your best efforts but still failed?”
- “We’ve all failed at one point or another…Can you tell me about the biggest failure you’ve ever encountered in the workplace?”
- “Have you ever wanted to succeed very badly at something, but things just didn’t go your way? Tell me about that.”
Why ask this question?A job interview may seem like an awkward place to tell the story of your biggest career screw-up, but there are plenty of reasons why employers like to ask this question. First, they’d like to know what you envision when you hear the word “failure”. If you seem afraid of the word, and it generates shame, fear, or an urge to protect your brittle ego, employers want to know this. They also want evidence of the opposite: If you see failure as a challenge, an essential aspect of working life, and an opportunity for growth, this will usually come as welcome news.In either case, this question is a character-revealer and a mechanism that can give the employer insight into how you behave. Your reaction to this question can speak volumes about your life experience, your willingness to take risks, your ability to take ownership for your mistakes and your interest in learning and trying new things. Keep these tips in mind before you answer.
- Don’t dodge the issue.
- Choose the right story.
- Watch the responsibility ball.
- Make your answer shine with the STAR method.