Failure is a part of life. It's how we experience new things.
One of the most important aspects of failure is what you learned from the situation. So don't worry about talking about your failures: EMBRACE them!
I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying.
- Michael Jordan
Why Ask This Question?
The interviewer is trying to understand:
What you consider to be a failure.
How you dealt with your failure.
What you learned from it.
What you'll do in the future.
Steps On How To Prepare Your Answer
Step 1: Choose a specific failure
Don't choose an example where you failed miserably, but also don't say you've never made a mistake. Pick something that didn't go as planned.
Step 2: Share your failure as a story
Explain what happened, how it happened, how you dealt with the setback, and what you learned from it.
Do's And Don'ts
✔️ Choose a relevant failure. Choose a professional failure, not a personal one.
✔️ Take ownership. Don't blame the failure on others!
✔️ Explain the lesson learned. This will help balance the "negativity" related to the failure.
✔️ Implement the lesson learned. Talk about a success story when you followed through on what you learned.
✖️ Not choosing a real failure. Avoid a "humblebrag" that wasn't a true failure.
✖️ Be truthful but don't overdo it. Don't go into great detail about what went wrong and how damaging it was.
✖️ Don't get defensive. Stay calm, cool, and collected — nobody's perfect!
✖️ Don't lack confidence. Avoid feeling like you did when you made the failure in the first place.
"Early in my career as a research assistant, I was responsible for inputting data. Once, when looking at the results, I noticed something strange, so I checked the data and realized I'd made an error that impacted my coworker's results.
I immediately took ownership of the mistake, fixed the error, informed my coworker of the mistake, and apologized. They understood and were thankful that I caught the mistake.
This experience taught me to always take the time to check my work and showed me the impact my work can have on others."
"A few years ago, I hired a junior-level person to join our marketing team. This person had relevant past experience and seemed eager to learn. Although I had concerns about their social media presence, I hired them anyway.
Ultimately, their social media presence was an indicator of their poor attitude and behavior, which impacted the entire team.
Eventually, I had to fire this individual. This experience taught me to take time when making decisions and get feedback if I have concerns."
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