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Should I talk about my failures when being interviewed for a job?

I read an article about how a recruiter who interviews students got an answer of "I expect failure" from one of the students. Then they went and wrote an article on how this answer was amazing. Should I do the same and state some failures like struggles in class or should I keep that to myself. #science #technology #mathematics #interviews #interview-questions #failure #job-application

Thank you comment icon I would suggest explaining how you turned a failure into something productive or something you learned. George Zastrow

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Daniel’s Answer

Questions speaking to your failures, weaknesses or difficult issues you had to handle are common in interview scenarios. It is important to give an answer covers the following key points:

  • Shows your humility by taking ownership of the failure.
  • Talks to what you did to fix the situation at the time.
  • Speaks to what you learned to help avoid the issue happening again in the future.

I would avoid trying to use tactics to avoid giving a real answer, like the classical 'weakness is a strength' approach. The interviewer doesn't want to know how tricky you are. They want to know that you know how to handle failure and grow as a person.

I recommend you do some google searches and make a list of common questions which speak to these difficult times. Then, try to identify at least 5 times in your past where a situation occurred so that you can use to speak to the question. Try not to over-prepare for the specific interview questions. Your answer will feel more genuine if you can fit one of your chosen stories to whichever question comes up in the interview. Just keep the 3 points above in mind when picking which story will best fit the question you have been asked.

Daniel recommends the following next steps:

Make a list of common interview questions which speak to failure.
Try to ensure that at least 1 of your 5 stories can fit any given question.
Thank you comment icon Thanks for the advice. Brycen
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Chris’s Answer

I wouldn't volunteer the information, but I have had 3 Interviews where the question came up: "What was a difficult situation that you had to deal with, and how did you go about solving it". There will always be challenges which you will have to overcome, and the ability to deal with them calmly and effectively is a rare skill which companies find invaluable. However, opening any conversation with 'I expect to fail' could go just as much against you as in your favor. Be prepared to talk about your problem solving methodology, your reactions to stressful situations, and your any strengths that you may have in working with others. These are universal concerns for all employees. It is true that failure is inevitable, but the lessons learned from hardship are the ones that stick with you.

Thank you comment icon Thank you, Chris! Brycen
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John’s Answer

You don't have any "failures" You have learning opportunities. You learn something from every "failure". The most important thing is what you learned and what you will do differently the next time.
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Juan’s Answer

It is ok to talk failures during interviews with the objective to speak to learning experiences gained from those failures. The most successful people fail over and over again in their journey but all learn from those experiences.

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Stephanie’s Answer

yes, by all means talk about a recent failure. A failure that you had in the third grade is not relevant. However, the main thing the interviewer wants to see is what you learned from that failure. There is saying that failure is a wonderful teacher so show the interviewer that you are not the person that keeps making the same mistakes over and over and are able to reflect in a thoughtful way about what you learned and what you will do differently. Or even more importantly, how you can apply that learning to a larger situation.
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Kaitlyn’s Answer

Yes, you absolutely should.

Try to reframe your thinking. Instead of referring to your missteps as failures, think of them as opportunities. An interviewer is asking you about a time where you felt like you failed because they want to see how you learned from that opportunity and what actions you took to improve and move forward.

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Stephen’s Answer

With more companies using the behavioral style interview format, questions around failure often come up. The interviewer is looking for a time when you failed or faced adversity, and how you were able to learn from those mistakes and apply them later on.

You will need to have a measurable result from the failure, so try to have two scenarios ready for this question - the failure, and then the example were you used what you learned from that failure to succeed later on.

These types of questions also show your critical-thinking and problem-solving abilities. We have all failed at something, so not being able to provide an example of failure would come across as dishonest or disingenuous.

I would not recommend proactively bringing up failure.
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Chirayu’s Answer

It can be a good idea to address your failures during a job interview, as it shows that you are self-aware, have learned from your mistakes, and are able to take responsibility for them. Additionally, discussing your failures can help to demonstrate that you have the ability to problem-solve and find solutions, which can be valuable skills for a potential employer. However, it's important to frame your failures in a way that highlights the lessons you learned and the positive outcome. It's also important to be honest but not overly negative, and to keep the conversation focused on how you have grown and improved as a result of these experiences.
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Manny’s Answer

Yes I would but more importantly what did you do? and what did you learn from it?

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Greg’s Answer

I think it's perfectly ok to discuss failures. While you want to make sure you balance this with success and accomplishments - it's great to demonstrate when you may have taken a risk and most importantly what you learned from it.

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Ravi’s Answer

Absolutely, Please remember all successful leaders had numerous failures. It is very important you list the learning you had from your failures.

Ravi recommends the following next steps:

Keep a list of your failure, learning from and how you overcome.
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Stacy’s Answer

It is a subject/question that you will typically hear in an interview in various forms! It is not about the failure but what you learned from the failure and how will it help you with future situations! We all make mistakes, fail and stumble and those setbacks make us who we are, show our true strength and character and help us prepare for the next step/journey!

Never be afraid to fail and never forget failure is a part of growth!
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Erik’s Answer

I would not reveal your "failures" for the sake of revealing it. Common questions during an interview may lead you to believe you have to talk about failing but the intent of the question is to see what you actions you took and the result. In other words, you want to show that you made significant strides in your development. That's what an interviewer wants to see.
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Roopa’s Answer

I would suggest focus instead on building a success story after a setback, on the lesson learned and how you bounced back

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Katherine’s Answer

Most employers want to know about a situation that was difficult and that you had to course correct. It's all about how you frame things and if you frame them in a way that shows that you learned - that's a positive. It means that you're flexible and adaptable and can have perspective which shows your able to grow in any situation.
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madhulika’s Answer

Failure that resulted in a huge loss should be avoided. Instead, talk about a lesson you learned, which is relevant from an interview perspective. Also, try to sound modest and acknowledge your shortcomings. Talk about your failure in life and how you overcame the same
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