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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


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.
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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.

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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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Victoria’s Answer

Hi!
This is a great question, especially because we're often told to talk ourselves up in interviews. How can we talk ourselves up and at the same time be transparent about our failures, right? Once you understand why interviewers ask that question you understand how failures and your reactions to failures are a great way to put yourself at the front of the pack. Here are two reasons they might ask and how you can answer...

1) Interviewers ask about failure because they want to understand how you handle failures. Of course, we all would hope that we never fail, but the truth is that inevitably, we will. So what happens when you do? Do you cry or blame others and go into a hole? OR do you "fail fast", learn from it and look for a way to turn that failure into a success? Its those who can do the second- fail fast and turn failure into success, who will lead the pack. We all fail. Employers want someone who can do it the right way. Show them that's you. Give examples when you can.

2) Interviewers ask about failures because they want to understand how you view risks and failures. Failure and risk inevitable go hand and hand. The more risk you take on the more likely it is you'll fail. Employees need people who are more or less open to risk based on the role. For example Innovation and Sales teams need to be very open to risk, while finance and Accounting are more risk-averse. Different companies may also have a culture that is more open to risk and don't always see failure as a bad thing. Be sure to research the company culture and the role you're applying for. Know how comfortable they are with risks and failures.

Hope this helps! Good luck!
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Aman’s Answer

You should only talk about how you overcame your weakness and learning from difficult situations, you should always present yourself in a positive manner to the interviewer.

Its always good to talk about your past experiences and how it helped you to become a better person technically, the extra effort you put in, new skills that you developed.

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John’s Answer

Failure can be viewed differently by different people. Mostly it is viewed negatively. My suggestion is to always put a 'positive' spin on everything; the risk you took, the challenges you overcame, the learning you gained from a situation that may not have gone your way, the time you went outside of your comfort zone, how you turned a bad situation into a good one, how your attitude and energy got you out of a bad situation, etc. Interviewers want to hear how you were able to stay focused, positive and decisive in tough situations. They/we all know that critical thinking, positive attitude and ability to overcome adversity and challenge is a far greater skill set for many jobs.
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David’s Answer

I think it's okay to talk about your failures as long as you can discuss what you learned from them and how that made you a better person and potential employee. After all, all humans fail sometimes. That's what can make us better if we are wise enough to learn the lessons from failure and brush aside the negative emotions that may be associated with failure. In fact I think that demonstrates that you are an honest person and smart enough to learn from setbacks which most people have. That also gives you the opportunity to talk about your life experiences and potential strengths that you have developed from these experiences.

David recommends the following next steps:

Be prepared to talk about your failures as long as you learned something valuable from them that made you a better person or potential employee.
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Gopinath’s Answer

Yes, there will be instances an interviewer would ask around your weaknesses or setbacks.
Their intent is to understand and capture as to how you operated in such a drastic situation.
During an interview process, answers in the angles of STAR - Situation, Task, Action and Result approach would help to address any behavioural questions.

In my viewpoint, what there is a setback, I recommend not to look down on you in the first place (& do not shy away!)
It is crucial that you pick yourself up and stand upright with adrenaline pumped to see through the lenses of what happened, what did you do that didn't work, what you could have done differently and finally, take the lessons and take charge to bounce or make leaps forward!
This will exactly lead to your reflections and act as your answers for those questions.

Remember, the way you behave, think and feel is natural and so how you represent yourself in an interview is not just to get your foot at the door but also will draw the road for your journey with the company.

All the best!
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Rose’s Answer

Yes, it is very important to be aware of at least one failure going into your interview, but make sure you talk about how you learned from that failure. It is very common to interviewers to ask you about a time you failed, so be ready for that question. One format that really helped me to shape my answer to this question was by using the STAR method to tell your story. The format is as follows:
1) Situation: Take about the background of the situation you are in.
2) Task: Explain the specifics about what you were supposed to be doing the time that you failed.
3) Action: Talk about your specific failure.
4)Resolution: Finish the story with a reflection on what went wrong AND how you showed measurable improvement in the future.

A brief example:
1) Situation- Freshman year I decided to sign up for a class on geology.
2) Task- For the final project, we were assigned a paper where we had to research a specific rock and discuss special properties about its material components.
3) Action- I ended up spending way too much time studying for all of my other finals and left the paper until the very last night to finish. I pulled an all nighter and was able to get it done, but when the grade came back it was much lower than I had hoped. It ended up significantly lowering my overall grade in the class.
4) Resolution- Looking at my final grades for the semester I was very disappointed in myself and knew I could have done better if only I had budgeted my time properly. The next semester I had another final paper to write for my history class. This time I started the paper long before finals week. Being proactive on the paper gave me time to put more effort into it. I was able to achieve an A in my history class and learned my lesson on time management during finals week.

Important notes: Really take the time to finish the story with a great resolution. The interviewers really want to see that you have learned from this mistake and made changes in the future. Also, think out of the box for your failure examples. A failure could be as simple as a time you did poorly on one test or as complicated as an entire presentation backfiring. There are no limits and you get to decide what your standards are for a failure. Finally, take the time to practice this STAR method and come up with a couple failure examples before your interview.

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Emily’s Answer

"Ever tried. Ever Failed. No Matter. Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better." - Samuel Beckett
Failure is scary - the idea of it, even just the word. But if we can change our perspective and embrace failure
as an opportunity to learn or to change, we'll be able to get out of our comfort zones and encourage growth.
Calculating risk is normal - should I or shouldn't I, what are the benefits v. costs, do I really have what it takes,
what will happen if I fail - or what will happen if I succeed? Taking on a challenge takes courage and commitment.
Sure, you may fail, but you'll be better equipped to take on the next challenge that comes your way. Be resilient.
Admitting failures requires a sense of humility and strength. When someone asks you to share a story about
one of your failures, they really want to know if you are bold enough to take risks, humble enough to admit your downfalls,
and strong enough to bounce back. That way, next time, you'll be able to fail better - and keep learning from mistakes,
pushing boundaries, and pressing forward.
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Sam’s Answer

You should spin your "failures" into opportunities to overcome. If you experienced a "failure," share what you learned from it and how you overcame it. If it was a failure that you could not overcome, share what the gap was that you were not able to bypass it. If you cannot elaborate, then do not include it. The key is demonstrating shared learnings and problem solving.

https://www.workitdaily.com/job-interview-talk-about-failure

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Samantha’s Answer

Failure = Success... at lease that is my motto.

When interviewing you are going to be asked about previous work. The biggest thing I look for when conducting interviews is for the candidate to self reflect on previous jobs and opportunities from this position. If someone embraces their opportunities they are going to look for ways to improve and due to this become more successful. Whether you improve from feedback given or seek out help from a peer in regards to the failure you have gained more knowledge as an employee.
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Eric’s Answer

I find that when doing interviews it is important to explore the applicants failures. In fact, what is most important is what did you learn from the experience and how did you handle the failure. There is usually a question that is asked that explores failures so it is expectable to share.
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Melissa’s Answer

Yes! Never fear failure because it's how we learn and grow. Often that's actually an interview question, " Tell me about a time when a project didn't go as planned. " Well in that question, you have to admit some form of failure or miss but its important to then pivot and showcase what you learned from the situation, how it made you stronger and what would you do different if you had another chance to do it all over again. Also, if you did have a chance, maybe explain " and when I completely this project again i did xyz differently."
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Katya’s Answer

Hi Deanicia, I think it all depends on how do you think about your failures. I believe that failures are the way we learn and change. Therefore, using the word failure is not necessarily;however, interpreting as challenging situation you have faced in the past-I believe is a great way to share how you were able to manage a difficult situation, use your skills and knowledge, and resources, and still deliver on results to a certain extent.

When you are being asked if you ever failed - I believe in honesty because the truth is- we all failed at some point but sharing what you have learned from the situation is a way to show your attitude towards different tasks and how you adapted to a situation.

In my life experience- I never really had anyone asking me this questions-the focus of most interviews is to bring the best of you and allow you to share your success rate and not to see the other way around. You could be asked about your strengths and your weaknesses -this is another way for you to highlight you best competency and discuss challenging behaviors.

Show that you learned from the experience- be honest and don’t try to make excuses .
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Matt’s Answer

If you bring it up, make sure you understand the situation you were in and why you failed. Also understand that you knew what it would take to improve the next time the scenario came up. Be able to specifically discuss the action you would take and what the results would be from the change. Its more important to admit failing than to lie.
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Gaurav’s Answer

Definitely!! The Idea behind an interviewer asking this question is to know how you handle difficult situations. Every one makes mistake and faces failure in life. It's completely fine to discuss this.

Your approach in answering this should be mainly focused on how you overcame that failure/challenge and what did you learn from it. This should be projected in a positive way adding to your strong personality.

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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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Taylor’s Answer

I would definitely be open about the leanings you have had in your life. If the interviewer asks the question with the word "Failures" you can always re-word the question to "One huge learning opportunity that I had in my life was when ..." Rewording to have a positive spin shows that you did not reach a goal in a situation, but learned from that experience and developed yourself to respond better the next time.

I have found that interviews are a chance to show that you have learned from mistakes, and be honest about them - because everyone makes mistakes! The important part to highlight in your interview answer (and spend the most time on) is how you grew from that situation and what you would do differently the next time to have a better outcome.
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Mark’s Answer

I highly recommend being open to discussing any failures that you might have experienced as long as you are able to explain what you learned from the failure and more importantly, how it made you stronger as a person. We all experience failure and so it is something that should be discussed but in a positive and supportive fashion. In fact, it is a question that I ask most people that I interview, "please tell me about something that you failed at, what you learned, and how did you overcome the failure"? Life is not about your failures, it is about learning and becoming stronger as a result of those failures. There are many professional and famous quotes surrounding this logic as well.

I also recommend being open to sharing failure with others as a way of teaching and developing them to be better. People can learn a lot by learning from the failure of others. Being open and honest about our vulnerabilities including failure is very important to our ability to move forward together. Embrace it, be confident and be bold about what you learned and took away from the experience overall.
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Alan’s Answer

If you can talk about what you learned from a failure, yes. Many people would appreciate this but maybe not all, so I'm not sure if it should be volunteered information or not. I guess it would depend on the interviewer and type of place or company culture.


Trying and failing is one way to learn new things including when in a job and in building a career. Some interviewers and recruiters are going to prefer one who tries new things and learns from the failures.

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Sesame’s Answer

I think the most important information the interviewer would like to get from you is, when you are facing challenge or failures, what you've done to conquer the difficulty, or what you've learned from the failures. Everyone will fail for sure in certain area or during certain time of period, and it's not possible for a person to always succeed. The critical part is that, after failure, you can still stand up and try again with the experience/lessons you've learned from the failure itself. Not be afraid of failure, and you still have the passion to achieve something, that means you are not easy to be defeated, and it is a precious quality of the interviewee.
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Christopher’s Answer

In most interviews you will be asked about a time or situation when you failed at something. The goal is to be able to show how you responded. Did you learn? Did you change? Did a positive came from it? How did that prepare you for future failures? So it's always good to have a professional, personal, and academic example of this. If you do this you will be able to answer a wide range of interview questions in detail and with confidence. Remember to always be focusing on positives when answering questions.

Christopher recommends the following next steps:

Mock interviews is the best exercise
Get a list of hypothetical interview questions that you can practice answering
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Rajesh’s Answer

Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: Don't just end there. Explain (in a concise way) the experience where you failed in the SAR format. SAR stands for Situation, Action, Result. Another variation is called PAR (Problem, Action, Result). The central idea is that for any experience or story that you share in an interview, start with the problem statement or the situation that you found yourself into. This part gives a little background and the issue that you faced. The next part is about how you analyzed the problem and came up with a solution along with any interesting tidbit from the execution of your plan. Finally, you state the outcome of your actions. Now its possible that the result didn't really solve the issue that you faced so it could be considered as a failure but be crisp and don't try to blame others or give excuses. Own it if it was indeed your mistake and always share what you learnt so that it does not happen again. Interviewers are not looking for a perfect person. They want a genuine candidate who can own up to their mistakes and learn from it to avoid something like that in the future. This shows that you are coachable and willing to learn.
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Cathy’s Answer

In an interview, don't use the word 'failure', call them 'opportunities'. In most interviews that I conduct, I'll ask for the candidate to tell me about a time where your plan of XYZ didn't get executed on correctly, what did you do to correct it? I'm not so worried about something not working - nothing works ALL the time, I'm more interested in how you overcome challenges, your creativity and how you may influence others. Focus on the things you've done successfully and be able to turn your opportunities around to a positive note.
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Scott’s Answer

Hello,


There is nothing wrong with using failure as an interview example or talk track during an interview. The trick is what the end result is from the failure that you have encountered.


If you are taking what you have failed at, and showed how you have grown from it and have overcome the initial failure then it shows how you have grown as either an individual or a leader. I would not recommend just talking about a failure you have encountered and not adding anything to it.


Best regards.

Scott

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Ateeb’s Answer

First of all I would rephrase "failures" as learning opportunities. Everyone makes mistakes no is perfect, but being able to reflect and learn from these mistakes is what will stand you out from other candidates. With that said unless prompted in an interview I wouldn't willfully disclose any "failures".
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Sherry-Ann’s Answer

This is one of my favorite questions to ask during an interview. How a candidate responds allows me to see how/if they will take ownership when a project goes sideways. Will they blame others or own-up to their actions. The best way to look at this is everyone has a project that goes sideways, gets behind schedule, or doesn't meet the intended goal - it's how the individual addresses and learns from it. When asked this, be sure to own up to the miss and focus on how/what you did to bring it back around and how you kept others aware of impact it might have on them or their dependencies.
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Matt’s Answer

If you bring it up, make sure you understand the situation you were in and why you failed. Also understand that you knew what it would take to improve the next time the scenario came up. Be able to specifically discuss the action you would take and what the results would be from the change. Its more important to admit failing than to lie.
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Jimmy’s Answer

"I expect failure" seemed to resonate for that one recruiter, but I don't think it would work as well for most unless it's for engineers working in an AGILE development cycle. There's been a trend in the last few years towards "fail fast" and other failure-speak, but what they're really talking about is agility in quickly evaluating situations, learning from them, and adjusting as needed. I think framing your experiences in a positive way (rather than saying "failure") that captures your ability to evaluate and adjust would be more successful with a recruiter. Also, interviews are really more like a game where you're expected to present the best of yourself rather than a conversation focused on actual authenticity. I don't mean don't be truthful, just don't volunteer your challenges. Interviewers will almost always ask about those things. When asked about challenges or failures, which we all have, answer with a real-life example that shows how you recognized, adjusted, acted, and learned, and the resulting positive impact of your actions.
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Daniel’s Answer

The ability to relate between different people from different backgrounds is one of the strongest traits in building a connection, and one of the things that makes anyone great at what they do is by learning from the many mistakes they have faced.

By talking about failures, you show humility in being able to accept mistakes and take accountability, but what will allow you to shine is how you overcome, learn and show tenacity. From experience of conducting interviews, the discussion on this topic and how others find resolve during failures reveals most about one's character. In my opinion, gauging character is the unwritten intuition on selecting successful candidates especially when the candidate pool all look the same "on paper".

Having said that, I wouldn't frame your interview around failures all the time, but there is a balance to prove that you're not perfect either. If needing to talk about failures and challenges faced, I would also ensure it's "relevant" to the position/question. Some positions are looking for your ability to be process driven/accurate in what you do, while others are seeking curious/thought-leaders who challenge the status quo. It's the latter where experimenting with ideas, possibly failing, then repivoting will be a very strong trait.
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Jennifer’s Answer

in Hindsight, failures are where you learn the most and grow. For example. Thomson Edison failed hundreds of times before he got mastered the light filament in the light bulb. It is just like perfecting a recipe . Your love of anything will push you towards mastering that skill or talent.

Making a negative into a positive is another way to look at challenges in life. I hated speaking in public. as i would get nervous and forget lines or entire parts of my speech. I messed up so badly one time that i started to laugh at myself and just closed my eyes and did my lines perfectly. I found my friends were cheering for me and clapped when i stopped being so afraid. I continued to practice future speeches in the dark and become more comfortable speaking in public gradually. My teacher suggested i try being a MC for my cousin's wedding. Although i was scared at first, it was actually fun to just speak freestyle and be natural especially since it was in front of my friends and family.

After putting in the effort and not giving up, I am no longer scared of large crowds or speaking in front of strangers, I actually find that i enjoy making new friends when I am asked to be a speaker.
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Aneree’s Answer

That is a great question. I believe that recognizing your failures is a good thing! What companies are looking for in terms of a candidate is someone that is able to recognize there weakness and the steps that are taken to grow and develop from those weaknesses. At the end of the day everyone has there failures but what is important is how you handle and grow from them. I remember being asked a similar question during multiple interviews where they asked about my strengths and weaknesses. The best way to answer this question is to list your weaknesses, how you have tackled them and relate them back to your strengths.
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Zhijian’s Answer

I was asked to talk about failures in almost every past interview. Of course, there were follow-up questions. Why did it fail? What did you learn from the failure? What would you do differently if the situation came again?

You should really think deep how to answer those follow-up questions.
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Angie’s Answer

In most interviews I have been a part of there is some sort of question about a time that "things didn't go as planned" or a deadline was missed or some other "failure" that you may have experienced. When using any example think about what you learned from the experience and how you apply that to what you do going forward. Everyone knows that no one is perfect. If you are honest with what struggles you have gone through and focus how you learn from your mistakes and take action to ensure it doesn't happen in the future, a hiring manager will know that you can learn and not repeat the same mistakes multiple times.

Angie recommends the following next steps:

Think of situations that did not go as planned and what you learned from it to avoid the same mistake happening again.
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Akshita’s Answer

It's okay to talk about your failures in an interview. The best way to answer the question about a failure/ weakness is by admitting it and then talking about the steps you are taking to overcome those failures/ weaknesses. You can use a STAR : Situation, Task Action Result, to describe ypur answer in detail.
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Walt’s Answer

There are a lot of great answers here, so I will only add what I think is net new information... I agree that the key to talking about "failures" in an interview setting is refocusing the discussion on learning opportunities and change in action. I typically take that response one step further and try to use examples where I have already overcome the challenge, learned from it, and demonstrated results.

Whenever possible, I try to describe the results in specifics, or even quantify them. Doing so provides evidence that the "failure" truly was a learning experience and ultimately was something that made you stronger, smarter, and an even better candidate for the job.
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celeste’s Answer

Absolutely! Talking about "failures" can be a very positive thing if you talk about them in the context of it was a learning opportunity and this is how I handled the situation. Because is a failure a negative thing when the outcome is growth and opportunity?
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Tosin’s Answer

While you don't want to oversell your failures, showing a potential employer you have learned something from a past mistake could actually be a good thing. As a matter of fact, I have been on a few interviews where I was directly asked about past mistakes and what I learned from them. Everyone makes mistakes and your interviewer is not ignorant of that. The important thing is what steps you have taken to prevent such mistakes from occurring again and how you have learned from the past experience. I would personally not dwell too much on this particular issue in an interview, but don't be scared to go there, rather be prepared for this question.

All the very best!

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Heather’s Answer

I wouldn't just say.. I can't do this or this was something I failed at. If you are going to use it as a talking point say something like this is how I overcame this obstacle. Showing that you don't accept defeat you rise to the occasion and can overcome.
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Jillian’s Answer

Talking about times where you weren't at your best aren't failures if you learned from them. Take the opportunity to share what you learned and what you would do next time. Sometimes we learn more from failure than success.
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Earl’s Answer

Don't be afraid of this question. It typically is assessing your ability to learn and grow and be self aware. Address the question head on, prepare and list an example or two where you learned from a mistake or failure to achieve your goal. Be sure to share how you owned it, what you did about it and how that shaped you going forward.

Earl recommends the following next steps:

Write down 2-3 examples of where you did not achieve something that could be considered a failure and prepare how you will answer as stated above.
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Dinesh’s Answer

Yes, definitely. You should talk about your failures in the Interview. But not love failure and all.
In the same way, you should take about how you have recovered from the failures to show how mentally strong.
That will definitely inspire the interviewer.
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Shawn’s Answer

YES! Every one fails, it is important to show you can admit when you are wrong and can learn from it. The important part is to pick the times you failed and fixed it and make it your own story. Spin it and work through it.
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Beverly’s Answer

Hello! It is great that you are preparing now for your future interviews. I would not recommend that you volunteer failures. I would encourage you to be prepared to answer to failure if asked. During behavioral interviews you may be asked for a time you failed, something you liked least about the job you left or are something you feel would be an opportunity for you in the job you have applied for. It is best to speak directly about the task or event, and then offer a confident answer that speaks to how you overcame or how you turned it around, what you learned or how you grew from the experience. I recommend you keep an ongoing journal with your successes and failures. Be specific and document real time while it is fresh in your mind. This will be a Resource you can draw from as you prepare for interviews.

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Jo-David’s Answer

After interviewing over 1,000 candidates for various positions over the course of my career, I've always appreciated those that proactively brought up a learning experience/failure that they were able to turn into a successful outcome for the team or organization. If there is a failure, you want it to be recognized as early as possible so the right adjustments can be made which allows for an awesome outcome. So yes, go ahead and share it and how you were able to manage through it to create a win.
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Kei’s Answer

Hi Deanicia.

This is a common question during interviews. I would not volunteer this information unless asked but I would rather call it learning opportunities versus failures.

When presented with this question, my best advice is to focus on the situation, what you did to correct it and what did you learn from it and how would you handle it differently if you encounter it again in the future.

Keep your answer to this question short and sweet.
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Howard’s Answer

Yes!!By all means you should talk about your failures.. Those experiences help build character and show potential employees that you are open to grow and learn. psychology teachers us that without conflict or failure, there is no growth. Please keep in mind that you should be prepared to share what you learned from your failures and what you can do to prevent similar experiences in your personal or professional life in the future.
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Greg’s Answer

Great question to ask. I would recommend avoiding that question unless you are specifically asked this question . Most employers will not ask this question anyway. Sometimes by providing too much unneeded information people sometimes can talk themselves right out of a new job . Always focus on the positive things you've done at your previous job and the good feedback and relationships you've created.


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John’s Answer

Yes, but be sure to include how you got passed the failure. Don't give a list of excuses explaining how it happened. Being able to identify a failure, own it and get passed it is very valuable.
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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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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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Josh’s Answer

Having the confidence to discuss failures in an interview shows strong signs of humility, emotional intelligence and depending on the detail provided how coachable you are. I think the latter point is the most important, its not enough just to discuss your failures. Be sure that when discussing a failure you also describe in detail how you responded to the failure, what you learned from the failure, and any measures you took after to ensure that you would not fail again. As someone already stated, its a learning opportunity versus a failure, but only if you treat it as such and respond accordingly.
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Ivan’s Answer

Focus on how you over come challenges rather that stating failures. It shows that yes, failures/bad things happen. But it is how you get back up that counts. Everyone fails, that is how you learn.

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Angel’s Answer

If you have to talk about your failures always remember to mention how you learned from it. Learning is never looked at as a failure. Also use the sandwich method. Start with something positive then mention your failure and end the answer with something positive/how you learned from it. Make yourself shine even when its dark outside.
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Aaditya’s Answer

My opinion is Yes. Why shy away from one's struggles and failures.! Failures are what define us.
In any industry, you will numerous challenges every morning you come to work. What matters is the resilience and your capacity to address and learn from them.
Your attitude towards failures can become an important barometer in understanding how you approach an unfamiliar situation, something not uncommon in today's job environment.!
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Jatin’s Answer

Yes, there is no harm in talking about failure in your interview. Consider yourself better than those who even didn't attempt it. Failure is a sign that you attempt and first step towards solving a problem is to attempt. You should always present it in positive way, in the sense of your learnings from it. It is great if you have a ready example of any such incident where you failed and used those learning to produce better results. It may be from technical perspective or time management or may be anything else.
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Anthony’s Answer

I have been through interviews and I have also interviewed others for multiple different positions. To me, interviewing is selling yourself to the hiring manager. In sales, you don't want to lead with anything that can be interpreted as negative. I know there can be a tenancy to at times bring up failures in interviews to showcase authenticity, but I would discourage doing this unless its followed up with a fantastic success story. If you are asked directly about something that would bring up the failure, DO NOT lie. Address it.
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Eric’s Answer

I think this is a good question. If I were the hiring manager, the key point is ... i would like to hear what did you learn from your failure experiences. You know, everybody got failure experiences. But not everyone learn form failures. So got lessons from failures is very important for everyone.
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Rahul’s Answer

It’s challenging to detail one’s failures or setbacks to a potential employer. Yes it's good to be ashamed at times looking over your failures.
But, these questions are often necessary.
You should acknowledge your weaknesses and take responsibility for your failures.
This can also reveal the kinds of risks you take and the habits you possess, and define your own perceptions of success and failure.
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Heena’s Answer

Failures is not something to be discouraged about. you can share the learning you got from the failures.

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David’s Answer

If you are asked, then yes. However, you should pick the failures you discuss wisely. If you are asked about times you have failed, a potential employer will expect you to say yes and explain the details. The thing a potential employer is looking for is the fact that you can take responsibility (use introspection) for the failures and demonstrate that you have learned from the experience. Such discussions should be in the form of a story concluded by what you have learned and how you have adapted or grown from the experience. The story should be interesting.
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Cristol’s Answer

Never expect to fail, always expect to succeed! But if you do fail at something, always learn from the mistakes and don't dwell on them. Always demonstrate how you are someone that will turn a negative into a positive situation, that is what interviewers are looking for. Also, I recommend jotting down these type of situations so it's easier to remember the details of what went wrong and how you made it better when telling the story in an interview.
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Jo-David’s Answer

After interviewing over 1,000 candidates for various positions over the course of my career, I've always appreciated those that proactively brought up a learning experience/failure that they were able to turn into a successful outcome for the team or organization. If there is a failure, you want it to be recognized as early as possible so the right adjustments can be made which allows for an awesome outcome. So yes, go ahead and share it and how you were able to manage through it to create a win.
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Cheryl’s Answer

If there is a relevant time in the interview to interject the subject of the failure, I would highlight it. It is to your advantage for the hiring manager to know that you can accept the failure and what steps you did or learned from it; therefore the ability to improve the process next time. It also shows integrity and honestly about yourself; that there is always room for improvement in all of us.
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Harshita’s Answer

Definitely but you should never mention about it as your failure. See to it as a challenging situation and think of what you did to manage it or learn from it.
Everyone has failed in some way or the other but the important thing that differentiates you from other people is your attitude to never give up and think smartly in difficult situations.

Same way you should address it during your interviews!
All the best :)
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Vidhi’s Answer

Talking about your failures in an interview could be good reflection of your ability to try new things, take risks, accept mistakes, learn from setbacks and above all ability to bounce back.

It is rightly said "Failures are the stepping stones to success". While talking about failures, it is important to put them in the right perspective. The after-effect of the failure is much more important than the failure itself. So make sure that your narration covers the insights on what lead to not achieving success. What life-lessons your learnt from the failure. What helped you to bounce back and continue the journey.
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Terence’s Answer

Failure is a normal part of life and in the workplace. I think that it is important to have an answer ready for anything. To say that you've never failed or been in that type of situation would actually be a red flag to me as an interviewer. It would signal a lack of self-awareness or a person that isn't willing to acknowledge reality.

I would point you to a quote about Michael Jordan, "(he) believes that the training should always be harder than the playing, so failure becomes an opportunity to improve".

With that as a baseline, it's good to be able to talk through situations where you could've done better or you didn't hit the target of what you were supposed to. Talk through the situation, what prevented you from your goal/objective, and what was the outcome? Then, it's about what you learned from the situation and most importantly, how you've applied these learnings since then.

If you're able to articulate an answer to this question, I think it's a major plus in an interview.
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Kainat’s Answer

Absolutely!

It shows great confidence in where you have come from and what you have achieved. Everyone talks about their successes and highlights, which is fine, and a great way to showcase your achievements. What is also important to note is there are hardly any success stories not having a background of either a string or at least one failure. It shows great strength of character if you are able to demonstrate both success and failure as learning opportunities.


Absolutely correct 👍. Satyanarayan sahu

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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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Dawn’s Answer

Everyone experiences failure—it's simply human nature. Ask any successful person, and they will tell you that the secret to their success is failure. Perseverance and an open mind are essential to determining what went wrong and finding learning opportunities. It’s all about how you react during and after a failure that directly determines how you will reflect upon, grow from, and handle failures in future dealings.
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Kathryn’s Answer

Heather, That's a great question! I think it's always a good idea to have an answer to this question handy - one that shows that you're creative and that you don't give up easily. Ask a friend or relative to practice with you so that you get comfortable speaking about your accomplishments. Best of luck to you in your future!

Kathryn recommends the following next steps:

Create some questions that a hiring manager might ask and craft good answers.
Practice answering questions confidently - use a friend or use a mirror to see how you look.
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Simeon’s Answer

I'd say yes; go in intending to speak about your failures and you won't have to do any work to respond on the spot if they ask about a failure first. But you'll also be able to demonstrate your ability to learn from mistakes; talk about how you walked away from the failure with greater insight than before.
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David’s Answer

I've interviewed many people and this is a common question. As a few others have indicated, focus on what you learned and what you'd do differently. In some cases its not failure because you made a mistake, but rather you may have been testing out a theory, or maybe more information came to light after you started. Don't be afraid to share those. Being afraid to fail stifles creativity and innovation. Fail fast if you have to and learn quickly. On the other side, if you failed because you were unprepared, you should have a very good explanation of what you've learned and how you've already modified your behavior as a result.