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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


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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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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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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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Raji’s Answer

You may approach this part as opportunities, recognizing these opportunities and speaking to them shows a lot of character and courage.


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Ateeb’s Answer

Rather than simply listing failures what employers like to hear is how you learnt from any shortcomings or issues. This shows that you are able to adapt to potentially challenging situations.

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Chandra’s Answer

It depends on how the interviewer ask and how you would get benefited in the interview.
Obviously failures teach lesson in life and help us not taking wrong steps in 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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Donna’s Answer

These are very common questions during an interview. Be honest, put some thought into it prior to going to the interview. Your interviewer is looking for how you handle failure and if you are able to rebound from it and learned from the experience. If you don't have failures you are being innovative and that is something business are looking for, Innovation. Speak to the situation the whys behind the failure and what you learned from it, how did it ultimately turn out.

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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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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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Arturo’s Answer

Yes. At some point during an interview you will be faced with a question that addresses failure. Be ready to give a detailed example of how you failed and most importantly what you learned from it. As a G.M that interviews people often, I know people are not perfect. What I am looking for is your attitude and thought process after you experienced failure. Also, be prepared to discuss what you would do differently the future.

Arturo recommends the following next steps:

Perform a practice interview with someone else and ask them for direct feedback.

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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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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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Virat’s Answer

In general your failures & short comings can be used against you so be generous to yourself not making yourself vulnerable.

Since we are talking of interviews & there could be one situation where the lesson learnt was well implemented to overcome the situation that you might have face. Keep that situation prepared & how to narrate it with the positive attitude. We all fail at some time. We need to accept & move on with positive attitude with learnings in mind & that is the intent of the question.

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Swetha’s Answer

Yes Definitely. Failures are something that give us experience and Failures are stepping stones to success.

When you tell the interviewer about your failure you can also explain him how you overcame yourself morally also and if you have actually understood anything from your failure and how to over come it.

Do not think of FAILURE as a failure. Most of the times it just the beginning of a story, if you learn something from it and move forward in your life you create a great story/life. So failure is nothing to hide from.

Just small example would be my preparation for GATE exam to get into IITs. During my first attempt I failed badly but later I understood the mistakes I did and learned from them and tried to avoid them on my next attempt I topped the Exam.

And discussing such stuff with interviewer will make them think you are a strong personality. So definitely go ahead. 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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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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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.


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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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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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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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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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Dennis’s Answer

It definitely shows you are taking Accountability as well as Authenticity. Highlights and your work ethic should be front and center but also bringing up a few obstacles will also show your future Employer that you do not hold back and will do everything in your power to eliminate any future failures. Stay Confident during the process and Good Luck!

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Boopathy’s Answer

In my suggestion, please don't tell any failures as some interviewer don't like any negativity. Always the first impression is the best impression so try to emphasize positive things and impress the interviewer. If the interviewer specifically asks your failures then you can tell a failure but try to avoid talking about your personal failures.

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khushboo’s Answer

We should not talk about the failures until you have been asked to throw light on your past. If you choose to tell about the failures with the positive learning from your experiences.


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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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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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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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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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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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Jabari’s Answer

If asked, you should always give an honest answer. You should also be prepared to add what you *learned from that answer, and what you would do differently if faced with the same situation again.

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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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Erica’s Answer

If you are directly asked about any failures, then that would be the only appropriate time to mention one. The one failure that you expand on should be one where you learned a lesson from. Good luck.

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Margie’s Answer

I would suggest that if you talk about failure that you focus on what you learned from it, what were your takeaways and how you will approach it differently next time. In an environment where you are required to be innovative, sometimes you have to take risks and not all risks are successful.

Depending on the person doing the interview, one of their questions may be to share a time when you failed. This would be a great opportunity to do just that. Good luck!

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George’s Answer

I've interviewed and hired many people throughout my career and I always found if asked about failures it is certainly ok to talk to them but what always stands out to me is when people do and then highlight what they learned from those failures always gave me a great impression of them. Throughout your life you will make mistakes or experience failure but it is what you learn or do from it that is important.

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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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Erica’s Answer

If you are directly asked about any failures, then that would be the only appropriate time to mention one. The one failure that you expand on should be one where you learned a lesson from. Good luck.

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Priyanka’s Answer

There is nothing wrong in talking about failures in an interview. Its not a failure though but one step before success. You will get to learn a lot from the failures which actually makes you strong in your profession.

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Jennifer’s Answer

It depends on how you think about your failure, and you did learn from your failure and overcome it, the story should touch the interviewer' s heart

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Nathan’s Answer

I think if the experience is relevant and it taught you something it is well worth sharing. We all have experience, both good and bad that shaped us into who we are today. I think it is critically important in an interview to be authentic. If you are asked a question that ties directly to one of the experiences, I would share it. Be prepared to shine light on it in a positive way so that it isn't just a failure but rather a lesson.

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Richard’s Answer

Everybody goes through failures and talking about failures in the interview is fine but interviewer should get a feeling or be convinced that you were about to learn something from the failure.



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Lakshay’s Answer

It all depends on how you have dealt with that failure. If that failure helped you in some positive aspect where you were able to learn and apply a workaround which averted that failure happening the next time, then it should be okay to talk about in the interviews only if asked. The basic reason for an interviewer to ask that question is to know if you were able to grow from that failure and how.


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Jake’s Answer

Sharing failures is not a sign of weakness. It's a sign that you are comfortable with vulnerability.
In an interview setting, it is tough to know the delicate balance between sharing too much or too little.
However, you should get a feel for the person asking the questions. If they want more or ask clarifying questions, give it to them.

Now, when sharing failures, it is critical to share what you learned from the failure and how that learning experience has helped shape decisions in your work or like now.
When conducting an interview, I like to ask the interviewee one thing they learned from each job experience. Often times this is where the vulnerability will show as they respond with a learning moment.

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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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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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Domonique’s Answer

I wouldnt volunteer failures during the interview but it is good to answer the interviewers questions by discussing opportunities you have and demonstrating what you have done to overcome them. Its important to keep in mind that interviewers are looking for the right fit for the position and not the perfect person. Leverage both your strengths and opportunities and talk about what you learned during your experiences.

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Mrudula’s Answer

Sometimes the interviewer asks you about your failures. in such situations, do mention that these are not "failures" but learning experiences. Also make sure to tell how you learnt from it. what steps you will take in future not to repeat the same thing.

Most employers aren't concerned when you make a mistake the first time. But when you repeat the same again and again they start to questions you on your ability to learn from mistakes. a mistake like that could cost them heavily as you keep moving higher in position and responsibility.

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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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Margie’s Answer

I would suggest that if you talk about failure that you focus on what you learned from it, what were your takeaways and how you will approach it differently next time. In an environment where you are required to be innovative, sometimes you have to take risks and not all risks are successful.

Depending on the person doing the interview, one of their questions may be to share a time when you failed. This would be a great opportunity to do just that. Good luck!

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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.


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Jason’s Answer

You can talk about failure if you're able to show that you learned from it and improved. I think you show maturity if you can identify something that went wrong and speak to how you made adjustments going forward.

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Robert’s Answer

I was told by a manager once that we learn more from our failures than we do from our successes. I have had a ton of success in my career, but it was my failures that made me into a better employee. If I was to bring up my past failures, I would almost treat it as the "what's your biggest weakness" question that is often asked in interviews. I would bring up the failure, but then i would talk about what i learned from it and what kind of success i found as a result of the failure.

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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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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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Amy’s Answer

It may not be a good idea to volunteer the information, however, some interviewers may ask "How do you handle failure?" If this comes up during the interview, make sure you keep your composure. Don't let the question rattle you. The interviewer is not so concerned about the failure itself, but how you handled the failure. What did you learn from the experience? How did you bounce back from it? What steps have you taken to prevent recurrences of the same or similar failure. Try to have an example of two prepared prior to the interview, in case it does come up.

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Melanie’s Answer

Dear Deanicia,

Great Question!

A common question asked during an interview is, "Tell me about one of your weaknesses".

I believe that in many cases, a weakness can also be viewed as a strength. For instance, when I first became a leader, I would raise my hand for everything. I wanted to get involved and challenge myself.

It became evident that I might have bitten off more than I could chew. My then leader gave me great advice. "Sit on your hands"..."Give others a chance to show what they've got and you should do what you do, and do it well." We never want to spread ourselves so thin that we don't deliver, or deliver a product that is mediocre.

This said, when asked, “Tell me about one of your weaknesses”, I might respond accordingly, "One of my weaknesses is also a strength. I like to get involved so I volunteer a lot. But sometimes, I need to recognize my capacity, and let others get involved."

This response lets the hiring manager know that you are a go-getter who has excitement and enthusiasm AND that after given some great advice, you still volunteer but recognize your limits."

Hope this example helps you better understand how to position your response regarding failures or weaknesses for I believe in life that there are no failures, only lessons.

Best Wishes!!

Melanie recommends the following next steps:

Start thinking of those "failures" as lessons and "weaknesses" as "strengths" =)

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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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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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Heather’s Answer

As you probably already know, failure is a hot-button issue! So you want to be careful how you discuss it in an interview, and sound out your interviewer as you go. You can see the diversity of responses to 'failure' already illustrated here in the answers you've received. Probably each person will respond a little differently.

An important aspect of the potential for failure is that many people are scared to fail, and so fail to take even reasonable risks. I feel there's considerable payoff, not to mention leadership opportunity, where others have assumed there's impossibility, and you figure out how to make it possible. Whole companies have started in that space.

It's not unusual to be confronted with a dead end as you attempt to solve a problem at work. This could be seen as failure, but I like to think of it as Solution A that didn't work. There are still Solutions B through Z to be found and tried :)

Courage, tenacity, and effective problem-solving are all traits that come in quite handy at work, and what definitely is a good idea is to let an interviewer know you've got these in your back pocket.

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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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Akshama’s Answer

You can talk about failures if you've learnt from them. No one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes. But people who learn from those mistakes and strive to become better are successful.


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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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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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Teresa’s Answer

I do agree that it's important to talk about challenges you have faced. We all have opportunity to grow and learn from events that may or may not have gone as we had hoped/planned. Each experience is just that, an experience..... I would not classify anything as a failure. I would, instead, refer to them as 'opportunities to improve'. When in an interview I would use examples of 'overcome challenges'. I talk about what made it a challenge and how I was able to learn from it. Then I would talk about how I could do it differently next time given the same situation.

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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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kalyan’s Answer

It's okay to share our failures during the interview but we should also share what we did to overcome that failure and turn it into success

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Nick’s Answer

What are failures? They are learning opportunities. Unless you find that it brings value to the topic of conversation in an interview and you are able to highlight a scenario where you learned from a failure and had an opportunity to change a behavior or process to produce a different, positive outcome, I would not proactively bring it up.

Most interviews I have conducted I will ask questions around a time someone was met with a challenge or unexpected situation/outcome. I was always more concerned with how the interviewee approached the challenge, their thought process and actions taken, and the outcome. When this comes up in an interview, the interviewer is looking to see if you are able to think critically during a challenge, make a decision and put it into action.

Nick recommends the following next steps:

Anticipate interview questions where you are asked to tell someone about a time when things became challenging, didn't go according to plan, you had to work with a difficult task/coworker/customer/etc.
Be able to answer clearly and concisely: What was the situation, what was your thought process, what action did you take, what was the outcome.

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Elana’s Answer

Great question!
You will probably be asked to give an example of a failure, challenge or difficult experience. Have an answer ready, not about your personal life, where you show how you've grown from that experience.

Good luck!

Elana recommends the following next steps:

Think about 2-3 professional or school challenges
What was your roke and responsibility?
What actions did you take?
What skills did you demonstrate?

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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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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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Shantanu’s Answer

It all depends on the way you present it and the learnings you have learned out of it.
In most cases, it always helps if you are able to bring to the table your learnings.

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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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Natalie’s Answer

I would not voluntarily speak about a failure during a job interview. If you are asked a question about a time you failed, it is vital to talk about a failure as a learning opportunity and how you were able to problem solve or what you would have done differently/how you will take this lesson and apply it to future situations of adversity.

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Jesse’s Answer

Don't volunteer the information, but if presented with the question; speak to the lessons that you learned from failure. Set the expectation that you are flexible, insightful, and can move forward instead of being consumed and overtaken by failure.


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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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Kushal’s Answer

Each failure gives an opportunity for new learning. You learn from your mistakes. You can talk about failures but dont go so much in deep. Rather quickly shift to your learnings from the failures and try to show the positivity you have because you have overcome some failures.


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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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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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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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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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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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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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Denise’s Answer

Admitting to failures is part of being successful. The best lessons are learned through failures. It's not the failure that determines a person. It is what you do after the failure that defines you.


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William R’s Answer

"I Never Lose... I either Win or I Learn." ~ Nelson Mandela
"If you are not making Mistakes - You are not trying hard enough!"
Any manager with experience will expect failure. The faster you Own those mistakes the faster they become learning opportunities - and if you share what you learned from that mistake... Can it really be called a failure in the end?
HTH! You are asking the right questions - Keep on it.

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Jayne’s Answer

always be ready to share what you learned from each 'opportunity'   how did it help you grow?   Don't lie or evade.   People are human, we all experience 'learning opportunities'.  It's how we use them is what matters.


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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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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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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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DWAYNE’s Answer

Speak about how you overcame obstacles in previous career roles.

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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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Melanie’s Answer

Learning to talk about failure in a positive and constructive way is powerful and shows wisdom.
When we understand why we fail, we can work to prevent and prepare for future failures, which you will come to learn, failure is inevitable.