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How to Answer The Question About When You Failed

Trust us, the employer won't believe you if you say you've never failed before. Here's how to answer.

Job interview questions can be scary and a little intimidating, especially ones like "tell me about a time something didn’t go as planned". Trust us, the employer won't believe you if you say you've never failed before. They’re people too and they know that things don't always go as planned so don't feel like answering honestly will backfire or cost you the job.

Steer clear of answers like:

"Yeah, I'm pretty sure I've always been this perfect. Plus, I usually put the blame on my co workers if something goes wrong."

"…This is a trick question, isn't it? Haha, you got me! You little rascal, you."

"Where do I begin? There's too many times to choose from. I'm just an epic fail."

This question is more for the employer to see how you recover than to pick apart your failure. Instead of harping on the negative, focus on the positive aspects of how you turned the situation around and what you learned along the way.

"Once I missed a deadline because my team and I failed to overcome scheduling conflicts. However, we went into overdrive to make sure the project was completed the following week. In the end, I realized that procrastination hurt us and could be avoided by taking initiative and getting started early."

This answer shows you're honest about your mistakes, but you also know how to learn from them and that is what will make you a great employee.

Alex Woodward |
Categories: Interviewing
Alex is a Growth Marketing Manager at Snagajob, where she works with sales to help connect businesses with the right workers. Her first hourly job was as a barista at Caribou Coffee.