Killer Interview Question: Can You Tell Me About A Time You've Experienced Failure?

You'd want to emphasise your strengths and successes when you go into a job interview. But what happens when the interviewer wants to know about your failures? In this week's KIQ, we explore this difficult question.

Defeated boxer image from Shutterstock

Liz Wessel is the CEO and co-founder of WayUp, a US-based website used by college students to find jobs at large organisations. She is also a former Google employee. Speaking with Business Insider, she revealed some questions that she likes to ask job candidates, one of which is "Can you tell me about a time you’ve experienced failure in the workplace?”

Wessel explains:

“If a candidate cannot explain a few times they slipped up during the process, or a time they hit a roadblock, then they probably weren’t learning enough,” she says. “I want to know that you challenged yourself and pushed yourself to learn. And I want to know that you learned from the mistakes you made along the way.”

The question might make some applicants uncomfortable. Nobody wants to replay a time they screwed up, especially not in front of a potential employer. The best way to approach this question is with humility. Admit to your own failures and explain the lessons you learnt from it.

How would you tackle this question? Let us know in the comments.


    Can You Tell Me About A Time You've Experienced Failure?No. No, I can't. I have never failed. Ever.

    I'm just that good.

    When do I start?

      Sorry you didnt get the job, you can use this as a failure experience in your next interview

    Lolz, I was in scientific research for 7 years. If every experiment you've ever done was a success, that basically meant you're not doing anything new...or interesting

    Last edited 04/04/16 6:33 pm

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