What has been your greatest failure?
Ooh, this is a nasty question. The interviewer is setting you a big trap to fall into. The way to fend off this question is by saying that you don’t think that you have ever had a ‘greatest failure’. However, saying that you’ve never failed is not a good enough answer on its own. So go on to talk about some minor failure that you have experienced – perhaps a particular project that did not go well or a piece of work that was not up to your
usual high standards.
Try to find an example of a situation that went badly due to unforeseen circumstances. Never blame anyone else for the failure – as an interviewer can label you as someone who shirks responsibility and seeks to point the finger at other people. And try to finish off your anecdote by talking about the lesson you took from it.
Honesty is a good trait, but too much honesty can be your downfall when answering this question! If you believe that you have been guilty of a major failure – even if it was only through bad luck or circumstance – try to play it down.
Read Also: “The Silver Lining of Every Failure”
Possible Answer #1:
“I could not secure a perfect 100/100 in my Math paper in 12th Standard, despite my hard work. That is my greatest failure till date.”
Possible Answer #2:
“Last year, we wanted to improve sales by 50% but achieved just 35% which was a huge letdown, even if there was a huge boost to our ROI. The underlying issue was that I was on a holiday and my entire team took this last big deal for granted. They are all-star performers, but I don’t know why they took this sure shot deal so lightly. We had built a great rapport with this client over a period of 3 months and the deal had almost been wrapped up. That was a huge failure in the recent past for me. Eventually, the deal slipped out of our hands and impacted the overall sales percentage.”