How do you overcome failure? What has been your greatest failure? You don’t need to sob in front of the interviewer and glorify some personal tragedy.
TRAP: 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 the interviewer can label you as someone who avoids or mitigates 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
Here are some sample answers for “what has been your biggest failure”. Use them to get your brain cells thinking and don’t rote learn!
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 to 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 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 percentage of the overall sales.”
How would you answer the biggest failure interview questions? Are there other traps one must be aware of for such trap quizzing? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.