How To Answer “Tell Me About A Time You Failed”

So you prepared your Resume and Applied for a job. Luckily you were selected and were asked to come for an interview. 

You jumped up happily, dressed, and then headed straight for the interview. On reaching the company, you met the secretary, who spoke really nicely to you and smiled at you often. She asked you to sit and wait for a call to let you in.

Enthusiastically, you sat down, full of energy waiting for your call to come in. A few minutes later you were called in and after a few questions which you answered confidently, you felt relaxed. 

The manager kept on going through your Resume and then popped up with a question “TELL ME ABOUT A TIME YOU FAILED” Hmm, pretty weird right?

But sincerely this kind of question can throw anyone off balance especially when you’ve been unemployed for a while and you’d want to impress him or say the right words.

If you’re really looking forward to Killing those interview questions just keep reading. I’d tell you how.

Now most times, interview questions are quite tricky because you never know what to expect. I’d say most people just get lucky that even when they do not answer too accurately they still get the job but the key to getting that job is how well you answer their questions.

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How To Answer Interview Question – Tell Me About A Time You Failed

I really feel before Answering Any interview question when you’re on the hot seat you should learn to Analyze the question quickly in your head and rephrase it in a simple form. 

Now questions like this do not really require you to start counting all your jobs failure, you should be smart enough to blend in your weaknesses with your strengths in such a way that you’re not just telling them how you failed, but measures you put in place to rise back up and ensure that it doesn’t occur again.

Ensure to be calm, first and foremost. Breathe deeply and say something like “Wow, that’s an interesting question, because you’d be having lots of things running through your mind. Follow these Three steps

1. Explain What “Failure” Means In Your Own Terms

You’ll have to explain why you believed a particular situation was a failure, in order to guide you so you don’t discuss some colossal failure in which everything goes tragically and hilariously wrong and can make your employer think low of you.

Once you’ve decided on your narrative, define failure in a way that fits the context. Once the failure has been established, your tale need not be an obvious failure; rather, it needs to be whatever failure means to you, which also reveals to the interviewer how you approach your work.

2. Explain The Scenario Better

Since you’ve analyzed failure on your own terms, you have to explain the scenario clearer and better. Get right to the point without spending too much time building the scene.

Get to the part of your response where you’re dealing with the failure as soon as you can. Interviewers aren’t asking this question to see you flinch; they want to know how you handle setbacks.

Start by describing the circumstances and why they were difficult. Then describe in detail what you did to try to fix it.

Since this is about failure, it stands to reason that you will either not succeed at all or only partially succeed. It’s alright. Do not attempt to hide the fact that not everything went as planned.

Don’t try to sugarcoat things; it’s impossible to do well in an interview if the interviewer doesn’t believe what you’re saying. Also, be sure to accept responsibility for your actions and not place the blame for your failure on others.

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3. Merge Your Weakness With Your Strength

The outstanding outcomes or the lessons you learned, should come last in your response after you’ve described the disappointing result of your narrative.

Discuss the reasons you believe things went wrong, possible course corrections, and, of course, your future plans.

4. Ensure You’re Passing Experience Not Just Information

It’s simpler to simply tell them everything that went wrong, but it’s much better to give along your knowledge with a sense of experience that even your boss can benefit from.

What information did you reveal to the hiring manager by sharing your experience? Did they discover that you have severe character defects that would make you unsuitable for the position or that you know how to accept and move on from mistakes? This will help your employer to see you for who you are.


If you’re the kind of person who rises to the occasion and consistently looks for ways to grow, discussing one of your professional failures might give a hiring manager a lot of insight into what kind of employee you might turn out to be, or let them know if you are you the type of person who consistently makes the same mistakes, in the same manner, repeating their past mistakes.

If you want to ace the interview, make sure to follow this step-to-step guide

Good luck. Have A great day.

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