☛ Be prepared to answer this and other tough interview questions by planning your answers ahead of time. This enables you to remain calm and not be thrown off by what might seem to be a "gotcha" or negative question.
☛ Remain calm, hold eye contact and answer the question directly and concisely. Do not stammer or act put off by the question.
☛ Describe briefly a situation in which a minor project or work effort did not turn out as planned. Own your part of the failure, do not blame it on others. This reflects your willingness to acknowledge when you have not worked up to your usual standards and to take responsibility for your own actions.
☛ Move on quickly to discuss how you rectified the situation and what you learned to prevent the problem from recurring. Demonstrating your ability to recognize a shortcoming and that you are able to turn negative situations into opportunities for learning and growth reflect traits most prospective employers value.
Here are a few jobs which have darkest future:
☛ Farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers
☛ Postal service mail sorters, processors and processing machine operators
☛ Sewing machine operators
☛ Postal service mail carriers
☛ Switchboard operators, including answering service
☛ Postal service clerks
☛ Fast food cooks
☛ Miscellaneous agricultural workers
☛ Data entry keyers
☛ Word processors and typists
Do not turn an interview into a failure by saying that you have never made a mistake or you have not experienced failure. Nobody is perfect. The most successful people in the world have had many, many failures. Here is how an interviewer interprets someone with no failures:
☛ You do not take risks
☛ You do not set goals, so you never fail
☛ You are hiding something
☛ You do not take responsibility for your actions
☛ If something bad happens, you will blame it on everything or everyone else but yourself
Take time to reflect. Think about the key decisions or milestones in your career or education. Consider the problems or challenges you faced. Honestly evaluate whether or not you made the best choices. Would you make the same decisions now that you did then?
Choose your failures strategically. Choose failures or challenges that you have honestly learned from. Do not mention any failures that did not teach you a lesson, are incriminating or ones that you have not recovered from.
Show what you have learned. Do not dwell on the fact that you made a big mistake. Focus on the positive things you learned from the situation and how much it has helped you grow as a professional.
Everybody fails. If you have never failed, it means you have never taken a risk (which means you probably have not made much progress, either) or you have never made a big mistake (which is impossible).
To answer the question effectively, you want to go through your work history and come up with an example of something that went wrong or a mistake you made or a project that failed where you found a way to turn things around or at least learned a lesson that you can show you later applied successfully.
Great scientists and leaders and people who have made real change happen, all had to take a chance at failing. And when they did fail, the thing that sets them apart from those that do not succeed or do not even try, is that they know deep inside that they will find a way.
And so they pick themselves up, dust themselves off and continue forward, maybe looking for things to change or new allies to help but with the very real belief that they will get there eventually. And many of us are afraid that even the smallest failure means we will not get there.
When I was in my in my last semester at grad school, I was busily interviewing for jobs at banks and investment banks. And I was trying my hardest to look "perfect", since I knew there were always people with higher grades and better connections.
The most important thing to remember when answering this question is that it really is not about what you did wrong. It is about how you handled a difficult situation and what you learned from it.
☛ Avoid Perfection
☛ Quick Tips from the Experts
I am a really good listener.
While being a good listener is a great personality trait, your employer probably does not care all that much. It is unlikely that they are hiring you to be a shoulder to cry on. You will want to keep your answer relevant to the job you are interviewing for and as specific as possible. If you can, insert an example.
My friends would probably say that I am extremely persistent I have never been afraid to keep going back until I get what I want. When I worked as a program developer, recruiting keynote speakers for a major tech conference, I got one rejection after another - this was just the nature of the job. But I really wanted the big players - so I would not take no for an answer. I kept going back to them every time there was a new company on board or some new value proposition. Eventually, many of them actually said yes, the program turned out to be so great that we doubled our attendees from the year before. A lot of people might have given up after the first rejection, but it is just not in my nature. If I know something is possible, I have to keep trying until I get it.
I never finished law school and everything that has happened since then has taught me that giving up, just because the going gets tough, is a huge mistake.
You do not want to actually highlight a major regret especially one that exposes an overall dissatisfaction with your life. Instead, focus on a smaller but significant, mishap and how it has made you a better professional.
When I was in college, I took an art class to supplement my curriculum. I did not take it very seriously and assumed that, compared to my engineering classes, it would be a walk in the park. My failing grades at midterm showed me otherwise. I would even jeopardized my scholarship status. I knew I had to get my act together. I spent the rest of the semester making up for it, ended up getting a decent grade in the class. I learned that no matter what I am doing, I should strive to do it to the best of my ability. Otherwise, it is not worth doing at all.
Doing a good job and being rewarded for it.
It is not that this answer is wrong, it is just that it wastes an opportunity. This question is practically begging you to highlight your positive attributes. So do not give a vague, generic response, it tells them very little about you. Instead, try and use this question as an opportunity to give the interviewer some insight into your character and use examples where possible.
I have always been motivated by the challenge in my last role, I was responsible for training our new recruits and having a 100% success rate in passing scores. I know that this job is very fast-paced and I am more than up for the challenge. In fact, I thrive on it.
I am easy to get along with, so I have never had any kind of discord with another coworker.
Interviewers do not like these types of easy out answers. And besides, they know you are probably not telling the truth. Think of a relatively benign (but significant) instance and spin it to be a positive learning experience.
I used to lock heads with a fellow EMT. We disagreed over a lot of things from the care of civilians to who got what shifts to how to speak with a victim's family. Our personalities just did not mesh. After three months of arguing, I pulled her aside and asked her to lunch. At lunch, we talked about our differences and why we were not getting along. It turns out, it was all about communication. We communicated differently and once we knew that, we began to work well together. I really believe that talking a problem through with someone can help solve any issue.
I was most satisfied when I did well and got praised for my work.
Do not give vague answers. Instead, think about something you did well and enjoyed that will be relevant at this new job. This is an opportunity for you to share your interests, prove that you are a great fit for the job and showcase your enthusiasm.
I am a people person. I was always happiest and most satisfied when I was interacting with community residents, making sure I was able to meet their needs and giving them the best possible comfort in a tough situation. It was my favorite part of the job, and it showed. Part of the reason I am interested in this job is that I know I would have even more interaction with the public, on an even more critical level.
I work too hard or for the comedian, Blondes.
This question is a great opportunity to put a positive spin on something negative, but you do not want your answer to be cliche, joking or not. Instead, try to use a real example of a weakness you have learned to overcome.
I have never been very comfortable with public speaking, which as you know, can be a hindrance. Realizing this was a problem, I asked my previous department if I could enroll in a speech workshop. I took the class and was able to overcome my lifelong fear. Since then, I have given a lot of safety presentations to school children across the county. I still do not love it, but no one else can tell.
A lack of stability. I felt like the place could collapse around me at any time.
Try and stay away from anything that draws on the politics, culture or financial health of your previous employer. No matter how true it might be, comments like these will be construed as too negative. Also, you do not want to focus on a function that might be your responsibility in the next role. So think of something you disliked in your last job, but that you know for sure will not be part of this new role.
There was nothing about my last job that I hated but I guess there were some things I liked less than others. My previous role involved traveling at least twice a month. While I do love to travel, twice a month was a little exhausting, I did not like spending quite so much time out of the department. I am happy to see that this role involves a lot less travel.
I was so tired of working and I needed a break or I just can not find a job.
Employment gaps are always tough to explain. You do not want to come across as lazy or unhireable. Find a way to make your extended unemployment seem like a choice you made, based on the right reasons.
My work is important to me, so I will not be satisfied with any old job. Instead of rushing to accept the first thing that comes my way, I am taking my time and being selective to make sure my next role is the right one.
He was completely incompetent and a nightmare to work with, which is why I have moved on
Remember if you get the job, the person interviewing you will some day be your previous boss. The last thing they want is to hire someone who they know is going to badmouth them some day. Instead of trashing your former employer, stay positive, and focus on what you learned from them.
My last boss taught me the importance of time management. He did not pull any punches and was extremely driven. His no-nonsense attitude pushed me to work harder and to meet goals I never even thought were possible.
I can not stand my boss or the work I am doing.
Again, stay away from badmouthing your job or employer. Focus on the positive.
I have learned a lot from my current role, but now I am looking for a new challenge, to broaden my horizons and to gain new skill-sets, all of which, I see the potential for in this job.
I am the best candidate for the role.
A good answer will reiterate your qualifications and will highlight what makes you unique.
I have been a firefighter for the past five years, my boss has said time and time again that without me, the department would not function so well. I have also taken the time to educate myself on some of the non-standard techniques used in first response. I can react quickly in hectic situations, and can handle the responsibilities of a leadership role. What is good enough for most people is never really good enough for me.
In my last job I earned $35,000, so, now I am looking for $40,000.
If you can avoid it, do not give an exact number. The first person to name a price in a salary negotiation loses. Instead, re-iterate your commitment to the job itself. If you have to, give a broad range based on research you have conducted on that particular role, in your particular city.
I am more interested in the role itself than the pay. That said, I would expect to be paid the appropriate range for this role, based on my five years of experience. I also think a fair salary would bear in mind the high cost of living here in large cities.
Relaxing on a beach in Maui or doing your job.
There is really no right answer to this question but the interviewer wants to know that you are ambitious, career-oriented and committed to a future with the company. So instead of sharing your dream for early retirement or trying to be funny, give them an answer that illustrates your drive and commitment.
In five years I would like to have an even better understanding of fire and rescue. Also, I really enjoy being the first to a scene. I work very well under pressure. Ultimately, I would like to be in a commander-type position, where I can use my organizational skills and industry knowledge to benefit the people working with me and those we are there to help.
I graduated four years ago from the University of Michigan, with a Bachelor's degree in Biology but I decided that was not the right path for me. I switched gears and got my first job working in a fire department. Then I went on to work in another department and started participating in training courses. After that, I took a few months off to travel. Finally, I came back to start working again. And now, here I am, looking for a more challenging fire and rescue role.
I am a very energetic and well-rounded person who can follow instructions well. I am a good communicator and quite a team player. At the last department I was with I initiated medic classes for the firefighters who were interested in learning first-aid techniques. Because it was such a success, the entire department is in the process of getting certifications for all members in different areas of response medical aid.
I like firefighting. I think it is really cool.
Do not just say you like it. Anyone can like firefighting. Focus instead on your history with the industry and if you can, tell a story.
I have always appreciated and admired those who put their lives on the line to protect our comminutues. My interest really piqued in firefighting however after I witnessed a post-crash rescue. I heard the calling as I watched the first response team pull the civilians to safety and out of harms way. It was then I knew that this is what I was meant to do.
Here are different ways to define failures:
☛ The condition or fact of not achieving the desired end or ends: the failure of an experiment.
☛ One that fails: a failure at one's career.
☛ The condition or fact of being insufficient or falling short: a crop failure.
☛ A cessation of proper functioning or performance: a power failure.
☛ Nonperformance of what is requested or expected, omission: failure to report a change of address.
☛ The act or fact of failing to pass a course, test or assignment.
☛ A decline in strength or effectiveness.
☛ The act or fact of becoming bankrupt or insolvent.