☛ 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.