How Do You Handle Failure

How to Answer Interview Question: How Do You Handle Failure?

There is a maxim that says “no one is perfect”. This means that there are bound to be times when you have failed. The fact is that failure is an integral part of success because you cannot measure success without failure. But talking about our negative part can be quite hard and even harder when all you want to do during an interview is impress

Failure is an integral part of life-personal or professional and how you handle failure is also an essential part of life, especially during work. When failure hits, it gives us room to learn, improve and become better versions of ourselves.

Being able to show the attitude of “learning from failures” is what hiring managers or your potential employer is looking for. However, even if you have failed and it has made you a better person, how do you answer this interview question? How do you portray this attitude of handling failure? And what should you say when asked “how do you handle failure?

This article will answer these questions. It will provide you with reasons why interviewers ask this question and hints to help you construct the appropriate response to help you convince your potential employer that you are a great job candidate.


Why do hiring managers ask this question?

Like every other behavioral question, the interviewer wants to know more about your personality. We can say that the hiring manager asks this to access three things;


No company or employer will like to hire a candidate who does not own up to their own mistakes. If you are a person who gives excuses and blames others for failures or mistakes, an employer will not want you in their company. To the employer, the impression will be that you do may be difficult to work with.

So when asked how you handle failure, as an applicant who wants the role, admit to the mistakes and that you could have done things differently with a clear and concise explanation.

What you learned

It is true that everyone makes mistakes and has failed in some tasks and all. However, no employer wants someone who didn’t learn from his failures.

So the employer wants to hear what you have learned and how you are now a better person because of the failure you encountered. It will also interest you to know that the hiring manager is also looking to know how you fit into the company

Your perception of failure and success

This is a pseudo-psychological question and to the employer, the response you give will tell them more about who you are. So as an applicant, you are expected to say things that will turn this negative answer into a positive one.


So, how do you handle failure?

You may try and skip the question and not give a response or say “I have been pretty successful in all your endeavors”. It might sound like the right thing to do or say but to the interviewer, you are leaving different negative impressions.

It is understandable that this question might come as a shock to you and cause you to freeze; however, you have to be smart, quick to think, and produce an honest answer most diplomatically. To answer this question appropriately, it will be important to:

Be real

Just because you want to impress the interviewer, you might want to use a tool called “imagination”. Imagination can be good, but this is not a good time or situation to use it. Your choice of a story should be something you have experienced and have been through.

Experience is the best teacher. It will help you stay consistent and calm throughout the response as you know exactly what you are talking about. The bad thing about making stories up is the possibility of making them sound like exaggerated stories

Use the STAR Method

After picking the right story, the best approach to producing the best answer is to use the STAR method. The STAR (Situation, Task, Approach, and Results) method helps you focus on all aspects of your story. This method will assist you with key points or outlines to your story which will help you stay concise and consistent.


What to avoid

Spending too much time on the failure

The inquiry is about how you handle failure, not just failure. So Instead of harping on what turned out badly, recognize the purposes for the episode and stress what you have realized and learned and what you presently do differently. Clearly describe the moves you made to guarantee that you wouldn’t make a similar slip-up.

Try not to raise excuses 

You shouldn’t be hoping to pardon your conduct or activities; all things being equal, show that you know about your shortcomings in that specific circumstance and spotlight on how you have dealt with or worked on them since.

Try not to paint anybody awful 

Here and there the failure you needed to deal with might be brought about by somebody’s mix-up. It is important that you don’t slam and begin your story by criticizing how imprudent the individual was. You should simply think of the circumstance, what you learned, and how you went about managing it. Speaking awful about others isn’t proficient nor is it moral.

Try not to dive excessively deep 

Indeed! You should speak the truth about the circumstance. Anyway simultaneously, you don’t need to admit your most profound and terrible failures. Try not to pick a failure that was the after effect of a massive personal or professional error. Failure can occur on the grounds that you share obligation with others, simply ensure you recognize your role and don’t attempt to avoid any responsibility totally.


Final Thoughts 

Failure is essential for development, and saying you haven’t fizzled or been in a bombed circumstance will make you seem as though you don’t hold yourself accountable for challenges. So as a brilliant candidate, pick a genuine story, be straightforward, utilize the STAR strategy, and try not to come up with excuses.

Interview Questions

Leave a Reply