What your interviewer really wants to know is this: How will you respond when you fail in the role you’re applying for?

WHAT NOT TO DO: Talk about an insignificant failure, a group failure, or a failure that resulted from someone else’s mistake.

A failure story does not need to demonstrate how you saved the day and fixed the situation. However, you need to clearly admit failure and demonstrate a willingness to learn and improve.

Don’t stress if the interviewer asks you specific questions about the failure or asks you what you could have done differently. He/she is doing this because of certainty illusion: an over-weighted desire for complete confidence or certainty. Testing you in this way provides a sense of predictability of how you will manage a failure in your new role.

Be careful not to blame anyone else or the circumstances. The interviewer wants to feel fully confident that you’ll be able to work under stressful deadlines and learn from your failures. It’s critical to practice answering this question with someone knows how to test your logic and force you to think quickly and under pressure.

Recommended response time: 2 minutes.

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