The Talent500 Blog

How to Answer “What Is Your Biggest Failure?” Interview Question?

During your job interview, recruiters could ask several questions. These questions aim to assess your professional experiences and your ability to handle complicated situations at work. As a result, one of the most common questions includes- ‘What is your biggest failure?’ With this question, they try to comprehend how you address failures.

In addition, enhancing your interview skills and increasing your prospects of qualifying for the interview is essential. You can achieve this by gaining a better understanding of how to respond to these types of questions. In this article, we discuss the significance of reviewing your responses to such questions. Above all, you can delve into the strategies for addressing the interview question ‘What is your greatest failure?’ effectively. It will also provide a compilation of sample answers.

Importance of Reviewing ‘What Is Your Biggest Failure?’ Sample Answers

Most importantly, before appearing for any interview, it is crucial to review, ‘What is your biggest failure?’ This is a common question you can expect from recruiters. When they ask this interview question, they try to evaluate your ability and self-awareness to recognise and identify your limitations. 

Moreover, Interviewers can gain valuable insights into candidates’ approaches to failure and their capacity to learn from mistakes. Adequate preparation for such questions, like reviewing sample responses, can enable you to deliver a succinct, clear, and confident answer.

For instance, past failures in a candidate’s professional journey can be a pivotal aspect of their growth and development. They provide indications of a professional’s willingness to take calculated risks and venture beyond their comfort zone. An individual’s perspectives on concepts like success, failure, and risk offer interviewers a window into their worldview and life outlook.

Courage, determination, and resilience in the face of failures represent highly attractive qualities in a candidate. That is to say, these qualities That is to say, these qualities are vital in both professional and personal contexts.

What Does Recruiter Want to Listen?

The interviewer poses this question not to induce nervousness. But they want to gain insight into your ability to handle challenging situations and your capacity for learning from them. 

Many interviewers inquire about failures to assess your response to adversity. They aim to learn whether you can extract valuable lessons from your mistakes. Furthermore, recruits ensure that you can maintain an impartial perspective and take steps to prevent similar errors in the future.

Your response to this question provides a window into your character. This makes it essential to select a genuine failure experience. So, it should not merely be a situation that didn’t go as planned. Furthermore, your answer should primarily emphasise the lessons learnt from the experience and the changes you intend to implement.

Things Not to Say for The Question “What Is Your Biggest Failure”?

When responding to the question “What is your greatest failure?” in an interview, it’s essential to be careful about what you say. Here are some things you should avoid saying:

  • Refrain from blaming colleagues, team members, or external factors for your failure. Taking responsibility is critical, and shifting blame can reflect poorly on your character.
  • While it’s essential to focus on your growth and lessons learned, don’t minimise the significance of the failure. Be honest about its impact while emphasising how you’ve overcome it.
  • Your response should be professional and related to your career. Avoid discussing deeply personal or sensitive topics unrelated to the job.
  • Avoid giving a vague response. It doesn’t provide specific details about the failure, what went wrong, and the steps you took to rectify it. Direct responses demonstrate self-awareness and problem-solving abilities.
  • Keep your response relevant to the job and the company. Sharing a failure that has no bearing on the role or organisation may confuse the interviewer.

How to Answer the Interview Question, ‘What Is Your Biggest Failure?’

Devote more time to clarifying the personal insights you’ve gained. Avoid fixating on the specific incident Instead of lingering on the details of what went wrong. Moreover, pinpoint the underlying causes of the situation and underscore the valuable lessons you’ve acquired. Describe the proactive steps you’ve taken to ensure that you don’t repeat the same mistake.

Refrain from blaming a person or situation. A graduate job interview shouldn’t resemble the dramatic finale of a reality TV show. Avoid seeking excuses for your behaviour or actions. Instead, demonstrate your awareness of your weaknesses in that particular scenario. Then, concentrate on the measures you’ve undertaken to address or improve upon them since.

Use it as a launching point to discuss achievements. Begin with providing an account of your ‘failure’ pivot. Then, discuss how the lessons learned from that experience have propelled you to success in another context. Lastly, delve into that narrative.

List of ‘What Is Your Biggest Failure?’ Sample Answers

  1. Project Management Failure: One of my biggest mistakes was underestimating how long a complicated job would take to finish. Therefore, I failed to meet a crucial deadline. Nevertheless, I gained important knowledge regarding precise project planning and communication. Since then, I’ve used more strict project management strategies and completed all projects ahead of schedule.
  2. Communication Breakdown: My biggest failure occurred when I didn’t effectively communicate changes in a project’s scope to my team. This led to confusion and a missed opportunity to deliver quality work. I now prioritise transparent communication, regularly updating team members to ensure we’re all on the same page.
  3. Customer Service Mishap: Early in my career, I mishandled a customer complaint, resulting in the loss of a valuable client. I took this failure to heart and made a conscious effort to improve my customer service skills. Today, I have a proven track record of resolving customer issues and retaining their trust.
  4. Teamwork Challenge: I experienced a significant failure in a team project when I failed to address a personality clash within the group. It affected our overall performance and the quality of our work. I’ve since developed strong conflict resolution skills and actively promoted a harmonious team environment to prevent such issues.
  5. Sales Presentation Fumble: During a critical sales presentation, I froze under pressure and couldn’t effectively convey our product’s value. This resulted in a lost opportunity. I’ve since honed my public speaking and presentation skills, and I now excel in conveying complex information with confidence.


To sum up, the question “What is your greatest failure?” might catch you off guard. But it’s essential to provide a compelling response. Embracing your mistakes showcases your sincerity and highlights your positive outlook. Your interviewer must grasp that this failure served as a valuable learning experience. If you navigate this question effectively, it can pave the way for numerous opportunities.

Nemo Job

Nemo Job

Senior Writer at Talent500. Enjoys long walks on the beach, when the beach is closed. Fascinated by all things related to anime, comics, video games, music, and cinema. Cautiously optimistic. Relentlessly sarcastic.

Add comment