Live Help Chat
How to answer Tell Me About a Time You Failed In Interviews

How to answer Tell Me About a Time You Failed In Interviews

How to answer Tell Me About a Time You Failed In Interviews

Job interviews are opportunities for candidates to showcase their skills, experience, and potential value to prospective employers. 

Among the array of questions that interviewers may pose, one, in particular, tends to make candidates break a sweat: "Tell me about a time you failed." Discussing past failures during an interview can be intimidating, but it is a crucial moment to demonstrate resilience, self-awareness, and the ability to learn and grow.

In this guide, we will explore how to tackle the question "Tell me about a time you failed" with confidence and finesse, transforming it into an opportunity to showcase your strengths and demonstrate the valuable lessons learned from challenging experiences. 

By embracing failure and using the STAR method to structure your responses, you can leave a lasting positive impression on interviewers and position yourself as a resilient and proactive candidate. So, let's delve into the art of embracing failure and turning setbacks into stepping stones toward success in your job interviews.

Tips To Answer Tell Me About a Time You Failed

TIP 1: Embrace the Question

In the world of job interviews, few questions evoke more apprehension than "Tell me about a time you failed." It can be a disconcerting moment when interviewers inquire about past setbacks and challenges. However, rather than approaching this question with trepidation, it is essential to embrace it with a positive mindset and recognize the hidden potential it holds.

At its core, the question about failure is not meant to unnerve or embarrass candidates. Rather, it serves as a window into their ability to cope with adversity and learn from their experiences. Interviewers want to see how candidates handle difficult situations, take ownership of their mistakes, and demonstrate resilience in the face of setbacks.

Embracing this question as an opportunity can help you shift your perspective from feeling vulnerable to showcasing your strengths. By acknowledging that failure is an inherent part of growth and development, you can demonstrate authenticity in your responses. Interviewers appreciate candidates who can reflect on their experiences and openly discuss challenges they have encountered in their professional journey.

Moreover, the way you address the question "Tell me about a time you failed" can reveal your maturity and growth mindset. A growth mindset is a belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work. When discussing failures, emphasizing the lessons learned and the positive outcomes of those experiences illustrates your capacity for continuous improvement.

So, how can you effectively embrace the question about failure during an interview? Firstly, approach the question with self-assurance and honesty. Avoid becoming defensive or evasive; instead, be forthright about the failure you choose to discuss. This transparency demonstrates integrity and genuine self-awareness.

Tip 3: Focus on The Lessons Learned

When addressing the question, take the opportunity to discuss the specific situation that led to the failure. Be candid about the challenges you encountered and the mistakes you made. However, instead of dwelling on the negative aspects, shift the focus towards the insights and knowledge gained from the experience.

Discuss the lessons learned and how they have influenced your decision-making process moving forward. Highlight how the failure served as a catalyst for self-reflection and improvement. Mention the specific actions you took to rectify the situation and the strategies you implemented to prevent similar setbacks in the future.

Moreover, emphasize how the failure has contributed to your personal growth and resilience. Discuss how you have become more adaptable and open to feedback as a result of the experience. Showcase your ability to learn from mistakes and turn them into opportunities for self-improvement.

Furthermore, demonstrate how the lessons learned from the failure have positively impacted your professional development. Highlight how you have become more adept at problem-solving, communication, and conflict resolution as a result of the experience. Share how the failure has shaped your approach to challenges and your willingness to take calculated risks.

By focusing on the lessons learned, you can showcase your maturity and growth mindset to the interviewer. Discuss how the failure has made you a stronger and more capable individual, both in your personal and professional life.

TIP 3: Showcasing the Reliability and Adaptability in Your Situation

Discuss a specific situation where you encountered a significant obstacle or failure. Describe how you initially felt and the impact it had on you emotionally and professionally. Then, delve into the steps you took to overcome the setback and the strategies you employed to stay composed under pressure.

Emphasize your ability to assess the situation objectively and avoid dwelling on negative emotions. Explain how you reframed the failure as an opportunity for growth and learning, which enabled you to maintain a positive mindset throughout the process.

Discuss the actions you took to bounce back from the failure and adapt your approach to achieve a positive outcome. Highlight your resourcefulness in finding alternative solutions and your willingness to seek support and guidance when needed.

Furthermore, share how this experience has made you more resilient and adaptable in your career. Mention specific instances where you have applied the lessons learned from this failure to navigate subsequent challenges successfully.

By showcasing resilience and adaptability, you demonstrate to the interviewer that you possess the tenacity and flexibility needed to thrive in a fast-paced and ever-changing work environment. Employers seek candidates who can remain composed and effective even in the face of adversity, and discussing your ability to do so can leave a lasting impression.

TIP 4: Highlight Your Positivity

When discussing the specific instance of failure, approach it objectively and avoid assigning blame to others or circumstances beyond your control. Take ownership of the mistakes made and highlight how you recognized the need for improvement.

Shift the focus towards the actions you took to address the failure in a positive and constructive manner. Discuss the solutions you implemented and how you collaborated with others to rectify the situation.

Emphasize the lessons learned from the failure and how they have contributed to your personal and professional growth. Share how the experience has made you more resilient and better equipped to handle challenges in the future.

Furthermore, discuss the positive outcomes that arose from the failure. Highlight any valuable insights gained, innovative ideas generated, or improvements made to processes or strategies.

Maintain a composed and confident demeanor throughout your response. Avoid using negative language or downplaying your abilities due to failure. Instead, focus on how the experience has made you a stronger and more capable individual.

By staying positive and professional in your response, you demonstrate your ability to handle setbacks with maturity and grace. Employers value candidates who can maintain their composure and focus on finding solutions even in challenging situations.

TIP 4: Practicing and Rehearsing Your IntervFiew

When it comes to answering the question "Tell me about a time you failed" in a job interview, preparation and rehearsal are key to delivering a confident and well-articulated response. Practicing your answer in advance will not only help you feel more at ease during the actual interview but also ensure that you convey your thoughts clearly and succinctly.

Start by reflecting on past experiences where you encountered failures or setbacks. Choose a specific example that best demonstrates your ability to handle challenges and learn from mistakes. Outline the key points you want to address in your response, including the situation, the actions you took, the lessons learned, and the positive outcomes that arose from the experience.

With your points outlined, practice delivering your response out loud. Focus on speaking clearly and confidently in the job interview, maintaining a positive and professional tone throughout. Pay attention to your body language and facial expressions, ensuring they align with your message.

Enlist the help of a friend, family member, or career advisor to conduct a mock interview with you. This will provide an opportunity to receive feedback on your response and make any necessary adjustments. Practice answering the question multiple times until you feel comfortable and natural in your delivery.

During the actual interview, take a moment to collect your thoughts before responding to the question. Remember to speak at a steady pace, and if needed, take a brief pause to gather your words. Avoid rushing through your answer and ensure that you address all the key points you prepared.


Ready to land your dream job? Look no further than Interview Expert. Our experienced professionals provide personalized interview coaching and interview preparation services tailored to your career goals. From commonly asked questions to effective interview techniques, we'll equip you with the skills and confidence to excel. Don't leave your success to chance – choose Interview Expert today for interview preparation services and make your next interview a winning experience!


Answering the question "Tell me about a time you failed" in a job interview is not something to fear but an opportunity to showcase your resilience, self-awareness, and growth mindset. Embracing this question with a positive outlook allows you to demonstrate your authenticity and ability to handle challenges professionally.

When responding, focus on the valuable lessons learned from the failure and how it contributed to your personal and professional growth. Discuss the specific actions you took to address the situation and the positive outcomes that arose from the experience. Highlight your resilience and adaptability, showcasing your ability to stay composed under pressure and bounce back from setbacks.

Maintaining a positive and professional tone throughout your response is crucial. Avoid dwelling on negative emotions and instead, emphasize the proactive steps you took to address the failure and the subsequent improvements made. Employers value candidates who can handle setbacks with grace and focus on finding solutions.

Practice and rehearsal are essential in preparing for this question. By rehearsing your response in advance, you can feel more confident and articulate your thoughts clearly and succinctly during the actual interview. Seek feedback from others to refine your response and ensure that you deliver it with confidence and poise.

Hope you like this article on the Best answer for Tell Me About a Time You Failed.

If you have any queries or suggestions, you can reach us at 

For more guidance on interview preparation, contact Interview Expert

Want to talk to an expert?

CALL: 859-572-4499 please Tap