The Magic Failure Question in an Interview

19th March 2013

With most modern interview questions examining the accomplishments of a candidate, the opposite may prove more insightful. Asking the interviewee about the failures in their professional life can give a strong indication of their work personality, but only ask these questions when you’re vetting them on a short list for the job.

1.) Describe your last professional failure

Whilst many candidates will answer this by removing blame from themselves and bringing others into the mix, or perhaps the impossibility of their tasks, you may find others accept their failure and look to the positives. This shows a great working personality and should be favoured.

2.) What did your failure teach you?

This question probes the candidate’s capacity for transforming a failure into an opportunity. This type of thinking is vital for the modern business which needs thinkers of a creative and experimental ethic to tackle a rapidly changing market.

3.) What would you have done differently?

With an increasingly non-linear business world, things are changing very quickly and businesses should always be prepared for change. Finding a “thinker” in an interview can help you stay ahead of any potential failures, or be able to rapidly analyse and assess the failures and implement new processes.

Asking these three failure questions can help to identify the innovative thinkers, the right-brained storytellers who can adapt and drive your business forward. Problem solving candidates have the ability to break down a problem and tackle it quickly. Innovation leading candidates have the confidence and ability to experiment within their roles and Culture Evangelists will take risks and drive the fear from failure.

Use the RecruitmentRevolution fixed fee recruitment service to source your best candidates today.