You know it’s coming when you sit there in the interview: You can’t just speak for yourself forever. It’s true, employers are scrutinizing how you deal with failure. And they certainly don’t want to hear you turn a feature like perfectionism into a weakness.
Some hiring managers consider failing questions to be the most important in any candidate search – so does strategist Terina Allen. “We want leaders and team members to feel comfortable with ambiguity who are comfortable with change and who are capable and willing to adapt,” she wrote on Forbes. “To hire high-performance people and leaders who have these qualities, we need to better assess whether candidates are willing to accept failure as an option.”
A lot of research really supports her theory. In February, the University of Notre Dame published a study showing that failures, especially major setbacks, can lead to exploration and innovation how safe it will be to play it. That doesn’t mean you should just tell the hiring manager all about how you hit rock bottom: Your potential employer is largely looking for evidence of your rehabilitation and ingenuity. Failure is simply an excuse to show how well you solve problems, whether it’s work or between individuals.
One of the biggest motivations that lead to exhaustion is the fear of failure. Making mistakes should not hold you back, especially when you are looking to move on to the next big adventure. Feel free to think about the ways you’ve done wrong – they’re the key to making things better in the future.