Interview question asking you to describe a mistake or failure & lesson learned

Hello fellow HR practitioners, 

I recently had a 2nd phone interview with a large and established logistics company. I was asked to describe a time when I made a mistake which resulted in failure and what was the lesson learned. 

I shared an leadership example from recent situation and put it in the STAR format (situation, task, action, result.) I could tell by the interviewers response that it wasn't quite what she was looking for.   At the end of our call I asked if I had answered her questions thoroughly or if she needed additional information/clarification. 

She replied that I had answered the questions well and would be getting the invite for the in-person interview. However, there was one question that my answer was "good" but could have been better. The answer that she was hoping for would have been more tactical in nature. 

Can anyone give me a better example as I'm fairly confident that I will be asked this question again. 


Gus DeLucia 

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    • Colleen Pfaller
    • Talent Partner for Your Growing Business
    • Colleen
    • 4 yrs ago
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    Hi  Gus DeLucia ! Colleen (Drennen) here.  Did she say which question could have been better? It's hard to guess what a recruiter is looking for -- it's going to be based on the uniqueness and the culture that they represent. That being said, you would be an awesome addition to any organization-- but especially one that values honesty and people. 

    • Hi @Colleen Pfaller!  Thanks so much for the kind words and reply. She wanted an example of a time when I failed and what the take away was or how I used it to improve myself. I had given her a recent example where I didn't take advise and proceeded to make a decision based on information I believed to be accurate. The take away was that its good to pause and consider additional inputs. I had my in-person with Amazon yesterday and it went very well.  I believe I will be offered the position- fingers crossed!

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