An exercise to know how to talk about your failures to a recruiter

Table of Contents

This exercise that can avoid a lot of cold sweats in maintenance is taken from the book Job interview, 15 exercises for students and interns by Alexandre De Gennaro, and of which HR Consultant UK is a partner.


Everyone has suffered setbacks in their journey and learned from them that have improved or enhanced.


Middle or end of maintenance.

Goal :

Identify the lessons you have learned from your failures. Find concrete examples where you have successfully used these lessons.


15 to 30 min

We all go through setbacks, you have to be aware of it. The importance in failure is to identify the source (the motives) and draw conclusions so as not to reproduce the failure.

“You should never bring up the discussion about your failures. Rather, you should be prepared to defend yourself, by showing, through relevant examples, the lessons you have learned from them.”


List your failures in all areas: academic, private, professional, sports, etc.

For each of them, objectively ask yourself the question: “What reasons made me fail and what lessons did I learn from them?”

Above all, don't blame someone else, you necessarily have a part of the responsibility in this failure and that is what interests you to move forward.

Then place concrete examples in the last box of situations where you have applied lessons learned from your failures.

Failure Analysis / reason Applied lessons
1. Year of school failure My organization to work on my classes was not good. I decided to take classes and study 45 minutes more each morning before going to school


During your schooling, you had to redo a year. Your recruiter will undoubtedly see it on your CV and they will probably ask you about it. You have two options in this situation: 1) put the blame on the whole world or 2) find your share of responsibility for this failure, assume it and show that you will not make the same mistake again now that you made it. experience.

Indeed in this situation, we tend to find external leaders to justify our situation: “My parents separated, my teacher was not good, I did not get along with my classmates, I was under bad influence, etc. ” You will always find external leaders, but the reality is that they only had an influence on you.. You therefore also have a share of responsibility, the key to success, and above all the solution so that this never happens again are in your hands.

If you do this analysis and can honestly explain to the recruiter what YOUR part was in the failure and why this will not happen again, you will have scored important points. In the case of our example, you missed your school year because your level of mathematics and English was too low. Explain to the recruiter that this failure marked you and made you realize that your learning method was not the right one. So you developed another and you never repeated.

In other words, it's about explaining how your new method has helped you. Approaching the problem this way will show that you are able to find solutions and not make the same mistakes again.

Read also: The 10 things that annoy recruiters



Leave a Replay

Why HR Consultants UK!

HR Consultant UK Offers HR advice for local businesses in the UK. Our HR Consultants Near Me Page will help you get in contact with local HR Consultancy.

Alternatively, view our list of cities covered by HR experts.  Its time to get all your HR issues solved! 

Enjoy the Blog!

Recent Posts

Follow Us

Sign up for our Newsletter

Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit

Empower Your HR. Reach Out for Expert Guidance Today!

We can help you!