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15 Toughest Interview Questions (and Answers!)

Tania Khadder | GovCentral

9. What is your greatest failure, and what did you learn from it?

Bad answer:
I never finished law school – and everything that’s happened since has taught me that giving up, just because the going gets tough, is a huge mistake.”

You don’t want to actually highlight a major regret – especially one that exposes an overall dissatisfaction with your life. Instead, focus on a smaller, but significant, mishap, and how it has made you a better professional.

Good answer:
“When I was in college, I took an art class to supplement my curriculum. I didn’t take it very seriously, and assumed that, compared to my Engineering classes, it would be a walk in the park. My failing grades at midterm showed me otherwise. I’d even jeopardized my scholarship status. I knew I had to get my act together. I spent the rest of the semester making up for it, ended up getting a decent grade in the class. I learned that no matter what I’m doing, I should strive to do it to the best of my ability. Otherwise, it’s not worth doing at all.”




Next Page: How do you explain your gap in employment?


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  • Laura-1_max50

    ellebean

    over 5 years ago

    70 comments

    My experience in State Government was fulfilling in a many ways, I worked in an young agency called Department of Water Resources, Natural Resources Administration and I spent more than a decade with this agency in changing capacities as I evolved and progressed into an administrative capacity. Since leaving government service to acquire my Bachelor's Degree in Social Work I have longed to serve again. My experience was that we were all hard-working, contrary to common reputation of people in government service. It was during my government service that I learned the value of change as I observed the evolution of this young agency adapting to the needs of the State, in concert with the Federal Government and Local Government. The collaboration among different levels of government was vibrant and I long to belong to such an organization again, as I return from an early retirement, with years of experiences and a college degree and the wisdom that those two components necessarily bring.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    PatBagley

    over 5 years ago

    14 comments

    The ability to do research for audits that were assigned from the home office each year. The improvement from year to year.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    PatBagley

    over 5 years ago

    14 comments

    Military, it gave me the structure and a direction inwhich for my life to go after high school.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    PatBagley

    over 5 years ago

    14 comments

    Adjusting from the military to civilian life. Had a small window that was spent working through a temperary agencie. This was how I got the job with Wal-Mart

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    PatBagley

    over 5 years ago

    14 comments

    Finishing a degree and starting to set up for a retirement area close to family on the east coast when reaching retirement age.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    PatBagley

    over 5 years ago

    14 comments

    Loking at maybe starting a new career. Can retire with 20 years and before the age of 62.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    PatBagley

    over 5 years ago

    14 comments

    Made me see the gray areas in many work areas. Let make decision then ask as to why insteaded of just saying it was right or wrong.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    PatBagley

    over 5 years ago

    14 comments

    Early out form military at 16 years. Have 20 years with Wal-Mart can take a retirement after 26 June. Looking to start a new career.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    234567890

    over 5 years ago

    6 comments

    To whom it may concern

    I feel like it time to get involved in these hard times and try to do anything to help. During the time of my growing up every thing was ok. But lately every thing is starting to get out of control and I just want to do my part as little as it may be.
    .

  • Kris_by_tallulah_max50

    kris_ben

    over 5 years ago

    8 comments

    I have employment gaps. In truth there were not any red herrings in my departures. I received great reviews and sometimes have copies of those reviews to demonstration excellent work habits ---- if I can get that far. Some of my previous jobs the end date was pre-determined before I was chosen. And in other cases, (which is the practice in my industry) if your boss is let go---you will be let go as well. The new person brings their staff with them and seldom keeps at-will employee of previous leadership.

    But when you are transitioning to a different political environment where those practices are not the norm it can make you look inconsistent to have several term positions and gaps in employment.

  • 715551-2-falls-at-hanabanilla-cuba_1__max50

    chord0

    over 5 years ago

    64 comments

    I have been asked to explain about employment gaps, right now with the difficulty of finding a job, I just tell them the truth I have been to a lot of job fairs and sent a lot of resumes, but unable to find a job, officially I have a job as a tutor but that is on call, so is not every day. But I do emphasize to the interviewer about the classes I have been taken and the classes that I plan to take and that I will continue with my degree plans. I suppose lots of people are unemployed so they have probably this same problem, although the interviewer or employer maybe not be aware of the bad economy.
    As far as government jobs, I mean federal, I passed the census test, but they never called me, I imagine lots of people took the test and passed it, the government does not have jobs for everyone in that area I imagine. Other jobs I either do not have preference because I am not a veteran, and also other jobs I had all the qualifications but somebody with a higher degree was given the job, which could also happen any place.
    chord0

  • Bt_cropped_-_know_fest_max50

    Trainer_Guy

    over 5 years ago

    4 comments

    Generalizations like "Im a great communicator" mean nothing. Tie your communications competency to something tangible, like how working in sales increased your communications skills and confidence to generate some outstanding numbers that contributed to the company's profitability. Tie what you are to what you have accomplished at every turn along the way, especially when it's face to face.

  • Kim_-_oct_2006_max50

    KimBird

    over 5 years ago

    2 comments

    DoctorTractor:
    I understand your frustration over having the requisite education and still not being able to land the job. In this age of electronic hiring, the most important aspect is to highlight your qualifications in a way that will get you noticed. Perhaps seeking some guidance in your resume prep/KSA completion would better serve your objectives? Karen Troutman is one resource I've heard mentioned on this site: http://www.resume-place.com/ ...but there are many others. We all feel like giving up at times! Rechannel your energies and frustration by creating a gameplan and then work closely with a someone like Karen who can help you acheive those goals.

    Good luck to you!

  • Gov_central_picture_max50

    JerryGJones

    over 5 years ago

    62 comments

    Although your “good answers" may be the way to go, they sounded very template-oriented to me, and if I was doing the hiring, I would get red flags all over the place with answers like these. I think these are good examples to use as guidelines, but an applicant should definitely re-word them to sound a little bit more “human” and not so robotic and fake. Also, the typing errors throughout these pages definitely take away the credibility of what this article is supposed to give. If this were written to me, as an employer, I would put it in the trash and go on with the next applicant. Spelling errors are indicators of how efficient the person would be on the job. With spelling errors on just about every other page, these examples don’t come across as very credible to me….useful in some ways, but not very credible.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    BarneyFife

    over 5 years ago

    2 comments

    DoctorTractor needs to go back to school and learn how to construct a grammatically correct sentence. With such poor communication skills, It is unlikely that he'll be found competitive for positions that pay compensation packages seeking to attract college educated appilcants.

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