Tagged: Tell Me Your Failure Resume
May 9, 2019 at 8:49 am #2651JeffAltmanCoachKeymaster
Today, I’ve got one of those fun interview questions, I want to be clear, it’s not going to be asked to the staff level people. It’s going to be asked for a more senior individual. And when you see the question, doesn’t it really throw you for a loop?
What is your failure resume?
That’s because we’ve all been conditioned to talk about all our successes. We’ve been conditioned to talk about all the positive contributions that we’ve made. But, I must tell you, the failure resume is the flip side of the coin and it’s very revealing.
You see, if you’re an employer, and you’re listening to a failure resume, you’re hearing something relatively trivial. The signal that you’re giving is that you never went for something big, right? You think about it.
“Oh, there’s this project I worked on right before I had this job where I miscalculated something and we lost $5,000.”
If that’s part of your failure resume, well, the fact of the matter is you never were going for the gusto. you were never going for the big win. And it’s not about just simply that. It’s about the awareness that you show of yourself, in the reflection of where “the miss” was.
I learned about this question, listening to a podcast with a woman named Nina Jacobson, who’s a movie producer, I believe. She’s worked her way up through Hollywood. She has been involved with some enormous hits and she’s very candid talking about the misses that she had, where she miscalculated, where she over budgeted particular films that didn’t deserve that kind of budget, and wound up being bombs.
And she did it because “I like this story. It reminded me of something I worked on before.” And that wasn’t a good enough reason. And the thing was a dog. She’s talking about, you know, a lot of money. And you’re going to talk about a lot of money in your world.
Don’t hide; own it. Own the mistake is well, and, more importantly, what you learned from it because it’s the mistakes that shape how you proceed. Thus, you can talk about taking that mistake and going from there to advance into the next situation or the next opportunity and not make that mistake, so that your organization and the next organization and the one after that can profit from that previous failure.
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