Have You Ever Worked On A Project That Was A Failure? (With 10 Sample Interview Answers)

Failures are one of the best ways to improve and learn. Yet most people are afraid of making mistakes and improvising their skills and abilities. Working on projects is challenging as well as demanding and quite often, the team handling it makes mistakes. It is a common habit of interviewers to obtain knowledge about the mistakes committed and one can be thoroughly evaluated from the same.

Have You Ever Worked On A Project That Was A Failure

Why Is An Interviewer Interested In Your Failures?

Inexperienced candidates might think that by asking about your failures, an interviewer wants to mock you and embarrass you. But, this is hardly the truth. The responses that a candidate makes reveals several things about him, some prominent findings are listed below:

  1. To assess if a candidate understands his or her weaknesses
  2. To assess if the candidate accepts his shortcomings and acknowledges it
  3. To assess if a candidate is willing to make improvements
  4. How a candidate views situations that are hectic and burdensome?
  5. What are the perception of the candidate towards challenging and tough tasks?
  6. How much success goes into your head?
  7. Do you blame others for your mistakes?
  8. Are you the kind of person, who is only interested in appointing scapegoats?

Two Best Tips

1) Always close answer on a positive note

This is a tricky question that requires you to share your failure stories which have a negative effect on the mind of a person. Hence, it is of utmost importance to close the answer on a positive note. This could be done by using at least one method mentioned below:

  • Close the answer by saying that you are guilty and accept your mistakes.
  • Express your desire to improve your mistakes
  • Assure your interviewer that you won’t repeat these mistakes again in the future
  • Share the ways or methods, which you have adopted or will adopt to improve your mistakes

2) Limit Yourself

Though an interviewer, wants to know about your failures, you must not be too honest and share with them a long list of your failures. Rather, explain to them the story of anyone project failure that you have experienced during your previous tenure and if you are a fresher during your school or college days.

Ten Best Answers To Consider

Sample Answer One

Throughout my career, I have always enjoyed working on projects and tasks. I usually, take extra precautions while executing them, but I remember a project, where I made a big mistake. I was given the task to design the user manual of a software project incorporating effective and clean visual contents. I missed them completely and this led to a lot of my criticism.

Sample Answer Two

In my humble opinion, there is nothing like a failure. We either succeed or learn from our mistakes, which eventually makes us better and skillful. I remember when I was given a target to achieve in 7 days, but it took me almost 12 days to complete it. I failed miserably, but I never lost hope and analyzed the reasons for such a defeat. The analysis gave me parameters to work upon and I improved them by undertaking several ethics and measures.

Sample Answer Three

Being a senior sales manager, I was allotted the task to make a forecast of the sales of the company for the next 6 months. I tried my level best, but still there remained a few deficiencies and my forecast failed miserably. To be honest, it was a setback, but I chose to move forward and self-evaluated myself. Post this, I came across various deficiencies of mine giving me pointers to work upon and improve myself.

Sample Answer Four (For Freshers)

I am a fresh college graduate and this is my first application for a full-time job. Yet, I have experienced failures in my life during my school as well as college days. I remember, when I was in college, I was to give viva to a teacher of mine. We were told the chapters to be prepared, but due to my lethargy and carelessness, I prepared a different set of chapters. This affected my performance adversely and was I supposed to repeat the entire semester again. I took a vow then, that from now on I would double-check each and every step.

Sample Answer Five

Yes, sir, there have been a few similar instances. But I remember that during my previous tenure when I was working as an intern with a construction company, I made the wrong design of the building. The structure I designed was very weak and could have collapsed anytime. I was fortunate that this was caught at an early stage by my senior. From then on, I decided to improve myself and this made me more detail-oriented and meticulous.

Sample Answer Six

We can’t make excuses for failure, but sometimes the defeat is due to somebody else’s fault and this must come out. I remember, during my previous employment, when I was working with ABC Sales Corporation, we were given a target to acquire 100 new clients within 10 days. But there was no incentive or any motivation whatsoever from our seniors. The project failed miserably and no one was able to achieve the assigned targets. I believe this was a mistake on the part of the employer and not the workers.

Sample Answer Seven

I have always been a person who makes consistent and regular efforts to achieve my goals and targets. But still, I remember an instance, when I failed to prepare error-free financial reports of the company. There was a new technology in the market, which I refused to learn then and led to my failure. But I have learned from my mistake and have changed my obscure attitude. I am now always on my toes to learn skills and technologies.

Sample Answer Eight

I am an honest person and wish to declare that there have been several occasions when I was a part of project failures. This was largely a team failure, but I am a person who wants to assume responsibility. I accepted the mistakes made by me and straightaway started working to improve them by adopting several measures. I undertook a few training sessions online to ensure I remain on track and contribute to the team effectively.

Sample Answer Nine

No one is perfect and it would be hard to find an individual who has not made mistakes in his or her entire career. I personally, was a part of a group failure, when I was a newbie at my previous organization. I lacked practical work experience and knowledge but was still sent by my senior to close a deal with a prestigious client. I was unable to close the deal, due to lack of persuasive skills and attitude. I plugged this shortcoming of mine and undertook several online courses to mend it.

Sample Answer Ten

Projects are always risky, uncertain, and challenging no matter how much you plan or how effectively you plan. I was a part of the project, wherein my role was to estimate the cost requirements. I made a perfect analysis but excluded the escalation factor by mistake. This affected my estimate adversely and the actual cost went way beyond it, beating the purpose of making budgets in the first place. But, I have always improved myself and from then on I take extra precautions while making cost estimates.


Every question in an interview is carefully devised, set, and asked in order to generate the best response of the candidate helping in a thorough evaluation and analysis of the skills and abilities of the candidate. Hence, proper preparation for each question is pivotal and necessary. If you like our articles then don’t forget to share them with your family and friends. Also, do let us know through the comments section below, how much you like our articles.


  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=xlASDgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR19&dq=Have+You+Ever+Worked+On+A+Project+That+Was+A+Failure%3F+&ots=Xc2hUVNYBR&sig=Pm7uLxb4hgU0LaZGZRvlm8x1scM
  2. https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/13673270010372279/full/html
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