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Human Resources/Screening Questions


Describe a time that you failed and what you would do differently to succeed next time around?

This seems to be a tough question for me. Do you have any advice to answering this question? and also more in depth what are they looking for?

Hello Jack,

Thanks for your question.  Here is my opinion.

The interviewer(s) are looking for your ability to learn from your mistakes, to build that learning into let's say your project work so that the errors or mistake(s) are not repetitive, and to see if you might look in the mirror when something like a project, or a phase of a project, does not go so well.  So your answer should reflect these things and ideally you should use an actual example where you did alter your project planning approach in the future to exemplify that you did learn from your past experience.

Here is an example. So let's say you have developed a fairly extensive outline for a project, developed slides and text to explain it and your boss is supportive and tells you to proceed. So you release communications to the audiences who will be impacted by the project and find a backlash of non-supportive comments. Your boss did not see the reaction coming when he gave you the go ahead and neither did you. Looking at the project detail and audiences (co-workers in other departments, other employees, a few other managers, etc.) that are involved/impacted you find that most of the negative reaction could have been avoided had you done some focus group meetings to guide the project through the planning stages.  The focus groups would have identified what would not work and why or at least provided a variety of different approaches or ideas to make the project roll-out seamless and more beneficial to the audiences impacted by the project. So you form some focus groups to alter the project's structure and when it is rolled out for a second time it is well received and produces the desire business improvement that was planned. Or, you build-in focus groups as part of the next projects planning and build that type of external feedback into the projects process map.

So you have shown where you have made some mistakes in planning in the past but developed processes for your future work to assure prior errors are not repeated.

That is my opinion Jack.  I hope you fine it of value.  I am always interested in improvement and feedback and would appreciate it if you would evaluate this response using the 4 question, multiple choice survey on  It only takes a minute.

Good luck going forward with your work and career!


Mark   IHRCC, LLC  

Human Resources

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Mark Eichinger


Any type of question related to domestic and international Human Resources work. My H.R. passions include Compensation design and systems in competitive markets, Health and Safety in Industrial Environments, Performance Management, Talent Management (Hiring, Selection, Employee Development, Compensation, Creating Space, etc.), Communications, Coaching, Counseling, Leadership, and Management. Questions I cannot answer: I am sure there are questions within these categories that I may not be able to answer but my experience below would suggest those would be few.


I own International Human Resources Coaching and Consulting, LLC. Previously, I successfully held corporate executive and management leadership positions from 1979 to 2007 in two $9B+ multi-national corporations. Positions included: Vice President, Human Resources for the Asia Pacific Region, Eaton Corporation; I was based in Shanghai, China. Prior to that assignment, Vice President, Human Resources International and Operations, Eaton World Headquarters, Cleveland, Ohio with global responsibility for Eaton’s Human Resources practices, international assignee management, and Regional Human Resources Directors in Asia Pacific, Europe, and Central and South America. Specifically, my experience spans work at domestic and international locations at the operating plant, division, business unit, and corporate levels and most business scenarios to include startups, closedowns, restructurings, integrations, and ongoing operations. I am an Eaton Business Excellence Assessment Examiner (Malcolm Baldrige based system). I introduced processes and process mapping into the Human Resources environment. I have extensive experience with and working in domestic and international organization matrix structures. In the Asia Pacific region, my responsibilities included, leading the regions H.R. team and processes, managing the H.R. relationship with the corporation, creating and leading the professional and general manager development programs, China’s university relations program and managing the Asia Pacific key leader’s process. I have coached managers and leaders. I am a professional listener, my style open, direct, and focused on leader accountability and employee engagement. In Summary, my career responsibility included more than 60,000 employees, 60 union and union free operations, and 45 countries. I also lived in Korea for two years while in service with the USA’s armed forces.

SCORE – Counselors to Americas Small Business; at various locations I have also belonged to Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis and the Chamber of Commerce. I have served on Boards of medical, community and institutional organizations.

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Youngstown State University. MBA work Youngstown State University, and University of Bridgeport. University of Tennessee, Lean Manufacturing Certified. Thunderbird School of Global Management, Management Certified.

Awards and Honors
Corporate level awards for compensation systems, communications campaigns.

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