Failure is an Option

“Tell me about a time that you failed to reach your goal.”

That can be one of the trickiest questions to be asked during a job interview. But to employers (and to yourself), it can be one of the most important. As much as I’d love for it to be, life isn’t all rainbows and sunshine and butterflies–failure is inevitable and can actually be one of the best things that happens to you.

Failing means you took a risk.

Risk-taking challenges us to think outside the box, do something differently, and try something new. Risk-taking means that there’s no guarantee that your idea or solution will work perfectly, and you might fail; but if you do, the reward of it possibly working makes that risk worthwhile. The best inventions didn’t happen overnight: they came with hours of thought, endless trials, and countless tweaks.

Failure can be motivational.

There have been moments when failing meant you hit rock bottom. And you didn’t like it. So you do everything in your power to avoid experiencing that feeling again, which turns your failure into a source of motivation. Failure may be the result, but it gives you an opportunity to revisit the path, think about what you could have done differently, and how that might have lead to a positive result.

Failure humanizes you.

No one is perfect and failing reminds us of that. It takes away unrealistic expectations and gives you a chance to realign and reset. Did you fail because you were working beyond your means? Did you fail because you overlooked a key input? Was your failure a result of moving too fast or poor planning? Once you realize why you failed, it becomes a self-realization moment when you can learn from your experience.

While success should always be your goal, failing is an option that is never off the table. And if you end up failing and falling: pick yourself up and dust yourself off, knowing that you’re stronger because of it. Whenever I was asked that question, I would give the example of signing up for too many activities that I was interested in, and then dropping the ball. What I learned about that experience was that I had a broad range of interests, but didn’t plan for all of my commitments. So now, I’m more structured with my time to meet the commitments I sign up for. So I’ll ask you again…tell me about a time that you failed?


Sejal is a Recruitment Marketing Project Manager at Intel. She is part of the team that is responsible for Intel’s global employment brand. This team helps connect candidates with Intel and Intel with candidates using channels such as the Jobs at Intel web site, the Life at Intel microsite and other Web 2.0 channels. Sejal specifically manages theJobs at Intel Blog and Intel’s recruitment Facebook strategy. Originally from Toronto, Ontario (yes—a real, breathing Canadian!), Sejal graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with her Bachelor’s in Communications before starting at Intel in 2008. When she’s not working, you’ll find Sejal working at crossing things off of her Bucket List (which includes skydiving, reading 1000 books and traveling the world), eating cupcakes or spending time with family and friends. To learn more about opportunities with Intel, visit, follow Intel on Twitter @JobsatIntel or check out the Jobs@Intel blog!

Related posts:

  1. Learning from Success and Failure
  2. Fail on an Olympic Level
  3. Three Lessons over Three Years

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