How to Talk About Failure During an Interview

A new podcast, Change Agent, explores creative solutions to people's problems. In one episode, "Telling the Truth," a recovering alcoholic talks about her challenges during job interviews. Should she explain the gap in her resume?

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For help, the moderator looks to Domino's, which had notoriously bad reviews of its pizza. CEO J. Patrick Doyle explains how the company took an open approach to admitting failure. Doyle led a turnaround by running commercials admitting criticism about their pizza, for example, that the crust "tastes like cardboard." The results are documented in a Domino's video posted on YouTube.

The woman looking for a job was able to apply what she learned during a mock interview. Part of her recovery process is about being truthful, so was open to the strategy.

During the podcast, we hear the woman admitting her challenges, although she goes on longer than may be useful or appropriate during a job interview. Still, the interviewer reacted positively to her telling the truth.


  • What are the risks to admitting failure in this way?
  • How could you apply this strategy to your own job search? What failing or misstep could you explain in a way that demonstrates self-reflection and learning from failure?
  • In what ways does the podcast demonstrate authenticity and vulnerability?