Friday, July 12, 2013

Interview: What was your biggest failure and who was responsible for it?

What was your biggest failure and who was responsible for it?

There are actually two that I always think back on, but I'll explain the one that I actually had more control over. The other was not in my control and is a much more complex story to tell in an interview.

There was a person that I was just unable to train properly. I failed to get the new team member to do the work effectively and with a certain level of quality. But the biggest failure wasn't that he was not able to do the work because I have already trained several others with less effort. Although I hate to use the excuse, the new member did not have the potential to do the work.

He hurts the team on many fronts: our public image to other teams and departments, our morale to cover his errors, and spending more time correcting his errors. I did something that I had never done before which was to write a message to my team lead that we could not afford to keep on our team. I even sat down with her and explained my reasoning. Unfortunately, there were high powers that prevented my recommendations.

Even after about a year since he started (I was only 6 months when I trained him), I still do not think he meets minimum effectiveness nor quality. I pride myself on finding solutions to problems, so this seems like a huge failure on my part to either find him the proper role or off our team. I have been forced to accept the situation in part because my own performance was impacted by helping.

Edit: This was a longer story which I had edited out.


References

What's your greatest weakness? - I thought this was an interesting read
http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130709020109-52594-answering-the-question-what-s-your-greatest-weakness