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How do you answer 'Can you describe a time when you failed to meet expectations on a deadline'?

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January 28, 2013 6:47PM

Honestly! The questions asked on an interview want to know how you think, how you respond to situations, and whether you would be a good fit for their company. They are not interested in how some anonymous person on the internet would answer this question.
Generally speaking, if I'm going to miss a deadline, I tell my boss before hand. He then either extends the deadline or throws more assets at the problem to meet the deadline.
A good answer for this question would include a non-crucial deadline (perhaps providing feedback to an internal committee or completing your personal filing) in the name of customer service.

For example, "I was unable to meet my personal deadline of getting all of my reports filed by month-end because one of my customers had a critical issue I spent lots of time rectifying." Or, "Always one to take on extra duties, I volunteered to serve on my company's sports team committee. We were all supposed to bring ideas to the next meeting, but my teammate was out sick for the entire week and I covered her duties to ensure the customer received the same level of service they deserved."