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When you suffer a setback, how does that emotionally affect you and your work?

1 of 15 Adaptability Interview Questions and Answers Written by Rachelle Enns

Updated on March 23rd, 2019 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
How to Answer

The interviewer would like to know how you react when it comes to setbacks in the workplace. Everyone handles the stress and disappointment of setbacks differently. Discuss with the interviewer how you typically cope with delays in the workplace.

Professional Answer Examples
General
Answer example

"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback, I will take a few moments to debrief with my manager and discuss what I could have done differently. Then, I move on!"

Admin
Answer example

"I allow myself a moment to be frustrated when a setback occurs, but never publicly. I may go for a quick walk on my lunch break, for instance. When a setback occurs, I prefer to take from the experience rather than have it take energy away from me."

Manager
Answer example

"Setbacks can be trying, but I find that you have to learn how to lose before you learn how to win. While I never enjoy a setback, I use them as a stepping off point to something even better."

Marketing
Answer example

"Setbacks happen for a reason, and they do not affect me emotionally in the least. I am a very pragmatic thinker and stay focused on my project despite the challenges that come my way. I am a creative thinker, so setbacks are often used as a new jumping off point to something even better."

Retail
Answer example

"When working in a customer facing role, as I do, setbacks will happen on a regular basis. I recall one time when I hit my weekly sales target by just a hair. Ten minutes before closing, a customer returned an item purchased from me. It put me in the hole! Ugh! It felt like such a burn. With that said, I took that enthusiasm and applied it to my following weeks' KPI's and knocked it out of the park."

Sales
Answer example

"Salespeople are competitive and thus, tend to take things personally when setbacks occur. I become internally frustrated when my goal fails or a perceived "done deal" falls through. When this happens, I will go through a mental rundown of what I could have done differently. It can certainly be emotionally taxing, but I also learn a ton from processing these mistakes."

Teacher
Answer example

"I need to understand that setbacks happen as a teacher. Whether it is a student's learning, a policy change, or lack of funding. When these setbacks happen, I improvise, as all great teachers must do!"

Cost Accountant
Answer example

"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback, I will take a few moments to debrief with my manager and discuss what I could have done differently. Then, I move on!"

Optometry School
Answer example

"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be very disheartening, especially when involving a project that I have put a lot of time and effort into. I understand that setbacks happen often, and to everyone - despite their level of expertise or years of experience. If I experience a major setback I will take a few moments to internally debrief, get some fresh air if possible, or discuss what I could have done differently with a mentor. Then, I move on. Rather than dwell on my mistakes, I choose to learn from them."

Kitchen Manager
Answer example

"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback I will take a few moments to debrief with my team and discuss what we could have done differently. Then, we implement what we learned, and we move on!"

Archivist
Answer example

"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback I will take a few moments to debrief with my manager and discuss what I could have done differently. Then, I move on!"

Residency
Answer example

"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be very disheartening, especially when involving a patient. I understand that setbacks happen often, and to everyone - despite their level of expertise or years of experience. If I experience a major setback I will take a few moments to internally debrief, get some fresh air if possible, or discuss what I could have done differently with a mentor. Then, I move on. People need me to recover quickly so that I can concentrate on the next case."

Actor and Actress
Answer example

"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback, I will take a few moments to debrief with my director and discuss what I could have done differently. Then, I move on!"

Academic Dean
Answer example

"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback, I will take a few moments to debrief with a mentor, and discuss what I could have done differently. Then, I move on!"

Biological Scientist
Answer example

"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing and can be a bit disheartening, especially when research hours are lost for example. I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback, I will take a few moments to debrief with my manager and discuss what I could have done differently. Then, I move on!"

Electrician Apprentice
Answer example

"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback, I will take a few moments to debrief with my site manager and discuss what I could have done differently. Then, I move on!"

Nurse Practitioner
Answer example

"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback, I will take a few moments to debrief with the physician on call, and discuss what I could have done differently. Then, I move forward with the knowledge that I gained."

Animal Control Workers
Answer example

"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback I will take a few moments to debrief with my manager, or team, and discuss what I could have done differently. Then, I move on!"

Heavy Equipment Operator
Answer example

"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback I will take a few moments to debrief with my supervisor and discuss what I could have done differently. Then, I move on!"

Clinical Nurse Specialist
Answer example

"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If my patient experiences a major setback, I will take a few moments to debrief with the doctor and discuss what I could have done differently, if anything."

Chef
Answer example

"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback I will take a few moments to debrief with my team and discuss what I could have done differently. Then, I move on! As a chef, my environment is much too busy to spend time dwelling on setbacks."

Model
Answer example

"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback, I will take a few moments to debrief and discuss with the director or photographer what I could have done differently. Then, I try again until I nail it!"

Alcohol and Drug Counselor
Answer example

"I deal with my emotions the same way that I encourage my patients to deal with theirs. First I control my breathing, walk away from the situation if possible and talk about how the situation is making me feel."

Acting
Answer example

"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback I will take a few moments to debrief and discuss with the director what I could have done differently. Then, I move on!"

ABA Therapist
Answer example

"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback I will take a few moments to debrief and discuss what I could have done differently, with a more seasoned behavioral therapist in the office. Then, I move forward with new treatment methods."

Written by:

Rachelle Enns
Rachelle Enns is a job search expert, executive headhunter, career catalyst, and interview coach. Utilized by top talent from Fortune companies like Microsoft, General Electric, and Nestle, she helps professionals position themselves in today's competitive digital marketplace. Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume and Executive Resume Solutions, two companies focused on helping job seekers get their edge back. She helps everyone from new graduates looking for their first placement, to CEO's who want more out of their career. Rachelle coaches students to executives on how to master the toughest interview questions and how to handle the most bizarre interview situations; all with confidence and poise. Rachelle trains other career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers, globally. A big part of her job is also spent coaching HR professionals on how to bring the human touch back into their interview and hiring process.
First written on: 01/07/2017
Last modified on: 03/23/2019

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