Sarah Robb O’Hagan

By: Marina Nazario

Sarah Robb O’Hagan knows a thing or two about failure.

She also knows quite a bit about success.

Robb O’Hagan, now 43, lost two jobs, back-to-back, when she was in her late 20s.

“It was awful,” she recalls. ” I literally thought, ‘I am over.'”

But she was far from it.

She went on to become the Marketing Director/General Manager at Nike in 2002; the president of Gatorade in 2008; and the president of Equinox in 2012. She left that role in February to launch her own startup, ExtremeYOU, a platform that features inspirational and educational services to help people discover and live to their own potential.

Robb O’Hagan tells Business Insider that when she hires today, she prefers candidates who have “failed” in some sense, like she did.

“I would rather have the person who was fired and could honestly tell me what happened, why it happened, and what they learned from it, than someone with the perfect résumé,” she says.

She explains that after being fired and laid off in her 20s, she realized that going through difficult career experiences like these, and being able to rebound from them, is an extremely valuable trait in a job candidate.

These experiences, she says, are great opportunities for learning and growing, and without them, you may not be as motivated to succeed.

“If you haven’t really experienced failure in a painful, emotional way that develops resilience, then as an interviewer, you can tell,” she concludes.