Job Interview Question & Answer: Can You Describe a Time When Your Work Was Criticized and How Did You Handle It?

Why Employers Ask About Criticism In The Workplace

Perhaps viewed by the interviewee as a question designed to trip up or give pause, an employer asking about criticism more than likely remains genuinely interested in how such instances were handled. No one succeeds in a job every day. Mistakes remain a common occurrence in the workforce. Hiring managers may ask about receiving criticism in order to evaluate how an individual replies or reacts. How an employee responds to constructive criticism shows a potential employer whether or not aspirants remain able to function on the job, even when given feedback or input contrary to everyday tasks.

Responding To The Question

Provide concise yet complete answers to questions regarding responses to criticism. Potential employees should cite specific examples of times where work came into question or received criticism and detail personal responses. Companies generally want to see how criticism affects each employee, as most individuals usually respond differently. An employer wants to see if constructive assessment causes a hopeful to feel demoralized, whether or not a person simply recoils and effectively shuts down and/or loses interest in the job, or if a person takes criticism and sees the review as part of the overall process of improvement as a professional. Responses should remain tailored to proving a benefit of some kind comes from constructive analysis.

In the end, the ability to handle criticism remains important to any job. Candidates may face times when supervisors expect the opposite of creative vision, team members may disagree on the correct steps to move forward, and instances when the need to alleviate communication fallacies that may arise in everyday discourse. Job seekers should highlight positive results from constructive criticism, how skills and attributes improved, and becoming a stronger professional. Overall, employers typically ask questions about prior criticism and the response in order to determine the ability to be coached. In every profession, individuals that demonstrate the capability to receive leadership typically endure long-lasting employment opportunities.

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One thought on “Job Interview Question & Answer: Can You Describe a Time When Your Work Was Criticized and How Did You Handle It?

  1. Claire Moore

    DON’T make stuff up, ever. Don’t lie, don’t stretch the truth, don’t blow things out of proportions. Good interviewers are trained and have methods to detect lying, and will probe if they suspect that your story is unfounded.

    But, as Yoo Mee stated, no one is perfect, so really search your personal history to find a relevant story. Both lying and saying that you’ve never been criticized (which is like saying you’re perfect) are both wrong responses in the case of this question. Even if the criticism or comment was small, if the lesson that you learned from it was worthwhile, that’s good! The focus should be on your reaction and what you learned/gained from it, not necessarily the incident of criticism itself.

    An example can be as simple as this: While working on a series of graphics for a feature on a blockbuster movie premiere in the school paper, my editors became much pickier than usual on my submissions. They repeatedly would suggest that I change or redo colors, rearrange items, and keep pushing the creative qualities in my pieces. I took their feedback to heart and really poured all of my energy and inspiration into the assignments, and in the end, we came out with an amazing feature in the paper that was highly praised by staff and readers alike.

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