"Has your work ever been criticized? How did you handle it?"
Behavioral interview questions can be some of the hardest interview questions to perfect.
Often times, there is no right or wrong answer.
It’s how you frame your answer and what you learned from the experience that is important.
When being asked to describe a time when your work was criticized, there are a few key points to emphasize and some obvious mistakes to avoid.
Why am I being asked this question?
The secret here is not to avoid answering the question.
Believe it or not, you should answer this question with an honest critique that someone made about your work.
Whether it was a valid critique or not is another topic.
The employer is looking to judge your ability to handle criticism.
Did you get angry and use profanity with the person critiquing you? Or did you own up to your fault and develop a way to improve your work to avoid criticism in the future.
- Give a real-life example. Explain a situation where a real person gave you a real critique.
- Make yourself come off as coachable. Instead of being defensive, use this opportunity to show your critic that you are willing and eager to learn and improve.
- Try to give an example that has a positive outcome. If your story starts with someone criticizing you, it should end with your success in improving your performance.
- Don’t lie! Never make up a story for a hiring manager. The fact is if you just prepare for the interview questions you will never need to lie.
- Focus on the positive outcome. Do not talk poorly about the person criticizing you. Give an example where you improved what was criticized. Don’t give an example where the critic was actually wrong with their criticism and you were right.
- Don’t avoid the answer. Saying that you have never been criticized is foolish. If you can’t think of a work example, think of a school project, internship, etc.
“Being only human, I can definitely admit to having received criticism of my work in the past. The only thing you can do at that point is to thank the person for pointing out the flaw. Some people don’t like when you tell them they have food on their face. I see it as a way to prevent them from future embarrassment from someone other than myself.
Last year, I received criticism from a coworker on my report writing. She did not like how I sent each report in a separate email. Instead, she requested that all emails be sent in one email. I had no idea this was what she preferred. As soon as she told me I was easily able to make the change by compiling all documents into one email. Ever since then, everything has been fantastic between the two of us.”
Everyone has been criticized at one point or another.
Own it and tell the story of what you learned from the criticism.
The most important thing is that you are able to handle criticism professionally without taking things too personally.
50 Top Job Interview Questions & Answers
If you are interested in taking your interview preparation to the next level, check out our amazing article on the 50 Top Job Interview Questions & Answers.