First, it’s important to know whether you will be asked this question in your interview.
If you are applying for an entry-level role, let me save you some time and recommend that you move on to another question. It is one of the 16 Most Common Interview Questions And Answers.
However, if you are interviewing for a position that will require you to supervise or manage others, you are almost guaranteed to be asked about a time where you had to give someone difficult feedback.
Why you are being asked how you handle negative feedback
Unfortunately, managing or supervising others often call for difficult conversations. So, if you are uncomfortable with approaching others in these situations, you probably wouldn’t make a great manager. Your interviewer wants to determine your management skills. Are you awkward? Or do you have the abilities to address issues and motivate others during difficult times?
How to answer this question
Focus on your distinct personality traits that make you a great people person. Managers, at least good managers are great with other people. They are well liked, honest, trustworthy, and most importantly, they have the ability to lead in difficult situations. Make sure you emphasize these traits when providing your example. Here are some techniques that a great manager would practice during this situation.
Showing your interviewer that you prepared a strategy before you offered the negative feedback is a great way to show that you care. Not only does it show that you care, it shows you are not an impulsive manager. Lack of preparation in a situation like this could be devastating for yourself, and the person you are offering feedback too.
Although you are having to give someone difficult feedback, make sure to stay positive. Negative feedback is hard enough to hear, make it a little easier by starting the conversation with something good the employee is doing. Many people teach the sandwich approach.Start with positive, then proceed to the negative feedback, then end with something positive. The positive is the bread, and the negative is the meat/cheese.
One of the worst things that you could do during your interview is give vague responses. Feel free to provide specifics wherever possible. You should tell the whole story, so the employer knows the situations leading up to your negative feedback, as well as the positive outcome that resulted from your feedback.
I cannot tell you how many people get awkward in these sorts of situations. Even if you are a little awkward with the actual negative feedback, DO NOT make it seem that way in the interview. The hiring manager is going to want to know that you are extremely comfortable in these sorts of situations. Someone who second guesses their judgment and feedback will not make for a great leader. Be firm with your feedback, but remember to keep it constructive.
You got this!
Don’t worry, this question is a walk in the park! You are going to do just fine. If you only remember one sentence from this article, remember to Prepare, Stay Constructive, Be Specific, and Act Comfortable.
For more interviewing tips, make sure to check out the 50 Top Job Interview Questions And Answers.
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