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Tough Interview Questions and Answers
How do you handle being criticised?
Alternative and related questions:
How do you take criticism?
The meaning behind the question:
Hearing you describe how you handle criticism will tell the interviewer a lot about you as a person – and about what sort of person you are to work with. Everybody needs to be prepared to accept criticism – constructive criticism – where it is due. The interviewer won’t want to hire someone who reacts badly to criticism – someone who isn’t prepared to listen to criticism or someone who takes it as a personal attack. If you have a problem with criticism then you’re going to be difficult to manage – and you’re not going to get the job.
While it can be a good idea (even if you haven’t specifically been asked to do so) to cite an example of a situation where you were criticised, you will need to choose your example very carefully – don’t pick a major blunder – and make sure you phrase it in such a way as to demonstrate that you learned from the experience.
Yet again, you need to take what could potentially be a negative topic and turn it round so that it becomes a positive selling point. Don’t fall into the trap of exposing a weakness. As always, make sure you come up smelling of roses!
For those of you who do have a problem with criticism, it doesn’t really matter how you handle criticism – it’s how you lead the interviewer to believe that you handle criticism which really counts!
If criticism is due then I generally welcome it. I’m very critical of my own work and I always appreciate constructive criticism and feedback from others, especially those who may have a different angle on matters or possibly more experience than I do. I was recently asked to work on a tender document for a new contract and, since this is not normally a part of my job, my experience in this respect is naturally limited. I consequently actually invited criticism from both my line manager and from a more experienced colleague. While they were largely impressed with my work they certainly gave me constructive criticism on a number of different areas and this helped me to perfect the document. We won the contract and I’ve definitely learned a lot from the experience which will be useful to me in the future.
The Interview Question & Answer Book
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Author: James Innes
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