During a job interview, the hiring manager may ask you about a time when your work was criticized. It might sound like an attempt to get you to tell all your worst on-the-job mistakes.
Interviewers might be interested to hear about your gaffs, but what they are really asking is how you respond in stressful situations and whether you can take correction with a good attitude. They are wondering if you are able to work well under a variety of management styles or if criticism will make you feel angry or undervalued.
Points to Emphasize
When you answer this question, you want to emphasize your ability to handle criticism. This is your opportunity to showcase how you are willing to humbly make improvements in projects or professionalism when required.
- Talk about how you listened and made changes when a client critiqued your work.
- Explain a situation where you improved your performance after receiving constructive criticism.
- Emphasize that you enjoy doing quality work and have learned to value the input of experienced leaders.
- Mention why you are flexible and professional when working with others with whom you may at times disagree.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
It may be easy to answer an interview question about when your work was criticized incorrectly if you are not thoughtful about the matter. To make sure you leave a positive rather than a negative impression, watch out for these common blunders.
- Do not answer the question by making up a story. Hiring managers can sniff out lies and exaggerations.
- Do not make the mistake of going into details about your mistakes, and instead focus on your positive reaction to criticism.
- Do not say that you have never been criticized, as this sounds as if you are bragging or saying you are perfect.
- Do not talk about whether the person who criticized you was in a position to offer that criticism.
An appropriate answer to this tricky question might sound a bit like this:
Like everyone, I have received input from my managers that helped me to see how my work could be improved. Once I was asked to revise a project that I had spent a lot of time on, but after listening carefully to the critique, I saw how I could make changes that would strengthen the finished product. I am eager to learn from people with different views and experiences.
Keep in mind that the interviewer is hoping to find out as much about you as possible, so this question is a way to discover your desire for growth and ability to accept constructive criticism.