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How do you handle criticism?


Disciplines > Job-finding > Interview questions > How do you handle criticism?

The question | What they are looking for | How to answer | See also


The question

How do you handle criticism?

What do you do when somebody criticizes you?

Tell me about a time when you were criticized.

What happens when somebody criticizes you in a meeting?

What they are looking for

Situations of being criticized can be many and varied. The standard reason for asking this question is whether you take criticism seriously, rather than just getting upset by it.

The interviewer may also be trying to find your standard response to attack, for example whether you fall into a fight-or-flight reaction.

The answer you give will also give something away about you. If you talk about a situation of unfair criticism, it shows your focus on what is not fair. If you talk about a situation where a manager told you off for doing something wrong it shows attention to obedience (or otherwise).

How to answer

The key thing to get across in this question is that you can handle criticism without becoming upset by it or otherwise acting negatively.

One way to answer the question is to pick a situation where you were criticized doing something wrong, and then show how you positively accepted the situation and how you did something constructive as a result.

One of my juniors told me that not handled the situation well, spending too much time with one customer whilst another was left alone. I realized that I was trying to placate the noisy one and had forgotten that a quiet customers is not necessarily a happy one. From then on, I made sure that I took notice of everyone in such situations.

Note in this example how it also says that you have build a culture that allows your juniors to offer constructive criticism and that you are open to learn from anyone.

Depending on the job situation, you can show robust strength, demonstrating the ability to fight back when someone attacks you unfairly.

In a meeting recently another person tried to cover up their own errors by attacking my team. I stood up for my people by showing the real facts of the situation rather than becoming upset -- to do that would be to allow him to take control.

See also


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