Other interview questions that are similar
- Can you describe a time when you received feedback that was hard to take? How did you respond?
- How do you react when you’re given feedback you disagree with?
- Tell us about a time when you received feedback on your work. How did you implement this feedback?
- Can you provide an example of a time when your work was criticized? What did you learn from it?
- How do you respond when a superior points out an area in which you need to improve?
- Can you share an example of how you’ve used constructive feedback to improve your skills or job performance?
- Describe a situation where you received unexpected negative feedback. What was your initial reaction and how did you handle it?
- If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of criticism that felt unfair, how did you handle that situation?
- Can you give an example of a time when you sought out feedback and how you applied it?
- Describe a time when you disagreed with feedback you were given. How did you communicate this to the person giving you the feedback?
What the interviewer is looking for by asking this question
There are probably an infinite number of questions that the interviewer could ask you on the day. Some questions are incredibly common appearing in almost every interview you will have, while other questions you might hear once and never again regardless of how many jobs you apply for.
Fundamentally though all interview questions are really trying to find out one of 3 things:
1 – Can you do the job? (Do you have the skills/experience needed?)
2 – Will you do the job? (Do you have the drive/motivation to get the job done?)
3 – Will you fit in? (Does your personality match the workplace culture? Are you likeable?)
That’s it. Those are the 3 things that the interviewer is trying to ascertain. Every question that is asked of you will fundamentally be trying to resolve one (or more) of these 3 things.
Taking the example of the question “How do you handle constructive criticism?”, we can see how it relates to all three points.
1 – Can you do the job? To be successful in most jobs, you need to be able to take on board feedback and criticism and use it to improve your performance. Therefore, your response to this question provides evidence of your ability to grow and adapt in your role. If you can demonstrate an openness to feedback and an ability to learn from it, you’re showing that you have a key skill needed to do the job well.
2 – Will you do the job? Your willingness to accept and act upon criticism also speaks to your motivation and commitment. Someone who is defensive or dismissive when faced with criticism may not be as driven to improve and succeed in their role. On the other hand, if you can show that you view criticism as an opportunity to learn and improve, this demonstrates a proactive and determined attitude, indicating that you’re someone who will do what it takes to get the job done.
3 – Will you fit in? Your approach to criticism can also give the interviewer insights into your personality and how you might fit into the workplace culture. If you’re someone who responds to criticism in a constructive and respectful manner, this suggests that you’re likely to work well within a team and contribute positively to the workplace environment. However, if your response suggests that you struggle to accept feedback or tend to react negatively, this might raise concerns about whether you would be a good cultural fit.
So, when answering any interview question, always consider which of these three key areas your response is addressing, and aim to demonstrate that you have the skills, motivation, and personal attributes needed to excel in the role.
How Best To Answer ‘How do you handle constructive criticism?’
Unless the question you are asked is a straight ‘up or down / yes or no’ style question then you are going to need to learn to describe, expand and elaborate on your answers. The best way of doing this is to follow the B-STAR technique for answering interview questions.
Answers using this method follow the below structure:
B – Belief – This is your opportunity to convey your attitude and feelings towards receiving and dealing with constructive criticism. Do you view it as a learning opportunity? Does it motivate you to improve? Your beliefs about criticism will tell the interviewer a lot about your approach to personal growth and development, directly tying into all three things they’re trying to find out: whether you can do the job, will do the job, and fit in.
S – Situation – Here, you should briefly describe a specific situation in which you received constructive criticism. Remember, the situation should be easy to understand and concise. The details of the situation should be relevant to your role or work, setting the stage for you to explain what your role was in the encounter.
T – Task – In this part, explain your specific role or task in the situation you described. Were you leading a project that was criticized? Were you handling a task that didn’t go as expected? Make sure you’re not just a bystander in the situation. Your active role is important as it demonstrates your direct involvement and how you handled the criticism.
A – Activity (or Action) – Now you get to the heart of your response: what did you do when faced with this criticism? This part of your answer should take up the bulk of your response. You might describe how you listened to the feedback, thought critically about it, decided what parts to accept and act on, and how you went about making changes. The actions you took and your rationale behind them offer valuable insight into how you handle constructive criticism and improve from it.
R – Result – Finally, you explain the outcome of your actions. How did your reaction to the criticism affect the final result? Did your performance improve? Did the project succeed after making the necessary adjustments? Quantifiable results (e.g., “After implementing the feedback, our team’s efficiency improved by 30%.”) are great as they provide concrete evidence of your adaptability and dedication to improvement. This final part directly addresses all three key areas that interviewers are interested in – your capability, motivation, and fit.
Remember though that the B-STAR technique is descriptive not prescriptive. You do not need to follow this flow strictly, go with what is best for your answers and that will allow you to put your point across and show your experience the best.
What You Should NOT Do When Answering Questions
Do not avoid the question.
Do not describe a failure (unless specifically asked).
Do not downplay the situation.
Do not overhype the situation.
Do not say you have no experience with the subject matter.
Do not reject the premise of the question.
Do not have a passive role in the situation.
Do not give a one-sentence answer.
Do not overly describe the scenario and miss the action
How do you handle constructive criticism? – Example answer
Team Leader Example
“I strongly value constructive criticism as it provides an opportunity for growth and learning. To illustrate, I was working on a project as a team leader where we were tasked with developing a new marketing strategy for a client. Our initial approach focused heavily on social media promotion, and I was responsible for overseeing the team’s progress and presenting our work to the management.
After our first presentation, the director provided critical feedback, suggesting that our approach was too narrow and didn’t fully cater to our client’s older target demographic, which might not be as active on social media.
I took the feedback seriously, as I understood its importance for the success of the project. I arranged a meeting with my team and communicated the feedback. We had an open discussion about how to broaden our marketing strategy and cater to a more diverse demographic. We decided to diversify our approach by including more traditional marketing methods such as radio and print advertising.
As a result of implementing this feedback, our revised marketing strategy was much more comprehensive and effective. It was well-received by both the management and the client. Ultimately, we were able to increase the client’s customer reach by 25% compared to their previous campaigns. This experience reinforced my belief in the importance of constructive criticism and its role in driving improvement and success.”
Software Developer Example
“In my career, I have learned to see constructive criticism as an essential part of the iterative development process. It allows me to refine and enhance my code, and ultimately deliver a better product.
For instance, while working on an e-commerce application, my task was to develop a recommendation algorithm to suggest products to users based on their browsing history. I put a significant amount of time and effort into this task, and I was quite satisfied with the initial results.
However, during the code review, my senior developer pointed out that my algorithm, while working as intended, was not as efficient as it could be. It was processing too slowly for the high volume of users we were expecting.
Although it was challenging to hear that my code had room for improvement, I knew this feedback was crucial for the overall performance of our application. I used this feedback as a learning opportunity, asking for clarification and suggestions on how to improve my algorithm’s efficiency.
Following the discussion, I took the initiative to rework my code, focusing on optimizing its performance. I sought help from various online resources, studied different methodologies, and after several days of hard work, I was able to significantly improve the algorithm’s processing speed.
Once implemented, the result was a 40% improvement in recommendation load times, which significantly enhanced the user experience. This experience demonstrated to me that constructive criticism, even if initially difficult to accept, ultimately led to a better outcome and a more effective learning experience for me.”
Customer Service Representative Example
Other Interview Question and Answers
Interview Question: What is your approach to problem-solving? – Answer Tips
Interview Question: Can you describe a time when you had to make a tough ethical decision? – Answer Tips
Interview Question: What is your experience with conducting performance evaluations? – Answer Tips
Interview Question: Tell Me About Yourself – Answer Tips
Interview Question: Why did you leave your last job? – Answer Examples