Question forms part of
Other interview questions that are similar
- How do you handle criticism from your supervisors or colleagues?
- Tell me about a time you made a mistake at work. How did you handle it and what did you learn from it?
- Can you share an example of a challenging situation where you had to address a problem with your performance?
- Describe a time when you were given constructive feedback. How did you implement the changes suggested?
- How do you respond when your work is not up to the expectations of your manager or teammates?
- Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult performance review. How did you address the concerns raised?
- Can you provide an example of when you disagreed with feedback given to you? How did you handle the situation?
- Describe a situation where you had to overcome a weakness in your skillset. How did you go about improving?
- How do you ensure you are continuously learning and growing in your professional life?
- Tell me about a time when you proactively sought feedback on your performance. What changes did you make as a result?
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.
Now, let’s relate the interview question “Tell me about a time you received negative feedback” to these points. This question can address multiple aspects of the 3 fundamental points mentioned above:
- Can you do the job? By sharing your experience with negative feedback, you can demonstrate your ability to learn from criticism and improve your skills, showing that you have the capacity to adapt and grow in your role.
- Will you do the job? Your response to negative feedback will reveal your motivation and determination to overcome challenges, proving that you are willing to put in the effort to achieve success in the job.
- Will you fit in? How you handle negative feedback can provide insight into your personality and how you work with others. If you can show that you accept feedback gracefully and take the necessary steps to improve, it will indicate that you have a positive attitude and are open to collaboration, which are essential for fitting in with the workplace culture.
The way you respond to the question “Tell me about a time you received negative feedback” can reveal a great deal about your capabilities, work ethic, and interpersonal skills. By addressing these three fundamental aspects, you can effectively demonstrate to the interviewer that you are a well-rounded candidate who can excel in the position and contribute positively to the team dynamics and overall workplace environment.
How Best To Answer ‘Tell me about a time you received negative feedback’
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, such as “Tell me about a time you received negative feedback.”
Answers using this method follow the below structure:
B – Belief – What are your thoughts and feelings with regard to the subject matter? (e.g., your perspective on receiving and handling negative feedback)
S – Situation – What was going on? Briefly explain the scenario that was taking place. Try not to spend too much time describing the situation. The bulk of your answer needs to be about you and what you did, so keep the situation simple to understand and even simpler to describe.
T – Task – What was your role in the action? Most of the time, it is best that you are taking an active rather than passive role in the encounter. (e.g., your responsibility in addressing the negative feedback and taking corrective actions)
A – Activity (or action) – What did you do? Detail the steps you took and why you took them in response to the negative feedback. This should take up the bulk of your time answering the question.
R – Result – How did everything end up? Try to use figures if possible (e.g., improved productivity by 15%, boosted team morale, or resolved a customer issue more effectively). Share the positive outcome that resulted from handling the negative feedback constructively.
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 showcase your experience the best. Using this technique can help you provide a comprehensive and organized response to the interview question, demonstrating your ability to learn from negative feedback and grow professionally.
What You Should NOT Do When Answering Questions
Do not avoid the question.
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
Tell me about a time you received negative feedback – Example answers
Project Manager Example
I believe that being open to negative feedback is essential for personal growth and improving team performance. One instance when I received negative feedback was while leading a project team. A stakeholder expressed dissatisfaction with the pace of progress, feeling that the project was not moving quickly enough and encountering too many delays and roadblocks.
In this situation, I immediately took the feedback seriously and called a team meeting to review the project plan and identify areas for improvement. It was during this process that we discovered some misunderstandings and miscommunications within the team that were causing the delays.
My task in this scenario was to take responsibility for these issues and work with my team to implement a more effective system for tracking progress and addressing any challenges that arose. I actively led my team in refining our project management approach, which resulted in a significant improvement in the pace of the project.
As a result, the stakeholder was pleased with the progress we made, and I learned the importance of regularly checking in with stakeholders and keeping them informed about the status of the project. I have since incorporated this valuable lesson into my project management approach, ensuring better communication and more efficient progress on future projects.
Retail Customer Service Example
I believe that being receptive to negative feedback is crucial for personal growth and improving one’s performance in any role. Once, as a retail employee, I received negative feedback from a customer who felt that I was not attentive enough and that I didn’t help them find the products they were looking for.
In this situation, I immediately took the feedback to heart and apologized to the customer. My task was to rectify the situation and ensure that the customer had a positive experience. I asked the customer specifically what they were looking for and offered to assist them in finding the products they needed. I also sought their feedback on how I could have provided a better experience.
By taking these actions, I was able to turn a negative situation into a positive one, demonstrating my commitment to customer service and actively seeking feedback to improve my performance. As a result, I learned the importance of being proactive and responsive when faced with negative feedback, which has helped me become a better retail employee and deliver exceptional customer service.
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