Career Advice Interview Tips

How to Answer: How Do You Handle Criticism?

By: JobGet
May 27, 2020 • 5 min read

How Do You Handle Criticism?

Interviewers love to ask challenging questions, and this one is no exception. So, why are they asking you this? Well, they want to know how you handle constructive feedback. Are you someone who gets really defensive and doesn’t take it well, or do you use this feedback to better your work? It can be tough to answer this question because when replying, you have to admit that you make mistakes and are not perfect. But don’t worry! You can make your answer joyful so that you stand out in your interview. In this article, we’ll give you some tips on how to effectively answer this question.

two men talking

Think About Times When You Have Been Criticized

Before you even get to your interview, you should reflect on times when you have been criticized, but make sure the outcome was positive. Focus on a time at work, or in school, where someone critiqued you. Maybe you were tired one day at work, and your boss noticed, or maybe your English teacher told you that you weren’t editing and revising your papers thoroughly enough. What matters is that you gained something from this experience.

Why You Should Reflect

Why is this reflection process necessary? First, this is helping you prepare. You want to sound confident about the answer that you give. Secondly, this will help you to answer the question positively in the interview by explaining to your interviewer that criticism is something that actually helps you.

Look On The Bright Side

Before you really get into your answer, it is vital that you let the interviewer know that you don’t see criticism as something bad. Instead, it motivates you to do a better job. Criticism is something you can’t run away from, especially in a job, because there is always room for professional growth. Show the interviewer that you welcome opportunities to improve and that you are always trying to do better.

For example, you can start the question off with, “I always try to look at criticism as a challenge for me to overcome to better my work and skills. For me, it is an opportunity for improvement.” If your interviewer sees that you are motivated and accept constructive feedback, they are more likely to hire you.

two woman sitting by the window laughing

Decide If You Should Make Changes

Not all feedback that you get is going to be constructive. Because of this, you have the right to discern whether or not you should make any changes based on this criticism. Let your interviewer know that while you always welcome it, you take a moment to think about whether or not you are going to accept it.

For example, “Each time I receive criticism, I always take the time to reflect and judge the feedback that I am given. Afterward, I decide if I need to make any changes.” Your interviewer will be impressed that you have the maturity to decide which criticism is actually going to be beneficial for you, and consequently, for those around you.

It Won’t Be Consistent

Whether you are in school or in a job setting, you are working with a lot of people. Your peers in class are different from your professor, and your colleagues at work are different from your boss. You also might find yourself receiving criticism from a customer. Therefore, the way you handle criticism in different scenarios won’t always be the same. Keep this in mind as you answer the question. Let’s say that you are on an interview for a position as a waiter. Your interviewer wants to know how you might handle a demanding customer who is very vocal about their concerns. The interviewer wants to see how you would manage and diffuse the situation. Explain that you would take the criticism differently depending on who is giving it to you.

For example, you can say, “I always pay attention to who is giving me criticism because this will affect my approach to the feedback given to me. If I am dealing with a customer, I make sure to empathize with them to create a solution. If this is with a colleague, I have a conversation with them so that I fully understand their concerns. With a boss, I try to have regular check-ins so that I can improve constantly.”

More Tips!

One way that you can really stand out amongst other interviewees is by providing an example. There’s a good chance other people going on these interviews might have a similar answer to yours! So, this is an excellent way for your interviewer to remember you. Also, this is a great way to show precisely to your interviewer how you handle criticism.

For example, “At my previous job, my boss told me that I was talking too much with my colleagues. Before this, I thought I was just building relationships to better the work environment. However, after this conversation, I realized that I needed to focus on my work more and get all of my tasks done first before socializing”.


Keep in mind when answering (and preparing!) this question, learning to handle criticism can be something really beneficial for everyone! We hope this blog helped you better prepare for receiving feedback. Follow us on Twitter, and check out our other blogs here.


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