You’re not perfect. No one is. And even if you were perfect, not everyone is going to see you that way. You’re going to get negative feedback from coworkers, bosses, clients, etc.
For most people, that negative feedback can create a lot of stress, and many employers have had difficult experience with employees that simply did not want to ever hear anything negative about their productivity or work ethic. That’s why it’s not uncommon to hear a question about how you go about managing stress when you receive any type of negative feedback.
Behavioral Interview Question: Can you tell me about a time when you have received negative feedback from your manager or peers. How did you handle it?
There are three different ways you can answer this question:
- Talk about how you appreciate negative feedback because it helps you learn and grow.
- Talk about a specific instance where you found the negative feedback came from a miscommunication, and what you yourself did to remedy it.
- Talk about a time when you did react with mild stress to the negative feedback, but what you did to reduce stress from it in the future.
The first two are self explanatory – one you basically pretend that the negative feedback isn’t negative and focus on how you found it helped you improve, the other where the negative feedback ended up being a problem you needed to solve. Those are easy to create answers for, so let’s look at an example for that last one which is a bit harder:
“I do remember when I first started working after college and I wasn’t used to negative feedback. The first time I ever had a boss criticize me, even though it was constructive criticism, I was convinced it was the end of my career. But I think what made a big difference to me was coming in the next day, trying my hardest, and then receiving compliments from this exact same boss telling me that I was doing a great job.
I realized that all criticism is usually a sign that something needs to change, and that all criticism is only temporary. No one likes criticism so there is always a little bit of stress, but I don’t let it affect my work or energy level anymore. I learn from it and move on and if anything now I fond it is a good motivator.”
Managing stress at work isn’t always about a specific activity you do to reduce stress. Sometimes it’s about simply understanding yourself and the world around you. That’s what this answer provides, and it’s just one example of an answer you can provide for this behavioral interview question about stress.