Negative feedback can provide a damaging blow to your ego, especially when it’s from a prospective employer whose advertised position you so desperately wanted. However, allowing it to get you down and admitting defeat will not help your career development. Instead, look past the criticism and seek the valuable advice embedded within the feedback so you can learn from your experience and improve in time for your next interview.
Interview feedback can be extremely helpful. Here are some tips on how to embrace constructive criticism and make sure this leads to positive results in terms of your career.
1. Review your feedback.
It can be tempting to let your emotions take over when you receive negative feedback. This can lead you into some dangerous territory. Step away from the computer! Responding to feedback while your disappointment and frustration are still fresh in your mind will hinder your ability to view it constructively, which is crucial in terms of your career progression.
So, take time to think about their criticism: Do they make valid points? What can you do to remedy this? Is there anything you disagree with? Try not to let the gut reaction of ‘They don’t want me’ cloud your judgement. Instead focus on the advice being offered and start thinking about how you can learn from it.
2. Take action.
After analyzing the interviewer’s comments constructively, you need to determine how you can take their advice on board so your next interview is more successful. To do this, you must discover the overall message of the feedback. If it’s that you lacked experience or your skills weren’t relevant enough, then do some research on work experience placements, internships, and volunteering opportunities that are relevant to your career path. This will help you to expand your skill set, which, when displayed on your CV and discussed in an interview, will impress potential employers.
However, if the feedback is relatively vague and simply states that they met a more suitable candidate, then try not to take this too much to heart and continue to develop your skill set. Fierce competition in a tough job market means that there will be more experienced candidates out there. But if you continue to work hard and develop your skills, next time that more suitable candidate could be you!
If the interviewer highlighted a specific skill you lacked, whether it’s one required for the job or related to the interview itself, you need to focus your attention on improving this skill. For example, if they explain that your lack of confidence was the reason for you missing out on the next stage, then try to find ways to boost your confidence.
3. Be mature.
If you react to negative feedback in a mature way, the employer may keep you in mind for another position or be willing to see you again once you have developed your skills. It’s certainly going to get you a lot further than responding with an aggressive email detailing why you think they are wrong.
Similarly, if you receive negative feedback during an interview, then don’t feel like all hope is lost. Believe it or not, if you deal with it efficiently, you may even change the interviewer’s mind. Being able to handle constructive criticism – especially on the spot – is a valuable skill and the employer is most likely testing you. If they make a valid point, then there is no harm in calmly agreeing, however, you must make it clear that you are continuously working at improving any areas of weakness.
On the other hand, if you disagree with their comments, then fight back – not literally, of course! As long as you remain polite and argue your case maturely, the employer may be impressed by your confidence and might even have a change of heart.
How you handle the feedback that employers give you after an interview can be crucial in terms of your career development. Taking it personally and giving up completely will not help you to achieve your career goals. Instead, you have to make sure you learn from the experience by learning to appreciate this outside perspective and opportunity to discover where you need to improve. After all, only once an issue has been brought to light can you act on it. So, take time to extract the advice from the criticism and use what you learn to step ever closer to your dream job.
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