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Interview Questions Answers

Interview questions answers regarding a time when your work was criticized give employers keen insights into your character and personality. Here is how the question is often phrased:

Tell me about a time when your work was criticized.

Let's face it, in your quest to do your job well, you aren't going to make everyone happy. And yes, sometimes you will fall short, make an error in judgment, or wish you could have handled things a little differently.

Can you admit to this? And most importantly, what did you learn from it?

The best way to answer this question is to share a criticism about yourself that had a measurable positive outcome. Good examples:

  • Cost cutting measures
  • Restructuring department resulting in layoffs or consolidations
  • Reducing or eliminating overtime
  • Raising quality standards
  • Replacing weak performers with strong ones
  • Standing up to a demanding customer or supplier
  • Increasing sales visits
  • Restructuring dealer network eliminating weak dealers
  • Greater scrutiny of warranty claims
  • Raising standards of professionalism including dress code
  • Firing malcontents or underachievers

Despite your good intentions, and positive results, you may have been criticized about:

  • Over planning--with positive outcomes--but causing delays
  • Demanding sacrifices of others or ourselves
  • Being too lenient or tolerant
  • Taking a fire-ready-aim approach

For a broader understanding of how to turn a negative into a positive, go to my page, What are your weaknesses?

Leaders who are flexible and self-confident will have no problem sharing 1 or 2 criticisms, and how they grew from it. In you do this effectively, you send a clear message to your interviewer that you get results but are also open to criticism and will change accordingly.

But there is a flip side to interview questions answers of this nature if a company is experiencing lots of problems, changes, or chaos. In this environment, it's only natural to receive criticism or push back from subordinates and peers when you implement sweeping changes to prosper the company.

Perhaps the company your interviewing with is looking for a Change Agent with a thick skin who isn't afraid to rock the boat despite resistance or complaining. Examples might include:

  • A company losing money in need of a drastic turnaround
  • A company with a reputation of poor quality requiring uncomfortable changes
  • A change in company ownership with aggressive new goals
  • A bold new project or product that requires pushing people to get outside their comfort zones
  • Cost cutting measures to drive out waste and inefficiencies within an organization
  • An underperforming company with employees simply camping out

This is why it's important to do your research about a prospective employer prior to your interview.

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