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Receiving Constructive Feedback

No one likes to hear criticism, especially when it relates to interview performance. People generally like to hear about things that they do well; however, there is value in hearing about weaknesses too. Being told how marvelous you are in an interview, while it might boost the ego, doesn't offer any opportunity to become better. Hearing about improvement areas, however, gives you the chance to take your skills to the next level.

It is not enough to simply hear about those weaknesses-you must ACTIVELY listen to those suggestions and work to change those behaviors in order to reach your full potential. The following are guidelines for how to receive feedback in a way that will not only demonstrate your professionalism, but also help you to make the most out of that information:

  • First, don't be afraid to seek out feedback on your performance. When you're on the job, ASK FOR IT! Knowing what you did well and what you can improve upon will only make you more successful. Employers often provide ECS with feedback on student interview performance. If we get helpful feedback about your interview, we'll send you an email about it.

  • Receive feedback openly; don't get defensive or make excuses. The point of feedback isn't to put you on trial, but rather to help you learn from the experience.

  • Getting angry or upset is not helpful and can cloud your judgment. There are no hidden agendas when an employer or an ECS staff member gives you constructive feedback. We genuinely want to help you improve!

  • Seek out additional clarification if you do not understand the feedback. It is important to know what is being said so that you can use it effectively in the future.

  • Think about what you can do with the suggestions and make an action plan for moving forward. Indicating what you plan to do with the feedback will help you to actually use it! Not sure what to do from here? Make an appointment with an ECS counselor to discuss the feedback and create a personalized plan of action!

  • Finally, appreciate the fact that someone took the time to do this for you: they cared enough about your success to help you out.

"Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing."

Adapted from Leschke-Hellstrom, D. (1994). Student workbook: The certified peer educator program. The BACCHUS and GAMMA Peer Education Network: Denver, CO.

Authored by Rachel Ligman.