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Scenario Based Interview Questions

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Rachelle Enns is an interview coach and job search expert. She works with candidates to perform their best in employment, medical, and post-secondary admission interviews.

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Tell me about a time when you received criticism from your manager. How did you react to that criticism? How did you make improvements based on that criticism?

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Scenario Based Interview Questions & Answers

  1. 1.

    Tell me about a time when you received criticism from your manager. How did you react to that criticism? How did you make improvements based on that criticism?

      How to Answer

      This question is another way for an interviewer to ask you what your weaknesses may be. When you are thinking about examples of criticism, it's best to show that you want to grow as an employee and that you can handle constructive criticism because it helps you learn and improve the quality of your work. Give examples that would not make you exempt from the role. For instance, if you are interviewing to be a bus driver, you do not want to say that your manager called you a terrible driver!

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I was instructed to create some presentations for our events. After my manager reviewed my work, some of the slides required the additional copy, and he had different design concepts in mind. He had a background in graphic design, and since I do not, I listened to his ideas and incorporated them. I thought they looked very professional and in the following presentations, I tried to include those design concepts."

      Rachelle's Answer for an Admin Interview

      "A couple of weeks ago my manager asked me to increase my typing speed. I did not think it was slow at all...about 60 words per minute, but he wanted me to speed up anyways. I have been taking typing tests at night to work on this skill. So far, I am at 72 words per minute."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Manager Interview

      "My director sat me down last year and asked that I get my documentation in a little bit faster than I have been. I did not disagree with his feedback. I know that I prefer working on the floor, and less on my computer. I now ensure to give each task a better balance."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Marketing Interview

      "I have a marketing director focused on using team-based apps. I am not as well versed in them as he would like me to be. We primarily use Trello, so I have been taking some time in the evenings to watch YouTube videos and other online tutorials. I am learning some great ways to utilize the app's features and some shortcuts too."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Retail Interview

      "When I was first stepping into an assistant manager role, I received the feedback that I was being too much of a friend to the associates and needed to be firmer. This concept was hard for me to hear, and initially to incorporate into my actions, as my promotion occurred overnight. However, I wanted the promotion and extra responsibility, and sometimes that means making tough decisions or uncomfortable moves, so I listened to my manager when she told me this. I knew the right thing to do; I just had to force myself to be uncomfortable and make it happen. Ultimately, it came down to having clear expectations and holding the associates accountable to meet those expectations. I could still be their friend, so long as everyone was doing their job and living up to their expectations. It was a great learning experience for me and helped me grow professionally."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Sales Interview

      "I was very eager to climb the ranks in my most recent position. My manager, and the VP of Sales, really appreciated this hunger and grit. However, I did receive the feedback that I needed to slow down. As frustrating as it was, I listened. I dedicated my time to learning as much as I could in my current position and paced myself much better post-feedback."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Teacher Interview

      "A piece of constructive feedback my Principal recently gave me was to be more adaptable to the input of the middle school teachers. I know that I can be reluctant to change when I feel like it isn't always in the best interest of the curriculum or children, but I indeed took it to heart and have since been more open to their input, suggestions, and direction in how they want to steer the curriculum."

      Rachelle's Answer for an Electrician Interview

      "I handle criticism well; however, if it's harshly communicated to me, I do take it somewhat personally. I will become better as I gain more confidence in my career as an Electrician. Because I am just starting, I expect to receive more constructive feedback than a tenured Electrician would."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Transportation Manager Interview

      "No example comes to mind. However, I would always remain calm and professional, and would do my best to follow up with the person in question so as to obtain feedback. I always welcome constructive criticism as it enables me to better myself and improve my work."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Fashion Designer Interview

      "No example comes to mind. However, I would always remain calm and professional, and would do my best to follow up with my superior so as to obtain feedback. I always welcome constructive criticism as it enables me to better myself and improve my work."

      Nisha's Answer for an Optometry School Interview

      "Last year I received a low grade on a chemistry project. When I approached my professor about the low grade, he said to me 'You can do better. I expected more from you'. I was taken aback at first but once I had time to absorb what was said, I realized that he expected more from me because he had high expectations of what I was capable of doing. It was a compliment, and a challenge, all rolled into one! I re-did the assignment with more gusto and passion the second time around. My grade improved significantly and I did thank that professor for holding me to a higher standard."

      Ryan's Answer for a School Counselor Interview

      "Before I react, I try to assess first if it was a negative or a constructive criticism. Constructive criticisms are helpful, so when I receive one, I reflect on what I did and try to look at it through the eyes of my critic. Then I take note of what I need to improve on or change moving forward. But if it's a negative criticism that was given just for the sake of criticising, I ignore it and focus my attention on more important items."

      Christina's Answer for an Entertainment Anchor Interview

      "I believe that criticism has shaped my career and made me a better person over time. I even ask for suggestions on how to improve my work after a while so I know where I can continue to grow."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Bailiff Interview

      "I always remain calm and professional, and would do my best to follow up with my superior so as to obtain feedback. I always welcome constructive criticism as it enables me to better myself and improve my work. For instance, while working for (X company) as (X position title), (X further information regarding the particular situation where you reacted to criticism, how you welcomed it and took it into consideration.)"

      Christina's Answer for a Corporate Copywriter Interview

      "I appreciate any feedback managers give me. I am always striving to be the best worker I can be and one way to do that is have those who know the field and company best to guide me in the right direction."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Host or Hostess Interview

      "I stay calm and relaxed when I receive feedback from a customer or a manger. I take time to think about what they said and how I can do a better job in the future."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Veterinary Assistant Interview

      "I appreciate the feedback. Now I know how I can improve next time."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Quality Control Manager Interview

      "I am good at receiving feedback from my team. A few months ago, during a performance review, my supervisor asked me to update my skills in SAP. I realized that since my promotion I didn't use the program as often anymore, and I was getting a bit rusty. I was sure to practice it in the coming days and was back to a more than acceptable standard shortly after."

      Christina's Answer for a Screenwriter Interview

      "I find that every job requires different standards of my writing and storytelling, and I am willing to accept some constructive criticism to help me adapt in the right way for the job. I also believe these changes will be for the best, helping me become a better screenwriter overall."

      Cassandra's Answer for a Coach Interview

      "During the game I try to focus on the players and how the team is doing. I want to show my players that you shouldn't just react to negative things with a negative response. After the game if I know the fans who were doing the criticizing I'll have a conversation with the person."

      Heather's Answer for an Occupational Therapist Interview

      "As a person that is continuously looking to improve in my career, I take criticism to heart and appreciate any feedback that comes my way. After a recent patient was discharged from our skilled nursing facility, my manager gave me feedback on my interaction with the family with the patient. The daughter of the patient had complained on my approach to explaining the therapy the patient would need once he returned home. She thought my approach was not personable and more of a text book approach. I welcomed this feedback from my manager to help improve for the next time I had to work with a family. I had let the personal side of the job move to the side in order to be e
      ducational in manner and I have focused more on the personal side of things since then."

      Krista's Answer for a Construction Interview

      "Yes, I do take criticism well. I use criticism to improve my work. If someone criticizes my work, I want to learn how I can do a better job. I would rather be criticized and improve my weaknesses than produce mediocre work."

      Amy's Answer for a Compensation Manager Interview

      "I value all feedback that I receive. I treat it as a gift. There is one time that stands out in my mind. A few years ago when I was a Compensation Analyst for a large healthcare organization, I had a division administrator approach me about a recent email communication that I had sent his way. He approached me in person because he wasn't able to decipher a lot of the information that I had sent him that he originally requested. In our conversation, it became very clear that a lot of the terminology I had used was hard for him to comprehend. So we talked through the information that I had sent so it was clear to him. I learned an important lesson from the feedback that I received from him and now I try to be cognizant of the way I communicate to different people."

      Ryan's Answer for a Human Resources Interview

      "I keep my directors and candidates close, to ensure that proposals do not go sideways due to bad communication or unrealistic expectations from either party. This year, I have worked on 18 different offers, managing negotiations from salary to start date to benefits. I keep up to date on market trends, what our company's competitors are offering. I know what employees are earning based on their location, education level, and years of experience. I am 100% comfortable taking full control during job offer negotiations."

      Rachelle's Answer for an Electrician Apprentice Interview

      "When I first began my apprenticeship, I was given feedback on my job site habits. My supervisor asked me to be more aware of where I was leaving my tools. I was new to the career and would sometimes be so focused on the task at hand that I would become forgetful. His criticism made me realize that I was a bit messy on the job site. I made sure to clean up after myself consistently after that."

      Rachelle's Answer for an Audio Engineer Interview

      "I sometimes enjoy receiving some criticism on my work because I want to grow from my mistakes. I would rather be told how to do something right than be doing it wrong for longer."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Film and Video Editor Interview

      "Any criticism, despite being "

      3 Community Answers

      Anonymous Answer

      "I was asked to create some presentations for one event. After my supervisor reviewed my presentation, some of the slides required additional copy. He had different design concepts in mind. He had great experience in presenting data, and since I did not, I listened to his ideas and incorporated them. I thought they looked very professional and in subsequent presentations, I have included those concepts."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Great! It's perfect that you added in how you listened and incorporated change.

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      Anonymous Answer

      "When I receive feedback from my Manager, I always appreciate the feedback because I know it will help me improve my work better. In my previous job as a customer service specialist, one day my Manager was very busy and she asked me if I can assist her in our team performance presentation. After my Manager reviewed the presentation, she told me that some of the slides need to have more data on it; she had a different design concept in mind. She had great experience in presenting data, so I listened to her ideas and incorporated them. In the end, it came out very professional and was a successful presentation."

      Stephanie's Answer

      Great response! This shows your openness to feedback and ability to use constructive criticism in order to improve performance outcomes.

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