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#discuss What to do about feedback you don't think is accurate

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It’s performance review time of year for many businesses in New Zealand and abroad, and often that means people getting feedback.

Given my experiences lately, I’ve thought of a question to ask in interviews. It would go something like this:

“Can you me about a time you received some feedback you didn’t think was accurate, and what did you do about it?”

I'd love for y'all to comment what you think some good or bad answers would be (make it clear which one you’re going for, haha), and whether you think this is a good question for an interview?

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TBH this feels like a question to weed out people who avoid uncomfortable truths about themselves. I doubt you'd get people saying their positive feedback was inaccurate, and negative feedback is always tough to swallow. Some face it as an opportunity to learn and improve while other people's brains will just defend the ego, either by trivializing or dismissing the feedback.

If the feedback genuinely was inaccurate, you might get a feel for how they resolve disagreements.

But yes, I think you could learn a lot from how someone answers this.

 

Positive feedback being inaccurate is interesting! I hadn't thought about that. I've received some positive feedback that I thought was perhaps unqualified (someone had heard good things and had assumed good of me, without working with me for example), but yeah, I'd be mainly more interested in that negative feedback

 

So I have some thoughts on this I should add to keep the conversation going...

“oh I ignored it” would be the wrong answer imo

In my experiences, this would be a nice answer:

“I was skeptical, but I gave the change they suggested a go, and I was surprised by the positive result. I do that more often now. I’ve had my mind change and saw it was indeed accurate feedback”

Another possible good answer would be:

“It simply wasn’t correct, but I worked to understand why they thought it was the case, and worked on that impression, by doing x y z. Now they have a little more context and the feedback they see is incorrect, and they’re happier with my performance”

I basically don't think there is genuinely incorrect feedback, but maybe wrong impressions.

 

Q: “Can you me about a time you received some feedback you didn’t think was accurate, and what did you do about it?”

A: "Sure. After all, that's why I'm here interviewing with you"

I think it can be a tricky question to ask because everyone has had personality conflicts at work with someone that they don't get along with well. You'll be getting one side of the story of a conflict, so you don't know if the other person was being reasonable or being a total jackhole. Also, the emotions surrounding the conflict might be fresh, resulting in generating a negative experience for the interview.

You are also likely to get a standardized interview question response, like "I took it as a learning experience" or the like.

 

I don't think I've ever received feedback on my personality, more my behaviour, but you raise an interesting point of bias in the examples perhaps given. I'd dig deeper into the 'learning experience' answer though haha

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Sam Jarman 👨🏼‍💻 profile image
Software engineer (iOS/JS/Anything). Likes: blogging, running, improvising, public speaking, positivity, helping newbies and great banter!