Accessability Links

Don’t shoot the messenger

Posted by
29 Mar 2016

The role of the recruitment consultant is rewarding yet challenging. One very important part of our job is to offer constructive criticism which will help our candidates move forward and address any concerns which may have arisen throughout the interview process. Sometimes it is difficult to take on board criticism even if it is constructive, it can be received as a personal attack and people can feel very defensive or even angry by what is fed back to them. describes constructive criticism as “criticism or advice that is useful and intended to help or improve something, often with an offer of possible solutions.” This blog gives a guide to help people cope better at dealing with criticism so it can have a positive influence going forward:

1. Identify your weaknesses ahead of an interview

Often at interview you will be asked for your key strengths and key weaknesses. While it is easy to think about one or two key points, a good thing to do is to make a list of 10 of your weaknesses, this will give you an idea of where you can improve. Remember that everyone has room for improvement and you should keep on learning regardless of level of experience or qualifications. Being self-aware is vital for the interview success. If you have identified your weakness it is the first step to working on them, being ignorant to your flaws is like knowing you have spilled something on yourself but not removing it.

2. Don’t be defensive

It may be a natural reaction to be defensive or feel angry when someone gives you what was supposed to be helpful feedback take it on board. If you take criticism badly, people will be less likely to tell you the truth, this could affect your relationships going forward or effect your ability to change the one thing that could be stopping you from being successful for your ideal role.

3. Control your emotions

Instead of feeling angry, your natural reaction may be to be upset and you may want to withdraw yourself from the conversation. Don’t take it personal, remember only one person can be successful for the role you are applying or interviewing for so there has to be a reason why they chose the other person over yourself. If you get upset, you will not properly understand the reasons why you were not chosen. 

4. Try to see the bigger picture

It is easier to see the bigger picture if you change your perspective and understand who gave the criticism and in what context. Receiving criticism around ‘team fit’ is a difficult one, try to gather as much information as possible to understand better. It could be as simple as you and the current team have a strong personality so your personalities could clash. This is not a personal attack on you it just means that in this circumstance it won’t work. Understanding why a decision has been made means we can rationalise and also learn from it, ask yourself are you coming across to head strong? Are you displaying unattractive personality traits in interview? If you have then learn from it and tone things down next time. 

Often recruitment consultants are given negative press for giving feedback, remember we are the messengers, we were not in your interview so we cannot comment and are not taking anyone’s side. At the end of the day our job is to assist in the recruitment process and help you to find a new opportunity, we like to consult and help make the process easier for all parties.

We are always striving to deliver a world class service, so please get in touch if you would like any help or if you have some feedback for us. Contact us
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