Question: Give me an example of harsh feedback you received, how did you react?
Answer: I got called for military service back in Korea when I was living in Seattle.
As a rookie entering the military in a country I didn’t know the culture very well: it was a very tough time. My squad leader came to me and said I was too stubborn/rigid and that I needed to “suck it up” and have a more open mind with the rest of the team.
I couldn’t understand why I was being given this feedback; I worried I was doing everything wrong.
My initial reaction was that I took it a bit personally, but after some reflection, I realized what my squad leader was trying to say. I applied the feedback given by being more flexible and working better with my teammates.
I did not ever receive such feedback again for the duration of my stay in the military.
Competency asserted: Earn Trust
His example from the military showed good maturity in receiving and processing critical/harsh feedback from his teammates and superiors. The candidate admitted to having a poor initial reaction but spent the time to evaluate and process that feedback properly.
He accepted he was making mistakes and needed to improve. He sought out to improve his performance with his superiors and teammates. He did so successfully by never receiving the same complaints throughout his stay in the military.
Rest assured, you don’t need to enrol in the military to ace this question. But I’ve got to say; I was captivated by this candidate’s answer.
It demonstrates that behavioral questions do not have to be technical or work-related. The interviewer is interested in how you welcome and process harsh feedback.