We live in a world where it is typically easier to be more negative than positive, medical it is just human nature. Your average employee can probably remember when they have been told-off by their boss but probably can’t remember the last time they were told they had done a great job. Likewise anyone in a management position looking after people will probably admit they do not give enough praise.
But at what point should we listen to or ignore the negativity. Let’s take feedback on a candidate after an interview.
I have experienced a couple of clients where when someone is successful in their application – the candidate was okay, they might have even been good. When they are unsuccessful…..they are the worst candidate ever met, they gave the worst interview ever witnessed, and they clearly are not cut out to work in a given industry sector! Funnily enough, I have been on the receiving end of that feedback when I interviewed for a position as a recruitment consultant…apparently I was completely unsuitable for the industry (after now working for more than a decade in recruitment I think I can say they were wrong).
Feedback at an interview should be balanced, okay maybe a candidate showed poor interview techniques maybe there were gaps in their knowledge, maybe they simply came across as wrong….but as an interviewer you do not need to provide a character assassination.
There was a story recently in the newspapers about two guys from Essex who had to be rescued by life boat crews. They were bored, so with scraps of wood, insulation foam and glue they build a boat for a total cost of £9. They then decided to take it to sea for a fishing trip. They had no life jackets, one couldn’t swim and yes surprise surprise….they had to make an emergency call to be rescued after an oar snapped…albeit they had floated around in this boat for the best part of a weekend and they had caught some fish.
The feedback from the life boat crew was that they were “…stunned by the men’s stupidity…” I have no doubt these two chaps were told they should never go paddling at the seaside unless supervised and under no circumstances should they try something as foolhardy as this ever again. On the flipside the feedback from one of the gentleman concerned was “…next time I’ll get a little engine instead of oars…”
I’ll let you judge whether he is completely bonkers or whether he is simply determined not to give up on his goals. The key message for me though is when you are given negative feedback from an interview try and learn from it, understand what was good and what you can improve on. As an interviewer we have to try and offer both positives and negatives. And if you really have been told you are completely unsuitable, just remember worse things do happen at sea!